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The Spheres of the Earth

Biosphere
Lithosphere
The atmosphere, lithosphere and
hydrosphere combine together to Also known as the geosphere. Solid
form the biosphere. It is where rock portion of the earths
the plants and animals live on surface.
earth.

Getting Back to the Roots

atmo = vapor
litho = stone
hydro = water
bio = life

Atmosphere Hydrosphere
Consists of the water elements of
Layer of gasses that surround the
the earth ranging from bodies of
earth protecting it from
water to water particles found in
radiation and space debris.
the atmosphere

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B L A H
B L A H
B L A H
B L A H
B L A H
B L A H
B L A H
B L A H
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The Spheres of the Earth

Biosphere

The biosphere is made up of all that is living on earth, from the smallest
bacterium to the largest whale.

It includes between 3 and 30 million species of plants, animals, and fungi,


and also two kinds of single-celled living things. The biosphere extends over
the Earth's surface in a thin layer from a few kilometers into the
atmosphere, in very cold environments, to the deep-sea vents of the ocean
depths, in very hot environments.

The biosphere is a life-supporting global ecosystem, where each living


things depends on each other and the environment. The ecosystem includes
all living organisms and the abiotic or nonliving environment on which they
depend for their energy and the nutrients they need to live.

http://earth.rice.edu/mtpe/bio/biosphere/biosphere_what.html
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The Spheres of the Earth

Lithosphere
The lithosphere is the brittle outer layer of the solid Earth.
The plates of plate tectonics are segments of the
lithosphere.
The lithosphere is basically the layer of the Earth that is strong enough to
flex rather than flow. Its top is easy to seeit's at the Earth's surfacebut
the base of the lithosphere is a transition rather than a sharp boundary. The
details of that transition are an active area of research.
Flexing the Lithosphere
The lithosphere is not totally rigid, but slightly elastic. It flexes when loads
are placed on it or removed from it. Ice-age glaciers are one type of load. In
Antarctica, the thick ice cap has pushed the lithosphere well below sea level
today, for example. In Canada and Scandinavia, the lithosphere is still
unflexing where the glaciers melted about 10,000 years ago. Here are some
other types of loading:
Construction of volcanoes
Deposition of sediment
Rise in sea level
Formation of large lakes and reservoirs
Here are other examples of unloading:
Erosion of mountains
Excavation of canyons and valleys
Drying up of large water bodies
Lowering of sea level

http://geology.about.com/od/platetectonics/a/About-The-Lithosphere.htm

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The Spheres of the Earth

Atmosphere

The atmosphere is the blanket of gases which surrounds Earth. It is held


near the surface of the planet by Earth's gravitational attraction.
Without the atmosphere there could be no life on Earth. The atmosphere:
contains the air we breathe;
protects life from harmful radiation from the Sun;
helps keep the planet's heat from the Sun from escaping back into
space;
is a major element of the water cycle;
keeps the climate on Earth moderate compared to that of other planets.
The atmosphere is made up of a mixture of gases, mostly nitrogen, oxygen,
argon and carbon dioxide. It reaches over 500km above the surface of the
planet. There is no exact boundary between the atmosphere and outer
space. Atmospheric gases become thinner the higher up you go. The
atmosphere just keeps getting less and less dense, until it "blends" into
outer space.

http://www.espo.nasa.gov/solveII/outreach/middleschool-atmos.htm

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The Spheres of the Earth
The hydrosphere is the liquid water component of the Earth. It
includes the oceans, seas, lakes, ponds, rivers and streams.
Hydrosphere
The hydrosphere covers about 70% of the surface of the Earth
and is the home for many plants and animals.

The hydrosphere, like the atmosphere, is always in motion. The motion of rivers
and streams can be easily seen, while the motion of the water within lakes and
ponds is less obvious. Some of the motion of the oceans and seas can be
easily seen while the large scale motions that move water great distances
such as between the tropics and poles or between continents are more
difficult to see. These types of motions are in the form of currents that move
the warm waters in the tropics toward the poles, and colder water from the
polar regions toward the tropics. These currents exist on the surface of the
ocean and at great depths in the ocean (up to about 4km).

The oceans currents are also affected by the motion of the atmosphere, or
winds, above it. The energy in the wind gets transferred to the ocean at the
ocean surface affecting the motion of the water there. The effect of wind is
largest at the ocean surface.

The ocean serves two main purposes in the climate system. First, it is a large
reservoir of chemicals that can contribute to the greenhouse effect in the
atmosphere and energy absorbing 90% of the solar radiation which hits the
surface. This reservoir changes very slowly limiting how fast the climate can
change. Second, it works with the atmosphere to redistribute the
energy received from the sun such that the heat in the topics,
where a lot of energy is received from the sun, is transferred
toward the poles, where heat is generally lost to space.

http://earth.rice.edu/earthupdate/

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Investigation and Discussion Notes
B L A H

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The Spheres of the Earth

Biosphere Lithosphere

Atmosphere Hydrosphere

How Do They Interact?

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Putting it Together

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L A

H B
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Interactions with Me

How How
do they interact with do they interact with
me? me?

L L

A A

H B

B H

How How
do they interact with do they interact with
me? me?

B L

A B

H H

L A

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Interactions with Them

How How
do I interact with the do I interact with the
others? others?

L L

A A

H B

B H

How How
do I interact with the do I interact with the
others? others?

B L

A B

H H

L A

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Biosphere

B
Research Station
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Lithosphere

L
Research Station
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Atmosphere

A
Research Station
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Hydrosphere

H
Research Station
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Sphere interacts with... this sphere causing... this reaction.

Atmosphere Lithosphere

Atmosphere Hydrosphere

Atmosphere Biosphere

Lithosphere Hydrosphere

Lithosphere Biosphere

Lithosphere Atmosphere

Biosphere Lithosphere

Biosphere Hydrosphere

Biosphere Atmosphere

Hydrosphere Lithosphere

Hydrosphere Biosphere

Hydrosphere Atmosphere

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