September 10, 2014
I am disappointed that while I am out to sea, I am unable to do a live webchat or show a live video stream from the NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson (bandwidth issues). Although I can’t bring my students to where I am on the ocean, there are several other locations that have live webcams that allow students to see what is happening in the moment – and maybe, just maybe, they will be able to catch a geologic event happening live!
[*Note – I wrote this post before I headed out to sea, when Iceland’s Barðarbunga was still restless and leaving us on the edge of our seats, waiting for an eruption. Erik Klemetti has a blog post on Barðarbunga with links to two web cams, and there is a YouTube page with all of the Barðarbunga web cams in one stream.]
— Alexandra Witze (@alexwitze) August 29, 2014
Example webcams (where you can lose valuable time exploring at the beginning of the semester!) include:
- USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory – 12 different webcams overlooking Kilauea and Mauna Loa
- Alaska Volcano Observatory – 18 different webcam images from Alaskan volcanoes
- Volcano webcams of the world – I could list all of the global webcams on volcanoes, but instead, I encourage you to check out the list Erik Klemetti (Denison University) compiled on his Wired Science – Eruptions blog
- US Antarctic Program – webcams at the Palmer Station and Torgersen Island Penguin colony
- One unique camera is the Smithsonian Institution’s live and time lapse camera capturing the renovation of the National Fossil Hall (see dinosaurs being deconstructed!)
I have found very little in the literature (actually, I haven’t found anything) about using live webcams with students to explore geologic processes. But I think sites such as the National Park Service – Air Quality Web Cameras have great potential to serve as a data source for an inquiry-based student exercise.
If you are looking for webcams outside of the geosciences, these are fun cameras/collections to explore:
- Salmon Cam, a live view at the Chinook and coho salmon and steelhead trout that are spawning on The Nature Conservancy in California’s Shasta Big Springs Ranch. You can also view bear fishing for salmon at Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park in Alaska.
- A live video feed (views of Earth) from the International Space Station (and another page with views)
- There are plenty of “bird cams” out there – the Woods Hole Osprey Cam, the PA Falcon Cam, and the multiple bird cameras linked on the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology’s website
- Finally, when I shared with a colleague I was doing a blog post about webcams, he asked if I was going to include the Sea Otter Live Web Cam at Monterey Bay Aquarium – here you go, John!
If anyone has created activities where students make observations and/or track features/processes over time via webcams, please share in the comments field. Live webcams may be an untapped source of geoscience data for our students, and perhaps we have overlooked this tech tool for educational purposes.
(*also seeking suggestions for ocean webcams (beyond those available in aquarium tanks))