The mixture of gases, predominantly nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, and water vapor that surrounds the Earth.
The totality of the Earth's organisms and, in addition, organic matter that has not yet been completely decomposed.
A system in which the boundary allows the exchange of energy, but not matter within the surroundings.
The constant, repeated movement of matter or energy from one reservoir to another
Earth System Science
The science that studies the whole Earth as a system of many interacting parts and focuses on the changes within and between these parts.
A state in which opposing forces or influences are balanced
A system response that occurs when the output of the system also serves as an input and leads to changes in the state of the system.
The amount of energy flowing through a given area in a given time.
The solid Earth.
The totality of the Earth's water, including oceans, lakes, streams, water underground, and all the snow and ice, including glaciers.
A representation of something.
The influence of a product on the process that produces it, such that production decreases with the growth of that product.
A system in which the boundary allows the exchange of both energy and matter with the surroundings.
The influence of a product on the process that produces it, such that production increases the growth of the product.
Continuous or repetitive collection of information about a target from a distance.
A storage place; a place in the Earth system where material or energy resides for some period of time.
The average length of time a given material spends in a reservoir.
The use of evidence that can be seen and tested by anyone who has the means to do so, consisting often of observation formation of a hypothesis, testing of that hypothesis and formation of a theory, formation of a law and continued reexamination.
Materials that have such long residence times in a reservoir they are isolated from the rest of the Earth system for long periods of time.
A reservoir in which the inward flux of matter exceeds the outward flux.
Any portion of the universe that can be isolated from the rest of the universe for the purpose of observing and measuring changes.
Celsius Temperature Scale
The temperature scale in which the zero reference point is the freezing temperature of water at surface atmospheric pressure and the boiling point of water is assigned a temperature of 100oC.
A self-propagating electric and magnetic wave, such as light, radio, ultraviolet or infrared radiation all types travel at same speed and differ in wavelength of frequency, which relates to the energy.
The capacity to do work.
a measure of disorganization. Equilibrium. Said of the state of a system that is balanced.
The rate of increase of temperature downward in the Earth.
The mutual physical attraction between any two masses such as Earth and the moon.
The energy a body has due to the motions of its atoms.
Kelvin Temperature Scale
The absolute temperature scale in which the foundation is the point where entropy is zero.
Energy that is expressed in the movement of matter.
The energy stored in a system.
Transmission of heat energy through the passage of electromagnetic waves.
A measure of the average kinetic energy of all the atoms in a body.
The twice-daily rise and fall of the ocean surface resulting from the gravitational attraction of the Moon and Sun.
The addition or subtraction to the internal energy of a system.
The region of the mantle where rocks become ductile, having little strength, and are easily deformed. It lies at a depth of 100km to 350km below the surface.
The smallest individual particle that retains all the properties of a given chemical element.
A compound that is of biologic origin.
The electrical forces that draw two atoms together.
The fundamental substances into which matter can be separated by ordinary chemical means.
The part of the Earth's crust that comprises the continents, which has an average thickness of 45km.
State of matter that takes on the shape of the container in which it is contained, filling the container completely (or escaping into space if it is not contained), while its constituent atoms move freely and acquire a uniform distribution within the container.
An atom that has excess positive or negative charges cause by electron transfer.
Atoms of an element having the atopic number but differing mass numbers.
Sate of matter that has definite volume but its constituent atoms are able to flow freely past one another the material does not retain its own shape but conforms to the shape of its container.
Substance that has mass and occupies space.
The region between the base of the asthenosphere and the core/mantel boundary.
Any naturally formed, crystalline solid with a definite chemical composition and a characteristic crystal structure.
The smallest unit that retains all the properties of a compound.
The crust beneath the ocean.
Masses of material that can be separated from one another by a definable boundary.
Any naturally formed, nonliving, firm, and coherent aggregate mass of mineral matter that constitutes part of a planet.
State of matter that is firm or compact in substance with a definite volume and density, and that tends to retain its shape even if it is not confined, because its constituent atoms are fixed in position relative to each other.
different forms in which matter exist
Slow movement of the continents across the face of the Earth.
Convergent Plate Margin
The zone where plates meet as they move toward each other. See subduction zone.
Divergent Plate Margin
A fracture in the lithosphere where two plates move apart. Also called spreading center.
The solid Earth.
The reversal o the polarity of Earth's magnetic field.
The special branch of tectonics that deals with the processes by which the lithosphere is moved laterally over the asthenosphere.
A theory proposed during the early 1960s in which lateral movement of the oceanic crust away from midocean ridges was postulated.
The sinking of old, cold oceanic lithosphere into the asthenosphere.
Also called convergent margin. The linear zone along which a plate of lithosphere sinks down into the asthenosphere.
Assemblage of cratons into a large continental complex.
Seismic waves that travel outward from an earthquake focus and pass through the Earth.
The change in shape or size of a solid body.
The point on the Earth's surface that lies vertically above the focus of an Earthquake.
A fracture in a rock along hich movement occurs.
Magma that reaches the Earth's surface through a volcanic vent.
Molten rock, together with any suspended mineral grains and dissolved gases, that forms when temperatures rise and melting occurs in the mantle or crust.
See Mohorovicic Discontinuity . The boundary between the Earth's crust and the mantle.
P (Primary) Wave
Seismic body waves transmitted by alternating pulses of compression and expansion. P waves pass through solids, liquids, and gases.
The bouncing of a wave off the surface between two media.
The change in velocity when a wave passes from one medium to another; the process by which the path of a beam of light is bent when the beam crosses from one transparent material to another.
A scale, based on the recorded amplitudes of seismic body waves, for comparing the amounts of energy released by earthquakes.
Elastic disturbances spreading outward from an earthquake focus.
A device for continuously detecting and recording seismic waves.
Seismic waves that are guided by the Earth's surface and do not pass through the body of the Earth.
See Seismic sea waves. A long high sea wave caused by an earthquake or other disturbance.
The vent from which igneous matter, solid rock, debris, and gases are erupted.
The joining together of particles in a loose sediment through the addition of a cementing agent.
Sediment formed by precipitation of minerals from solutions in water.
The decomposition of rocks through chemical reactions such as hydration and oxidation.
The loose fragmented debris produced by the mechanical breakdown of older rocks.
Reduction of the volume of sediment as a result of increased pressure.
The set of processes whereby crystals of individual mineral components nucleate and grow in a cooling magma.
Accumulation of sediment following transport.
The complex group of related processes by which rock is broken down physically and chemically and the products are moved.
The planar texture of mineral grains, principally micas, produced by metamorphism.
Rock formed by the cooling and consolidation of magma.
The processes by which sediment and soil become rock.
Rock whose original compounds or textures, or both, have been transformed to new compounds and new textures by reactions in the solid state as a result of high temperature, high pressure or both.
All changes in mineral assemblage and rock texture or both that take place in sedimentary and igneous rocks in the sold state within the Earth's crust as a result of changes in temperature and pressure.
Physical (mechanical) weathering
The disintegration (physical breakup) or rocks.
The cyclic movement of rock material, in the course of which rock is created, destroyed, and altered through the operation of internal and external Earth processes.
Regolith that has been transported by any of the external processes.
Any rock formed by chemical precipitation or by sedimentation and cementation of mineral grains transported to a site of deposition by water, wind, ice, or gravity.
The chemical alteration and mechanical breakdown of rock materials during exposure to air, moisture, and organic matter.