Monday, March 26, 2007

One Day in the Desert

Today I joined the Soil Transect Team. You may be asking, "What is a SoilTransect Team?". I was asking that as well. Here is a little of what I learned.

A soil transect is an analysis of the microbes living at the surface of the soil across some area of interest. Today our area of interest was the greater Mojave Desert. We drove for nearly two hundred miles before we took our first sample. We started in the area of the desert that receives the most rain and worked our way to the driest part of the Mojave.

Scientists will be determining how many and what kind of microbes are living in the soil and if that changes according to changes in precipitation.

A few years ago, a similar study was done in Yellowstone National Park but instead of moisture changes, scientists were looking for changes in microbes because of soil temperature differences. You can read about how this is done on Just skim the article for a few minutes paying attention to the headings and topic sentences.

The scientific processes described there are exactly how the study we started today will be accomplished.

I didn't see any interesting wildlife today. A storm is approaching and animals are in hiding. Maybe after the storm goes through, I will be able to see some of the animal community.

Another interesting thing I saw today was a variety of alternative energy experiments. Alternative energy means finding ways to make electricity without brning fuel.

On a sheet of paper, write down answers to these 3 questions about power sources in the Mojave Desert:

1. Where is this structure located, specifically?

2. Describe how it makes electricity.

3. How much power does it produce?

Answer the questions above for each group below (9 total answers)

Power Tower

Kramer Junction Power Facility

Mojave Windmill Farm or

More infornation may be found at

1 comment:

Celly said...

Hey Mr. Wray!!! It's your favoritest student, Marcella!!! :) Hope you're having fun in the desert! Don't die from dehydration or coldness at night!