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Earth’s History and Structure

Do Now

• What are the main compositional layers of


the Earth?
• Crust

• Mantle

• Core
Origin of the Earth
• Earth formed
approximately 4.6 billion
years ago

• Early earth lacked an


atmosphere

• Meteors and Asteroids


bombarded the Earth
Meteor Crater Arizona
Earth’s Interior
• Core
– Made of Iron and Nickel
– Inner Core - solid
– Outer Core - liquid

• Mantle
– Less dense than core
– Iron and Silicates
– Mostly solid

• Crust
– Outermost layer is solid rock.

– Continental – granite

– Oceanic – basalt
Lithosphere

• The outer solid layer of the Earth

• Litho- Rock

• Sphere- Round
Lithosphere
• Consists of continental, oceanic and upper
part of mantle
• Continents composed of granite-type
rock, less dense then oceanic crust

• Oceanic crust formed of basalt; more dense


then continental crust
Asthenosphere

• Located below the Lithosphere

• Enormous heat and pressure

• Rock exhibits Plasticity: ability to flow

• Causes Tectonic Plates to move


Mesosphere

• Located below the Asthenosphere

• “Meso” means middle


Outer Core

• Made of liquid Iron and Nickel


Inner Core

• Made of solid iron and nickel


Do Now

• What is the difference between the Earth’s


lithosphere and asthenosphere.
Earth’s Gravity

• Gravity is the force of attraction due to an


object’s mass

• Determined by mass and distance


between two objects in space
What is the difference between
weight and mass?

• Hint: You would weigh less on the moon,


but your mass is constant.
Weight and Mass

• Weight-Measurement of the pull of gravity


on an object

• Mass-The amount of matter an object is


composed of
Classwork/Homework

• Research how the Earth’s magnetic field is


generated.

• Describe how the magnetic field protects


us from radiation.
Classwork/Homework

• Read 29-32
• Define all Key Terms
• Answer (1-6) on pg. 32
Earth’s Interior
Continental Drift Evidence
• Researchers noted geographic fit of continents
• e.g. Africa and S. America
• Atlantic formed by separation of Africa from S. America

• Seuss, 1885, proposed super continent by studying fossils,


rocks, mountains

• Wegener and Taylor, early 1900’s, proposed continental drift


and Pangaea

• Evidence supporting the idea that the continents had drifted.


– Geographic fit of continents
– Fossils
– Mountains
– Glaciation
Continental Drift
Geographic Fit

• Continents seem to fit together like pieces of a puzzle


Continental Drift
Fossils

• Similar distribution of fossils such as the Mesosaurus


Palisades in North New Jersey
Continental Drift
Mountains

• Mountain ranges match across oceans


Continental Drift
Glaciation

• Glacial ages and climate evidence


Diving between the plates in Iceland
Continental Drift Model
Problems

• Alfred Wegener
– Presented research to
professionals

– Did not provide a


plausible mechanism to
explain how continents
drifted
Seafloor Spreading
• Continental drift reexamined in 1960’s with new
information

• New theory developed – Seafloor spreading

• Supporting evidence for seafloor spreading


– World seismicity
– Volcanism
– Age of seafloor
– Paleomagnetism
– Heat flow
• Theory combining continental drift and seafloor spreading
termed “Plate Tectonics”
Seafloor Spreading

• New sea floor created at the mid-ocean ridge


and destroyed in deep ocean trenches
Evidence for Seafloor Spreading
World Seismicity

• Earthquake distribution matches plate boundaries


Evidence for Seafloor Spreading
Volcanism

• Volcanoes match some plate boundaries; some are


hot spots
Evidence for Seafloor Spreading
Age of Seafloor

• Youngest sea floor is at mid-ocean ridge


• Oldest sea floor away from mid-ocean ridge
Evidence for Seafloor Spreading
Paleomagnetism

• Earth has a magnetic field - Probably caused by rotation of


solid inner core in liquid outer core (both mostly Fe)
• When rocks cool at the Earth’s surface, they record Earth’s
magnetic field (normal or reverse polarity)
Evidence for Seafloor Spreading
Paleomagnetism

• Paleomagnetic studies indicate alternating


stripes of normal and reverse polarity at the
mid-ocean ridge.
Seafloor Spreading
Heat Flow
Seafloor Spreading
Convection Currents

• In 1960, proposed as driving force to move continents


Theory of Plate Tectonics

• John Tuzo Wilson combined ideas of continental


drift and seafloor spreading into “Plate Tectonics”
Principles of Plate Tectonics

• Earth’s outermost layer composed of thin


rigid plates moving horizontally

• Plates interact with each other along their


edges (plate boundaries)

• Plate boundaries have high degree of tectonic


activity
– mountain building
– earthquakes
– volcanoes
Plate Boundaries
Three types

• Divergent
• Convergent
• Transform
Plate Boundaries
Divergent

• Plates move away from each other


• New crust is being formed
Divergent Plate Boundaries
Examples

East African Rift Mid-Atlantic Ocean Ridge


Plate Boundaries
Convergent

Three Types:

• Ocean-continent

• Ocean-ocean

• Continent-continent

• Plates are moving toward each other


• Crust is being destroyed
Convergent Plate Boundaries
Mount Fuji, Japan Examples
Mount Lassen, California

Andes, South America


Plate Boundaries
Transform
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• Crust is neither created nor destroyed


• Plates slide past one another
Transform Plate Boundaries
Examples

San Andreas Fault

Calexico, California

Carrizo Plains, Central California