NOVA

Origins: Earth is Born

Student Handout

Identifying Sky Dust


Depending on the time of year you collect, you might find pollen grains, mineral flakes (such as quartz, mica, or feldspar), or insect parts in your particulate matter. Although they are more rare, you might also find micrometeorites. They have a fusion crust, caused by atmospheric heating, that is glassy and etched. Look for objects that are black, shiny, smooth, and mostly round. If you find one, you may be looking at a piece of debris from about 4.6 billion years ago when the Earth was first formed.

Use the grid below to draw and label the items on your slide. On a separate sheet of paper, describe the size, shape, transparency, and color of each particle. Identify each particle by its grid coordinates.

 

1

2

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4

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7

8

9

10

11

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14

15

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18

a

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

b

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

c

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

d

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

e

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

f

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

g

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

h

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

i

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

j

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

k

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

l

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

m

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

n

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

o

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

p

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

q

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

r

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




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