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Tornado Alley - Windows to the Universe

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The Spring 2011 issue of The Earth Scientist is focused on modernizing seismology education. Thanks to IRIS, you can download this issue for free as a pdf. Print copies are available in our online store.
This map shows where most tornadoes form in the United States. The red area is known as "Tornado Alley". Most of the tornadoes in the southern U.S. near the Gulf of Mexico are formed by hurricanes
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What is "Tornado Alley"?

A section of the Great Plains in the central part of the United States is called "Tornado Alley". This is because more tornadoes form here than any other part of the country. The plains are flat which allows cold polar air from Canada to meet warm tropical air from the Gulf of Mexico.

Storm chasers go Tornado Alley looking for tornadoes because there are so many that form there.

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The Fall 2009 issue of The Earth Scientist, which includes articles on student research into building design for earthquakes and a classroom lab on the composition of the Earth’s ancient atmosphere, is available in our online store.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF