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GEOSCI: SUMMARIZE

Topic: Origin of the Earth

Geology- study of earth


Earth- 6370 km radius
Composed of rocks (rocks composed of minerals)
4.6 billion yrs old

Earths Spheres

Hydrosphere
-Dynamic mass of water that is continually on the move, evaporating from the oceans to the
atmosphere, precipitating to the land, running back to the ocean again.
-it includes fresh groundwater (0.94%), Oceans (96.5%), Saline Water (97.44%), Fresh water
(2.56%)

Atmosphere
-Living gaseous envelope, a mixture of gases, mostly nitrogen and oxygen.
-Venusian atmosphere: hot, acidic, and rich in carbon dioxide; Mars: frigid, with 0.006
atmospheric pressure at the surface of the earth

Biosphere
-includes all life, inhabited by life, includes the uppermost layer of the earth.

Geosphere (or solid earth)


-lying beneath the atmosphere and oceans
-Largest earth sphere
-includes the Earth's interior, rocks and minerals, landforms and the processes that shape the
Earth's surface.

Earths Structure:

Crust
-thin, rocky outer skin
Types of crust:

Oceanic Crust 7km (5 miles) thick and composed of dark igneous rock called basalt, the oceanic
rocks are 180myo and denser (3.0 g/cm3)

Continental Crust- 35km (22 miles) thick and may exceed to 70km thick in some mountain
regions. It is composed of many types of rocks; upper crust consists of granitic rock called
granodiorite.
-the continental rocks have 2.7 g/cm3 (density), 4billiony old.

For comparison, liquid water has a density of 1 g/cm3 , therefore, the density of basalt, the primary rocks
composing oceanic crust, is 3 times that of water.
Mantle
-82% of earths volume is contained in the mantle
-a solid, rocky shell that extends depth of about 2900km (1800 miles)
-the boundary between crust and mantle, the dominant rock type in the uppermost mantle is
peridotite (richer in metals: magnesium and iron)

Upper Mantle
Three parts:

Lithosphere- sphere of rock, consists of earths entire crust plus uppermost mantle and
forms earths relatively cool, rigid outer shell. Averaging about 100km thick, lithosphere
is more than 250km thick below the oldest portions of the continents.

Asthenosphere- soft, weak layer below lithosphere. 310km thick,


Processes that operate beneath and upon earths surface:

Internal Process
originate deep in the earths interior; occur beneath earths surface sometimes lead to the formation of
major features at the surface.

External Process
such as landslides, rivers, and glaciers, erode and sculpt surface features.

Development of Geology:

Aristotle
-most influential greek philosopher
-he believed that rocks were created under the influence of the stars and that earthquakes
occurred when air crowded into the ground, was heated by central fires, and escaped
explosively.

Catastrophism
-result of James Usshers calculation
-earths landscapes were shaped primarily by great catastrophes: such as canyons and
mountains

The Birth of Modern Geology:

James Hutton
-Theory of the Earth 1795
-Fundamental principle: Uniformitarianism states that physical, chemical, and biological laws
that operate today have also operated in geological past.