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Magellan's Expedition Was the First Circumnavigation

by Ayelen Flores Ruiz, age 13

In 1519, Portugal was the first country to circumnavigate the globe. Some parts of the world could, but most were not able to circumnavigate past South America. Some parts of the world had advantages that allowed them to build ships, but other parts of the world were incapable due to the lack of resources. However, there was one person who eventually was able to circumnavigate, Ferdinand Magellan.

Becoming the first to circumnavigate the globe was not something on China’s list. Although the country was powerful and had the resources, they were more focused on protecting their people. The Barbarian invasion threat made China create better protection on its northern boundaries. Improving their protection meant rebuilding and extending the Great Wall. China’s multistoried ships were large, compared to Western ships. What stopped its people from being the first to circumnavigate the globe was the anti-marine policy that was made in the 1500s, making it a crime to build a ship with two masts or bigger, and if disobeyed would lead to death. China created this policy so none of its people could be in danger.

Apart from China, Arab Muslims wanted to be the first to circumnavigate but they faced challenges. Individual Muslims navigated the Indian Ocean for centuries which helped them master the shifting direction of the moon. Navigating the Indian Ocean made them discover that another sea, south of Africa, was linked to the Indian Ocean. The Arabian Peninsula could not produce wood, resin, iron, and textiles which were the essentials to building a ship. Not having these products gave them the defeat they did not want. Arab Muslims, not having the supplies needed, gave Spaniards an advantage. [Read More]

The Asiatic Lion Is One of Earth’s Rarest Big Cat Species

by Mahalia Pearson, age 13

When people envision lions, they typically think they are from Africa, but lions can be found in different geographical areas around the world such as India, one example being the Asiatic lion. The Asiatic lion is one of the rarest types of cat species. Not only is it called an Asiatic lion, but it is also referred to as the Persian lion.

The coat of this carnivore consists of many colors such as black, dark brown, sandy, and gray. The Asiatic lion is smaller than the well-known African lion and has a short, sparse, and dark mane that makes its ears more visible compared to the African lion. Another distinction is that the Asiatic lion has a longitudinal fold of skin that goes along its belly.

The Asiatic lion lived in habitats ranging from Turkey and across Asia to Eastern India. Unfortunately, this creature has been hunted down to the point of near extinction. Currently, these lions are prone to diseases, disaster, and potential poaching. They also have to deal with the consequences of a growing population of humans and cattle. With larger human populations that demand more land for agriculture and settlement, the habitats of these lions are slowly disappearing. [Read More]

Arizona’s Beautiful and Mysterious Apache Trail

by Mahalia Pearson, age 12

The Apache Trail was completed through the Superstition Mountains in 1911, but construction began in 1904. These two landmarks are located in Arizona. The roughly 40-mile trail was used for stagecoaches by the Mexican, Spanish, and American settlers. The settlers learned the trail from the Native Americans who resided in the area. The trail was named after the Apache Native Americans and other Native American tribes.

The Apache Trail, also known as Route 88, is hard to drive on due to the poor conditions of the road. While driving on the road, people experience deserts, sharp turns, and steep hills. Visitors should be cautious of possible landslides or cliffs that may make it easy for one to fall off.

The trail is currently closed and has been closed for three years due to fires, floods, and landslides. The Woodbury fire burned down 120,000 acres of land and left a burn scar. That part of the trail has been closed because of the risk of having another landslide. Since the trail is closed, drivers must take another route that takes two times longer to reach their destination. [Read More]

Rare Black Leopard Discovered in East Africa

by Allison Torres, age 14

Leopards are one of the most fascinating big cats from Africa. They are one of the strongest climbers and can kill prey even larger than themselves. It is very rare to see black leopards in desert areas of Africa. Scientists say only about 11% of leopards around the world are black. All leopards have spots, no matter what color they are. But, that is what makes black leopards special: their spots are hard to see.

It is more common to see black leopards in tropical areas of Asia and Africa, where several sightings have been reported. Recently, conservationists from the Institute for Conservation Research and specialists from the Loisaba Conservancy have confirmed the existence of black panthers (also known as black leopards) in East Africa. These animals were recently spotted due to a study in Laikipia County in Kenya. The scientific team used remote cameras to observe them. Africa has a few reported observations of these species. What makes this more interesting and highlights the uniqueness of the black panther, is that there has only been one confirmed sighting in over 100 years. [Read More]

Who Created These Mysterious Pillars in Ireland?

by Jonah Smith, age 14

Strange pillars reside in County Antrim, Ireland. They have an unusual shape that appears to be man made. These tightly wedged pillars descend in tiers, in a staircase all the way down to the sea. These columns are mostly hexagonal, though the number of sides these structures have may vary. Although their shape implies that they are manufactured, the complete opposite is true.

There are similar structures such as the Giant’s Causeway in Scotland or Devil’s Tower in Wyoming. With having so many of these unexplained structures around the world, myths for how they were made arose. For the Giant’s Causeway, it is said [locally] that the Irish giant, Finn Mac Cool, drove the columns into the sea one by one so that he could walk to Scotland to fight his rival. These exciting stories theorizing their construction adds new life and attractiveness to these beautiful structures.

The creation of these abnormalities is way more complex than it might seem. During the period where North America and Europe recently split up, the new North Atlantic Ocean in between the two was still a developing feature. The northern area of both Europe and North America was in place, but the body of water still had to form the edges of these continents. The western coast of Greenland separated from Canada around 80 million years ago, but the southwestern coast was still firmly attached to the opposing northwestern coast of the British Isles. 20 million years later, these coasts began to separate and there were major volcanoes in place of a few Scottish islands. [Read More]

Low Mississippi Water Levels Expose Artifacts and History

by Owen Ayite-Atayi, age 15

The Mississippi River is the second longest river in the United States and is 2,340 miles long. Although the Mississippi River is a majestic river, there are still many mysteries in this river, especially regarding its artifacts.

The Mississippi River was discovered by an explorer named Hernando De Soto. He was the first ever Spanish conquistador to see this river. Currently, the Mississippi River is suffering from low water levels that impact drinking water. This has created terrible situations for farmers throughout the basin, causing the river to become exposed to its sunken past.

Relic hunters are people who hunt for artifacts and memorabilia from decades and even centuries ago. Most relic hunters use metal detectors to spot these artifacts. Riley Bryant is a full-time relic hunter. Bryant also works for History Seekers and the American Digger Magazine. He is also known as “Relic Riley” because of his amazing relic hunting skills. He started relic hunting at around the age of eleven, when he got his first metal detector. Now, at the age of twenty-one, Bryant started his own TikTok account, posting mainly about finding artifacts around the Mississippi River. Around 397.5 thousand people on this platform followed the many discoveries Bryant made in 2022. One artifact in particular, a Civil War-era cartridge box plate that carried ammunition, was a highlight of his relic hunting. He posted his discovery on TikTok and his video reached more than four million people. [Read More]

Exploring the Largest Lake in Africa: Lake Victoria

by Juan Esteban Palma Zuluaga, age 10

Africa is known for its many beautiful landscapes, animals, and lakes, one being Lake Victoria. Lake Victoria is known to be the biggest tropical lake on Earth, and is the second largest freshwater lake on Earth by land area, following only Lake Superior.

Lake Victoria is about 255 miles long and 155 miles wide. It is only 276 feet deep. Being in the East of Africa close to the equator and between the countries of Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania, Lake Victoria is one of the most well-known water sources for the Nile River. Other smaller rivers and streams, like the Kagera River, flow into this lake.

Lake Victoria provides help to millions of people that live close by. Its water helps with farming and growing a habitat for the animals. Fishing is also a great source of livelihood, because it keeps over three million people working as fishermen. However, this is becoming a problem, because too many fish are being killed – around 750,000 metric tons per year. The people overfish different species, including catfish, marbled lungfish, and elephant fish, which is causing them to disappear from the lake. Aside from overfishing, climate change and drought also affect the fish population. [Read More]

Explore the Mighty Congo River in the Heart of Africa

by Sol-Saray, age 10

Africa is home to many great rivers. One of them is known as the Congo. In Africa, the Congo is only slightly shorter than the Nile in length, and is just as important to the people who live along the river.

The Congo has been very efficient for the people of Africa when it comes to transporting goods like food, medicine, clothes, and other items to people living along the river. It is also used for fishing and irrigating crops like peanuts, cotton, and sugarcane.

In the river, there are over 30 waterfalls and many other islands. It is near the equator, meaning it can get very hot and wet. The river receives around 90 inches of rain annually. There are 200 species of fish that live on the river. Many animals eat the tall grass that grows along the river, including buffalo, antelopes, zebras, gazelles, and giraffes. [read more]

Rare Zebra Species Struggles to Survive Drought in East Africa

by Allison Torres, age 14

In September 2022, Kenya experienced one of its worst droughts in the last four decades. This was a direct result of climate change.

The drought has especially impacted the East African country’s wildlife, affecting even the most drought-resistant animals, such as the camel, which is known to survive relatively long periods of time without water. Suze van Meegen, an emergency response manager for the Norwegian refugee council in East Africa told CNN, “Camels are a valuable resource for many people in this region.” [Read More]

Cruise Ship in Alaska Collides with Iceberg

by Aissata Bah, age 13

Who would've thought history would repeat itself! Similar to the crash that sank the Titanic, an accident occurred in Alaska.

On June 25, 2022, an iceberg close to the Hubbard Glacier collided with a ship named Norwegian Sun in Alaska. Fortunately, all the passengers on the cruise ship survived.

Hubbard Glacier is a very popular attraction because of the icebergs it naturally produces, especially during the summer. Icebergs that fall off the Hubbard Glacier can be the size of 10-story buildings and make cracking noises when breaking off. It can take up to 400 years for an iceberg to crack off. The iceberg which was hit by the Norwegian Sun was a growler: a small piece of ice that is less than three feet above the water. Under the water, these seemingly small icebergs can be as large as an elephant. Growlers break off other icebergs and glaciers, often due to climate change. [Read More]

Navigating the Dangers of the Sea

by Daileni Torres-Cruz, age 10

Being at sea can be a wonderful experience, however, it can also take an unexpected turn for the worse. There are many dangerous occurrences in the sea. High winds during storms or volcanoes make big waves in the middle of the ocean that can cause ships to swerve off their courses. Ships may also collide with large icebergs, similar to what occurred on the Titanic in 1912. The Titanic was the newest and most luxurious boat at the time. The iceberg ripped a hole in its exterior, which caused it to sink to the bottom of the ocean. It was known as one of the worst accidents at sea.

Waterspouts are formed when tornadoes land in the sea. They suck up a lot of seawater into a big dark cloud. Boats floating on the sea can be sucked into waterspouts. [Read More]

Chichen Itza Blends Maya and Toltec Civilization

by Kimberly Rodriguez, age 11

In the tenth century AD, the Maya civilization lived in Chichen Itza. Located in Mexico, it was an important site to the Mayans and later to the Toltec warriors.

The Toltec warriors took over Chichen Itza from the Mayan people and made it a better version of their capital, Tula. The temple of the warriors contained countless carved objects like pieces of art, including jaguar and eagle motifs to represent the Toltec warriors. The Toltec warriors were a very strong civilization that conquered Teotihuacan. They ruled over Mexico from the mid-10th to mid-12th century AD

El Castillo is known as a pyramid temple dedicated to the ruler god Kukulcan. It is depicted as a feathered serpent deity and is carved along the staircase of the temple. Due to its detailed architecture, shadows of the staircase outline the serpent descending from the temple. The Mayans ' years cycle was also a very important part of their culture and they included it in the temple as well. [Read More]

Oceania, A Diverse Region of Islands and Cultures

by Santiago Rosero, age 13

There is a region in the Pacific Ocean that is full of islands named Oceania. This area is located between Asia and America, and its definition can vary. Some islands are excluded, such as the Ryukyu, Kuril, and Aleutian islands, as well as the Japan archipelago. Some countries like Indonesia, Taiwan, and the Philippines, were also eliminated because their cultures are more related to those on the Asian continent. Oceania has more than 10,000 islands, including Papua New Guinea and New Zealand – Australia is not one of them.

The size of Oceania is approximately 317,700 square miles. Oceania was divided into four parts: Australasia (Australia and New Zealand), Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia. Around 33,000 years ago, humans did not live in the region, except on the Australian continent. Scientists theorize that many people in this region originate from Southeast Asia. At the beginning of the 21st century, there were already more than 12 million people in all of Oceania, not counting Australia.

It is surprising how a continent can be made up of only islands. There is still much left to discover about this region called Oceania. [Read More]

Exploring New Zealand's Southern Alps and Glaciers

by Edwin Torres, age 12

The Southern Alps is a mountain range located on the South Island of New Zealand. The western area of this island is known for its famous glaciers. The highest point is on Mount Cook, which reaches altitudes of about 12,349 feet. It is only 20 miles from the summit westward across the coastal strip to the Pacific Ocean. Toward the east side of where the glacier is located, the land descends about 80 miles across the Canterbury Plains. The winds that blow from the Tasman Sea are loaded with moisture, and when the damp air rises against the mountains, it drops big snowballs. The three most known glaciers are the Fox, Frans Josef, and Tasman. However, they are facing threats of melting due to climate change.

The glaciers on the west side of the mountains are steep and short. On the eastern side, the glaciers are different. The higher parts are rugged and steep. The Franz Josef and Fox glaciers flow on the western side. Both are by the Westland National Park, an area containing glaciers, rivers, lakes, alpine peaks, and snow fields. Lake Matheson shows a famous view of three of its major peaks which are Tasman, La Perouse, and Cook.

The Tasman Glacier flows down Mount Cook; it is also the largest in New Zealand. The glacier creates a narrow part of ice 17 miles long that widens in places as much as two miles, moving about 20 to 25 inches per day. Although its fast speed is incredible, the glacier is starting to retreat; its lowest end is at 2,500 feet above sea level. [Read More]

Rare Black Bears from Mexico Move into South Texas

by, Aria McClinton age, 13

Scientists have found that East Mexican black bears are moving from Mexico to southern Texas. Although these creatures are at risk of extinction, there is hope because their numbers are increasing, leading to bears spreading into Texas.

The numbers of bears moving to southern Texas are unknown, but they are often found in forests around Texas and moving along the Rio Grande in Mexico. Black bears in Texas are on the endangered species list; in Mexico, they are listed as ‘in danger of extinction’. Fortunately, Mexican black bears can adapt to live in many different environments like forests or mountains.

These bears like to scavenge for their food and their behavior is driven by their excellent sense of smell. That's also why they prefer to live near humans as it’s easy to access garbage, pet food, and fruit in the wild black bears like to hunt. They often have a wide diet of pine nuts, acorns, insects, and small mammals. [Read More]

The Destructive Nature and Ecological Benefits of Wildfires

by Aubrey Bevenue, age 12

Wildfires have very destructive powers. Powerlines, campfires, lightning strikes, and other sources can start wildfires. Grasslands and forests are the main areas where fires can occur.

When fires reach homes, they put lives and houses in danger. For example, in 2022, wildfires in the U.S. swept through 7.5 million acres of land and burned down 1,200 homes.

Fires can kill pests. In homes and other places, some pests or animals know how to take cover from a wildfire, however, pests who are not native to the area tend to get killed when wildfires occur as they don’t know where to go or how to escape. [Read More]

Kilimanjaro Is Africa’s Tallest Mountain

by Mahalia Pearson, age 13

Mount Kilimanjaro is found in Tanzania, Africa. Kilimajaro is 19,340 feet tall and is one of the tallest mountains in the world. The first known people to climb the mountain were Hans Meyer, a German geologist, Australian climber Ludwig Purtscheller, and Yohani Kinyala Lauwo, a local tour guide in 1889.

One might think that the mountain does not have snow on the top because it is so close to the equator, only 205 miles away; however, believe it or not, it has snow because it is so tall.

The source of Mount Kilimanjaro's name is not known to this day. Some people have theories that in 1860, Europeans undertook the name but it was also reported that it was the Kiswahili name. [Read More]

Teotihuacán, Mesoamerica’s City of Gods and Pyramids

by Edwin Torres, age 12

Teotihuacán was an ancient city in Modern-Day Mexico that was once known as Mesoamerica’s biggest city; the city was even bigger than Rome. Teotihuacán is an Aztec name meaning “place of the gods.” The population was around 50,000-100,000 people and the city covered an area over eight square miles. It was a sophisticated city, with religious buildings, wide streets, and private houses. According to local legend, it has been said that the sun and the moon were born in Teotihuacán. Not a lot is known about the daily life and customs of its people. However, we do know that the people of Teotihuacán praised certain gods. The rain god and the jaguar were two important figures for them. That was discovered by studying the engravings on religious temples. This civilization was advanced because of how carefully the city was built. They had a grid system that controlled the access to water.

Teotihuacán is dominated by two main pyramids: the Pyramid of the Moon and the Pyramid of the Sun. There are also two monumental public places at the heart of the city: the Citadel and the Great Compound. The Great Compound has two big platforms on several building stands. The Citadel played a religious role, approached by a stairway. The platform supported another pyramid, the Temple of Quetzalcoatl, which rose to about seventy feet in the tiers made of richly carved sculptures. The stone serpent heads coming from the tiers appear alarming to this day.

Local supplies such as obsidian were important for trading in a chiefly agricultural economy. The high-quality murals suggest that the people from Teotihuacán were good at art, but evidence of human sacrifice during the years of decline points to a more barbaric side of their culture. Nobody knows how Teotihuacán came to an end, but somewhere around the eighth century, the city had been burned and sacked. [Read More]

Volcanic Eruptions Cause Birth of a New Island in the Pacific Ocean

by Kaleab Afeworki, age 11

The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano had one of the most powerful underwater explosions and still holds unbreakable records. This volcano has erupted several times in the last decade and scientists continue to study its activity.

It erupted in 2014 near the South Pacific Island Kingdom of Tonga. The cause of the eruption was due to a submarine volcano, an underwater vent where magma erupts and explodes. It left vast amounts of ash, rock, and mist in the air, settling into a tiny island with a 400-foot summit.

The volcano remained active until its recent eruption in 2022, which produced a tsunami so great that it touched the coasts of Japan and South America. This eruption was so intense that it injected water vapor that managed to touch space – a feat that has never been observed with any other volcanoes on Earth. Additionally, the event created the greatest concentration of lightning and energy strong enough to damage undersea fiber optic communication cables. [Read More]

The Grand Canyon's Last Mule Mail Route

by Dulce Vazquez, age 15

A few people living in the Grand Canyon still receive mail through mules. This is most likely one of the last official mail through mule routes in the world, according to Daniel Piazza, the patron curator of philately at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum.

Mail has been delivered by mule since 1930. Mules still carry mail to people who live in Supai, located in the Grand Canyon, outside of National Park Service jurisdiction. Supai is only accessible by hiking, taking a helicopter, rafting down the Colorado River, or by riding a mule: Mule trips take three to five hours down and back up.

Mules carry a limit of 200 pounds at a time while delivering items. This is why only one or two mules are on route every day. Mail is not the only thing being delivered by mule: food is also delivered. The majority of deliveries by mule is food, according to Piazza as a lot of people live approximately 45 minutes away from the nearest town. The U.S. Postal Service has a lot of dedication to their deliveries. [Read More]

Wolf Pack Dynamics: Leaders, Territories, and Survival

by Marco Gonzales, age 9

A male and a female alpha are the head of a wolf pack. They decide what to do for their packs’ survival. A pack is a group of wolves with six to 15 members who vary in age. The pack is blood related and they have offspring.

Wolves do not fight within their pack but they are very territorial. They mark their territory and if a member from another pack trespasses into their area, they will attack and kill them.

Alphas have a dominant and forceful personality. Other wolves in the pack are more submissive. Once the pack's leader is old, young adult wolves will move up the ranks and replace previous positions in the pack. [Read More]

Mysterious Golden Orb Found on Alaska Seafloor

by Dayanara Flores Gonzalez, age 16

A mysterious golden orb was recently discovered on the Alaska seafloor. Marine scientists have no idea what this orb might be, but scientists believe it might be an egg casing of a creature nobody has seen before.

This orb was discovered in August by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration. It was discovered on the ocean floor off the Pacific Coast of Alaska at about a depth of two miles by a remote-controlled submarine explorer. It has a skin-like texture.

The Seascape Alaska 5 expedition took place in August and September 2023. The Gulf of Alaska is four miles deep and contains sea fish, coral, sponge habitats, and geological features such as mud volcanoes. [Read More]

Enormous Dinosaur Footprints Discovered in Texas Riverbed

by Dakota Wilson, age 12

In Texas, recent droughts have exposed dinosaur footprints, each measuring several human hand lengths. These prints were uncovered in the Paluxy River, located within Dinosaur Valley State Park.

If you're seeking an enjoyable place to visit, Dinosaur Valley State Park is the perfect destination. Thanks to the low river levels caused by droughts, the tracks have become visible to visitors in a way never seen before. The Paluxy River and the drought conditions have provided a unique opportunity to observe dinosaur prints.

These dinosaur prints were created by two distinct types of dinosaurs: sauropods and theropods. Sauropods, such as Diplodocus and Brontosaurus, were herbivores, while theropods, like Tyrannosaurus and Velociraptor, were known for their three-clawed feet. Both sauropods and theropods perished at the end of the Cretaceous period, likely due to an asteroid impact. These groups left their mark in Dinosaur Valley State Park. [Read More]

Thorny Devils, Masters of Camouflage

by Ian Kosharek, age 11

Thorny devils are spiny, fierce-looking creatures native to the Australian desert, particularly favoring dry and hot climates in coastal areas of Australia. These creatures weigh up to three ounces and are approximately two centimeters in size, roughly the size of a hand. When they hatch, both male and female thorny devils are similar, but after a year, females become visibly longer, sometimes reaching twice the size of the largest males. Their lifespan ranges from 10 to 20 years.

When the thorny devil walks, its tail doesn't touch the ground. They possess distinctive horn-like features, giving rise to their name, "thorny devil." They also have a false head used to deceive potential predators. When threatened, the thorny devil tucks its head, and this fake head often confuses predators because they can't eat the sharp and fragile spikes. As for their diet, thorny devils primarily feed on tiny insects, with a preference for ants. In terms of reproduction, females dig 10-inch tunnels to lay their eggs.

Their distinctive appearance and behavior make them stand out in the animal kingdom. Thorny devils have specialized coloration that helps them camouflage with their surroundings. Depending on factors like temperature and mood, they can change their color to some extent, which assists in temperature regulation. [Read More]

Lake Chad: A Vital Ecosystem and Historic Hub of Civilization

by Dayanis Torres-Cruz, age 13

Lake Chad is made up of 17,000 square kilometers of fresh water located at the midpoint of dunes that stretch across Nigeria, Niger, Chad, and Cameroon. Lake Chad has a rich history, but scientists say that the lake's water level changes based on rain and dry seasons, and its habitat surroundings are changing.

The ecosystem in Lake Chad has a variety of open waters, some permanent and others temporary. These bodies of water contain helpful nutrients that sustain the biodiversity in the lake. Many animals, such as hippopotamuses, Nile crocodiles, tortoises, sea turtles, otters, a few native birds, migratory birds, and about 120 types of fish all call Lake Chad home.

Historically, Lake Chad was settled around 500 BC at the earliest. The ancient Sao civilization had a deep history and connection to Lake Chad. Their history traces back to the Paleolithic age and it is believed that the Sao civilization came to Lake Chad from the Nile valley around the fifth century. The Sao civilization, one of the oldest known, left remains of architecture, showing that they lived by fishing and farming, and were very creative people. [Read More]

The Wrath of Mediterranean Volcanoes - From Vesuvius to Etna

by Emily Rodriguez, age 14

In the Mediterranean Sea, there are many destructive volcanoes. Two of the most well-known are Mt. Vesuvius and Mt. Etna.

Mt. Vesuvius is known for its eruptions located in the Bay of Naples, Italy. This volcano destroyed a whole town, burying it in ashes. It has erupted numerous times. In 1944, during World War II, a volcanic eruption damaged the aircraft engines due to volcanic ash and rock fragments left in the air. The first recording of Mt. Vesuvius’ eruption was by Pliny the Younger in AD 79. This eruption destroyed the town of Pompeii. Many people fled for safety, some ran towards the sea for their boats. Many people perished in the disaster of the eruption.

Mt. Etna, Europe’s current largest active volcano, is located in eastern Sicily. It has periodically erupted for the past three thousand years. The last major eruption was in 1992. It produced a column of ash, lava, and gas causing a lot of destructive damage to nature and pollution to the air. Even though this volcano has caused immense damage in the past, people continue to settle nearby for its fertile soil, and because the volcano is dormant. Similar to Mt. Vesuvius, it is a very destructive volcano. [Read More]

Muons Reveal Hidden Void in Egypt's Great Pyramid

by Alejandro Berrueta, age 11

A nebulous void has been discovered in Egypt's Great Pyramid of Giza with the help of muons. This void was first discovered in 2016 by scientists on the pyramid’s north face. The muons’ measurement helped identify the size and shape of this void.

Muons are subatomic particles created by high-energy particles from space. These particles are also known as cosmic rays; they fall into Earth's atmosphere and create high-energy muons. Some are absorbed when they fall onto structures.

Scientists from the ScanPyramids team reported to Nature Communications that the void was nine meters long, two meters wide, and two meters tall. In addition to ultrasonic testing and ground penetrating radar, the scientists were able to get detailed pictures regarding the void. They discovered a vaulted ceiling that had not been seen in over 4,500 years. [Read More]

The Silk Road Paved the Way for Cultural Exchange and Prosperity

by Daileni Cruz, age 10

The Silk Road was an ancient trade route connecting the two great civilizations of Rome and China. They would trade wool, gold, silver, and silk along this road.

In 138 BC, Zhang Qian journeyed from China to Central Asia. He is known as “The Father of the Silk Road.” His sea voyages exposed the Chinese to Greek culture. New breeds of horses, grapes, and alfalfa were brought to China because of his journeys. The trade route that people mainly used followed the Great Wall of China to the northwest and climbed the Pamir Mountains in Tajikistan, and went through Afghanistan before finishing in Rome.

Asia began to lose its Roman territory as Arabian power began to increase in the Mediterranean area. Due to their differences, the Silk Road became unsafe. The Silk Road slowly disappeared as people stopped using it for trade. Sea routes were then discovered as a safe and faster means of trade. [Read More]

Himalayan Glaciers Face up to 80% Ice Loss by 2100 Amid Rising Temperatures

By Valeria Moreno Lopez, age 16

Scientists believe that nearly a quarter of the world's population could face severe natural disasters by 2100 due to the alarming rate at which the Himalayan glaciers are melting. The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), based in Nepal, has warned that the glaciers could lose up to 80% of their volume if worldwide temperatures increase by 3 degrees Celsius or more.

ICIMOD, which aims to preserve life and biodiversity in mountain and downstream populations, has reported that one-third of the glaciers from Afghanistan to Myanmar could disappear even in the best-case scenario. However, over the years, the calculations have changed. If worldwide temperatures rise between 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius, less than half of the volume will be lost by 2100. Moreover, these temperatures could also exacerbate global droughts, wildfires, extreme floods, and food shortages. Professor Saleemul Huq, director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development, has stated, "In all three pillars of climate action - mitigation, adaptation, and loss and damage - we are at a standstill or going the wrong way, while the consequences of inaction are accelerating by the day."

Further research suggests that nearly 2 million square miles surrounding the highest mountain chain already show dramatic impacts. Due to the isolated location of Himalayan communities, immediate disaster response is challenging. Glacial water benefits crops and medicinal plants in nearby farmlands, but rapid melting will overwhelm them. The risk of constant floods, landslides, and avalanches soars, followed by a series of drought phases as the water dries up. Stretching from tropical rainforests to cold deserts in Asia, numerous rare species are in danger due to the region's shifting conditions. In particular, about 14 butterfly species are extinct in the Murree Hills of Pakistan, and other animals face breeding and developmental issues. [Read More]

Canada's Vast & Mysterious Isle

by Aissata Bah, age 13

Between Greenland and Canada lies Baffin Island. It is a territory of Nunavut, in northern Canada. It’s 195,928 square miles, making it the largest island in Canada and the fifth largest island in the world.

The island is named after the British explorer, William Baffin. However, it has been said that Martin Frobisher had “discovered” the island while searching for the Northwest Passage in 1576.

Most scientists agree that this island could be “Helluland '' an island many Vikings visited around 1100 CE. In fact, there are theories that the Vikings were actually the first to "find" North America. Around 1500 B.C.E, the people of Dorset culture were living on the island. Archeologists found proof of this after excavations. [Read More]

The Dead Sea's Lifelessness, Ancient Wealth, and Healing Wonders

by Kevin Chen, age 15

Though the Dead Sea sounds like a scary place, the same reasons this body of water can not support plant or animal life made it a valuable resource in the ancient world. Back in the Roman era (476 C.E.), salt was considered highly valuable, so much so that Roman soldiers would be paid in salt, instead of money. The Latin word “salary” came from the word “salt”.

The Dead Sea, actually a lake, has had different names throughout history such as the Salt Sea and the Sea of the Plain. It is one of the four saltiest bodies of water in the whole world, containing up to 10 times as many minerals and salts as most oceans. Due to its high salinity, there are not any plants or animals that inhabit the Dead Sea. This excessive amount of salt and mineral concentration is because of the warm climate which causes water to evaporate. This drastically reduces the water-to-salt ratio in the lake. The lake is so salty that people can float on it.

The Dead Sea has also been known to have healing powers. The salt and minerals in the lake can be beneficial for skin diseases. The oxygen rate is 5% higher than most places on Earth, which can also help those with asthma and arthritis. The black mud found around the Dead Sea was once used as soap in ancient Greece because it could penetrate pores and nourish the skin. Now, multiple hotels around the Dead Sea provide an opportunity to try the benefits of the world’s first health resort. [Read More]

Understanding the Health Impacts and Controversies Surrounding Daylight Saving Time

by Ayelen Flores Ruiz, age 13

Although daylight saving time is very popular with many people, it may have negative health effects for humans, according to some scientists.

Daylight saving time is when clocks move an hour forward in the spring and return to standard time in the fall. This makes people lose an hour of sleep, causing scientists to question if this is healthy. Kenneth Wright, an expert on sleep and body clocks, says that daylight saving time is the wrong name for this procedure. He says that humans are only changing the way they live concerning the sun, making their bodies out of sync. The action of changing the clocks creates a problem with the human body’s circadian rhythm as it resets.

Wright and other scientists advocate for permanent standard time instead of switching twice a year. The U.S. Senate voted for daylight saving to become permanent in March 2022, but without a vote from the House, it has not become law. Something similar happened in Congress in the 1970s, however, it was not passed as people feared the shift could cause fear or depression among adolescents and others. [Read More]

The Unique History of Lake Ivanhoe, Wisconsin

by Josepha Da Costa, age 18

This past summer, Lake Ivanhoe was one of 40 new historical markers to be designated in Wisconsin. It became only the 8th marker, out of 600, in the state to feature Black History. Peter Baker, a current resident who grew up in Lake Ivanhoe, “the safest place and the coolest place” he’d ever been in his life, played an important part in the process of celebrating this history. His tireless efforts for over 20 years finally made this commemoration possible.

Lake Ivanhoe was founded in 1926, in the town of Bloomfield, by three Black men from Chicago: politician Bradford Watson, business executive Frank Anglin, and attorney Jeremiah Brumfield. These men were looking for a summer vacation place to visit with their families to get away from the racial unrest in Chicago at the time, which was a result of the Great Migration. As Black people started frequently moving to the northern cities, specifically Chicago, segregation became increasingly prominent. Since Black people were not welcome in predominantly white resorts in neighboring places like Lake Geneva, they decided to create their own. This was where the first entirely Black owned community in Wisconsin was born.

The town’s streets were named after famous historical people like Crispus Attucks and Phyllis Wheatley. A large gazebo was built in the middle of town where the neighborhood families were able to hold cookouts, gatherings and concerts. For most of the 1920s, Lake Ivanhoe was a safe haven for Black families to reside and enjoy. However, after the stock market crash in the 1930s, the once lively resort quickly became abandoned. [Read More]

Scientists Find T-Rex Ancestor in Montana

by Mariama Bah, age 16

Archaeologists in northeast Montana have uncovered fossils that may link to ancestors of the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex (T. rex).

Fossils of Daspletosaurus wilsoni, the speculated ancestor of the T. rex, were found in Valley County, Montana. In 2017. Jack Wilson, a crew member at the Badlands Dinosaur Museum, noticed a small bone protruding from a cliff in the Judith River Formation. Between then and 2021, multiple fossils were found.

Torosus, the first species of the Daspletosaurus genus was uncovered by Charles M. Sternberg, a Canadian paleontologist, in 1921. Sternberg originally classified the fossils as a species of Gorgosaurus, a smaller tyrannosaurid dinosaur whose fossils were also found in Alberta, Canada. But it wasn’t until 1970 when fellow Canadian paleontologist, Dale Russell, classified the fossils under Daspletosaurus, which had a heavier build and larger body. [Read More]

Monaco: The Enchanting Playground of Wealth and Luxury

by Anissa Attidekou, age 13

Monaco is a small independent country located on the French Riviera in Europe. It is renowned for its ability to provide a luxurious lifestyle, stunning scenery, and status as a tax haven. Monaco has a long and storied history, and it is one of the most talked-about countries in the world.

Although Monaco is close to the French, the country has its own currency and government. The principality has been a powerful and wealthy nation since the 13th century. It’s been ruled by the Grimaldi family for 700 years.

Monaco has a population of about 38,400 people. The reason Monaco has such a small population is because getting citizenship there would take about 10 years if you are lucky enough to have it approved. Thanks to its small size, Monaco doesn’t have a capital either, making the country even more exciting to learn about. [Read More]

Volcano Explosion Shoots Water into Space

by Theodore Morrison, age 15

A volcanic eruption that occurred in the Pacific Ocean on January 12, 2022 reserved itself a spot in history when it ejected its water vapor into space for the first time in recorded history.

This water vapor, erupting from the volcano Hunga Tonga, which awoke in December of 2021, disrupted the ionosphere, a layer of our planet's atmosphere, at levels emulating a solar geomagnetic storm. The water vapor, in addition to simply reaching space in an historic event, momentarily absorbed light particles. Additionally, the eruption generated unprecedented levels of lightning, generating a minimum of 400,000 lightning strikes during the event.

These findings, observed from NASA’s Global Ultraviolet Imager, were presented in a couple of scientific conferences, including some during a particular meeting in Chicago. The data shows that the eruption overpowered a geomagnetic storm in terms of effects. [Read More]

CN Tower in Toronto Is “Canada’s World Wonder”

by Jonah Smith, age 13

One of the world's tallest freestanding towers can be found in the city of Toronto, Canada. This large tower was made in collaboration with the Canadian National Railway and the Canadian Broadcasting Company in the 1970s. The people of Canada treasure this tower and fondly call it “Canada’s World Wonder.”

The base of the tower underwent construction on February 6, 1973. 62,000 tons of earth and rock were dug up in order to pour 57,000 tons of concrete. This concrete was used to support the 130,000 ton weight of the building. The base is 20 feet thick and 230 feet in diameter. This base was built in a hexagonal shape unlike normal circular towers. Using a concrete mold and a hydraulic jack, construction workers poured concrete into the mold, let it set, then used the hydraulic jack to lift the mold up approximately 20 feet each day. Because of this peculiar method of construction, the workers had to check everyday if the shaft of the tower was off its vertical center, using a 220 lb cylinder tied to a rope, to act as a plumb bob (a vertical indicator).

In 1976, once construction was completely finished, the CN Tower officially opened. Inside of this tower, there are two observation decks, a restaurant, and a nightclub. Glass elevators run up and down the side of the tower to take visitors from the ground floor to the top. On the lower level, there is an observation deck. This deck is made out of 2.5-inch thermal reinforced glass strong enough to withstand 38 tons. Looking down through this glass floor, there is a breathtaking view underneath it. Regardless of the reinforced glass, many were afraid of the glass breaking. Due to people’s fear, a carpet was laid on top of the glass. [Read More]

Fun Facts About The Great Sahara Desert

by Amare Smith, age 19

Stretching across a wide range of North Africa with large dunes lies the world’s largest desert: the Sahara Desert. Temperatures in this region can rise to 131 degrees Fahrenheit.

The desert is very humid, it usually has clear skies and hot winds. Due to extremely high temperatures and infertile land, the Sahara is not an ideal location for gardening. Nomads wander around the desert until they reach an oasis where it is possible to farm and cultivate crops in these areas. While some regions are fertile, these lands often become very dry over time. This eventually leads to malnutrition in animals, damaged grasslands, and ineffective pesticides.

There are also problems with fertilization and plowing in the Sahara. Native plants typically have to be removed for farming and there is only a limited water supply for areas of land. To add on, windstorms often rip up plants from the ground. Furthermore, humans have contributed to land infertility with improper farming techniques, leading to more losses in native plants and the expansion of the barren desert. This process is called “desertification.” [Read More]

The Amazon’s Most Famous Species

by Aarosh Subedi, age 12

The Amazon River is a place full of famous animals, including the black caiman, the Amazon River dolphin, the giant otter, and the green anaconda.

The Black Caiman is a semi-aquatic reptile that looks like a large crocodile. Its length can reach up to eight feet. Black caimans almost went extinct due to poachers hunting for their rough skin.

The Amazon River Dolphin is an aquatic species that lives in the river basins. This dolphin weighs up to 400 pounds and measures around eight feet long, making it the biggest river dolphin. They hunt in big groups for fish. [Read More]

Amateur Fossil Hunter Finds “Underwater T-Rex” — By Iliyan Hoskins, age 11

150 million years ago, an ancient apex predator roamed the ocean. The species was called a Pliosaur, and it possessed jaws more than twice as powerful as those of today’s saltwater crocodiles. It killed its prey with just one bite from its 130 long, razor-sharp teeth, earning it the nickname "underwater T-Rex." The underwater T-Rex existed 150 million years ago, spanning the early Jurassic to the Cretaceous periods. An adult Pliosaur was a 30-foot-long sea creature capable of traversing the ocean at high speeds. That’s why scientists bestowed upon it the name underwater T-Rex. [Read More]

Canada’s Great Northern Lake — by Ruben Becerril Gonzalez, age 10

Did you know that the Great Bear Lake is one of the coldest lakes on the planet? Also known as Sahtu, this lake was named by native people living in the area. [Read More]

The Ancient Library of Pergamum — by Hiba Al-Quraishi, age 14

The ancient library of Pergamum, located in what is now Turkey, was built in the third century B.C. by members of the Attalid dynasty. The library, constructed by a small kingdom that lasted only 150 years, is now one of the most famous libraries in antiquity. [Read More]

The Life of a Young Egypt King: King Tutankhamun — by Justin Medina, age 13

King Tutankhamun, better known as King Tut, was ancient Egypt’s youngest Pharaoh being only nine years old. He was largely erased from history until his tomb was discovered in the early 1900s. His tomb and mummy continue to be studied today using high-tech tools. [Read More]

Las especies más famosas del Amazonas — por Aarosh Subedi, 12 años

El río Amazonas es un lugar lleno de animales famosos, como el caimán negro, el delfín del río Amazonas, la nutria gigante y la anaconda verde. [Read More]

How Submarines Sparked Arctic Exploration — by Daniel Li, age 14

Built-in 1952, the USS Nautilus was the first submarine ever powered by a nuclear reactor and, coincidentally, also the first to ever reach the North Pole by traveling under ice. William Anderson, the commander of the Nautilus, wrote in his logbook, “Embarked following personage at North Pole: Santa Claus, affiliation: Christmas.” Spending multiple days underwater had not seemed to affect the commander’s sense of humor. [Read More]

Native Asian Moth Spotted in Washington State

by Justin Medina Ruiz, age 13

On July 7, 2022, a giant moth with a ten-inch wingspread was discovered in a garage of a home in the state of Washington. Thankfully, the moth species does not pose a public health threat. The Atlas moth originates from the tropical forests of Asia and has not been seen before in the U.S.

It is not clear how this moth found a way to get to Washington. However, scientists found on eBay, an e-commerce company, an account selling Atlas moth cocoons for $60 each. This account was later taken down because the Atlas moth is a quarantine pest, meaning it is illegal to obtain, sell, or harbor, no matter if they are adults, eggs, larvae, or pupae.

In spite of that, the individual sighting does not mean that there is a population of the Atlas in the U.S. The state’s agriculture department asks the public to take photographs and collect Atlas moths if they find one. [Read More]

Red Panda? More like Red Raccoon! — by Dalya Alquraishi age 10

The red panda is a cute and fuzzy animal that lives in China and the eastern Himalayas. It is commonly believed that these mammals are related to pandas, however red pandas are instead more closely related to raccoons. [Read More]

The Mysterious Story Behind America's Lost Snow Cruiser — by Jazmin Becerril, age 14

During the United States Antarctic Expedition Service of 1939, an amazing new vehicle – unlike any other – was used. The creator, Thomas Poulter, came up with the idea for a huge mobile vehicle base after experiencing a near-death situation in which he was stuck at an Antarctic base due to the weather. He sold his idea to the Research Foundation of the Institute of Technology in Chicago, Illinois in the mid-1930s which agreed to design the vehicle under Poulter’s supervision. [Read More]

How an Ancient Civilization Thrived and then Collapsed — by Emily Rodriguez, age 13

A mysterious ancient civilization on the island of Malta collapsed within two generations, despite surviving for more than a millennium. [Read More]

The Great Lakes of Africa: Lakes Victoria and Tanganyika — by Sofia Zapata, age 13

There are many lakes in the world, but do people know the important things about some of the African continental lakes? Lake Victoria and Lake Tanganyika are lakes located in Africa and they are two of the largest and deepest in the world. [Read More]

Eerie Double Aurora Lights Up Northern Sky — <i>by Emily Rodriguez Lima, age 13</i>

Two different auroras have appeared together at the same time with colors resembling a watermelon: green on the bottom and red on top. This phenomenon was seen by amateur astronomer Alan Dyers. Dyers was outside his house when he saw a beautiful display of the Northern Lights up in the sky. He took out his camera to record this unique image; his recording is the most complete recording of this special aurora. [Read More]

The Fire that Reached From Alberta to Pennsylvania — by Dyanara Flores-Gomez, age 14

In early June of 1950, a fire started in northern Alberta, Canada, and spread through northeastern British Columbia. It burned four million acres of land. This fire became the largest fire in North America and was named the Chinchaga fire. It was also known as the Wisp fire or Fire 19. [Read More]

How a Library Made Baghdad the World's Most Important Center of Learning — by Mariama Bah, age 15

When hearing about grand libraries, one might think of the Library of Alexandria or the Library of Congress. However a different library was established in the 9th century as one of the world’s greatest centers of science and learning. [Read More]

My Home: Colombia — by Jeronimo Rosero Perea, age 8

I was born in a beautiful country named Colombia! I want to tell you about my home. In my country of Colombia, there is a population of about 50 million people. The main language in my country is Spanish. Because this country is so big, there is a Capital city. The Capital of Colombia is Bogotǻ and the main religion practiced there is Christianity. [read more]

The Nile: Egypt's Most Important River — by Sol Saray, age 10

Did you know that the Nile River is allegedly the longest river on Earth? Historically, the Nile River was considered the longest river in the world, however, Brazilian scientists recently discovered that the Amazon River is longer than the Nile by 284 kilometers. [Read More]

Who is the Fastest Mover of Them All? — by Malak Al Quraishi, age 12

Many animals use their speed to catch their prey and others use their speed to escape predators. They all move in different ways. [Read More]

Ghost Towns and Glaciers: The Legend of Kennicot — by Anissa Attidekou, age 13

Despite the fact that ghost stories can be scary, they are always interesting. The tale of this ghostly Alaskan glacier might give you a chill, but it will also get you hooked with its unique story. [Read More]