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What are Emissions?

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Emissions are gases and other particles that are released into the atmosphere as a result of burning fuels and other processes. The most common types generally come from automobiles, power plants, and industrial companies. The result of too many emissions being released into the atmosphere is poor air quality, global warming, and heavy pollution.

Humans contribute most air emissions, although some animals such as livestock do contribute a portion of carbon dioxide and methane into the air through digestive processes. The increase in emissions brought about by the introduction of the automobile and fossil fuel power has led to government-mandated restrictions on companies and car manufacturers. Filters and other tactics have been implemented to help improve air quality and cut down on greenhouse gases. This is a good start, but it is only one step in the right direction.

As more is learned about global warming and climate change, environmental groups and some government agencies are trying to find new ways to prevent these things from happening. Technologies which allow cars and trucks to run without the use of fossil fuels are now available in many areas, and solar energy has become a popular power source for many homes and businesses. If used by enough people, these things could drastically cut down on the number of emissions produced by humans each year.

The most common emissions released by both human beings and through natural sources are carbon dioxide, methane gas, nitrous oxide, halocarbons, and hexafluoride. Both halocarbons and hexafluoride are not found on their own in nature and come as a direct result of man-made inventions. Carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide are all found in nature but have increased in quantity with the regular burning of fossil fuels. Ozone is another emission that comes as a result of man-made gases combined in the air with natural ones.

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Despite stricter clean air guidelines, the United States has the highest level of human emissions in the world. This is followed by other industrialized nations like Japan, England, and others. Many nations are growing rapidly, thus increasing the problem of greenhouse gas emissions in certain areas. Clean energy solutions are the best way at combating this growing problem.

Clean energy refers to any energy source that does not emit toxic gases into the air. Most forms of clean energy are also sustainable, meaning that they never run out like those coming from fossil fuels and other limited sources. The most common sources of clean energy include solar energy and wind energy. Both are becoming more widely available for everyday consumers, as well as more affordable.

There are numerous gaps in the fossil record because not every organism becomes fossilized. Conditions must be absolutely perfect for the creation of a fossil; otherwise, an organism will naturally decay away, being broken down by scavengers and bacteria. Most fossils are formed because they are deposited into moist sediments where bacteria cannot survive. Fossils have been found in bogs, quicksand, clay deposits, tar pits, and volcanic ash.

In some cases, a fossil takes the form of a natural mold. Some excellent examples of natural molds were found in the Roman city of Pompeii, where a volcanic explosion killed numerous people by drowning them in ash, mud, and sediment. As the volcanic sediments cooled and hardened, they made molds which surrounded the bodies of the victims. Over time, these bodies eventually decayed, leaving imprints of themselves behind.

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A fossil can also be turned to stone if conditions are right. In these cases, highly mineralized water fills up the empty spaces in an organism, and the minerals slowly concentrate, recording the organism’s form in stone. This is fairly rare. Many deep-sea organisms were fossilized in this way, as they fell to the bottom of the ocean and were buried in sediment.

Commonly fossils are formed from the parts of an animal which are mineralized while the animal is alive, such as bones and teeth. These mineralized body parts are preserved by ideal natural conditions while the flesh decays, leaving behind a skeletal record of an animal that once was. More rarely, complete animals are preserved in ice, as is the case with some Pliocene animals like mammoths.

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