Chapter 1

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Chapter 1
2010-09-09 00:46:27

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  1. Earth Science
    name for all sciences that collectively seek to understand Earth and its neighbors in space
  2. geology
    • "study of earth"
    • -physical geology = examines materials composing Earth and seeks to understand the many processes that operate beneath and upon its surface
    • -historical geology = understand origin of Earth and development of planet through its 4.5 billion year history
  3. Oceanography
    study of oceans in all their aspects and relationships
  4. Meteorology
    study of the atmosphere and processes that produce weather and climate
  5. astronomy
    study of the universe
  6. environment
    everything that surrounds and influences an organism
  7. physical environment
    encompasses water, air, soil, and rock, as well as conditions such as temperature, humidity, and sunlight
  8. renewable
    can be replenished over relatively short time spans
  9. nonrenewable
    continue to form but processes that creat them are so slow that significant deposits take millions of years to accumulate

    ex: aluminum, copper, iron, oil, natural gas, coal
  10. hypothesis
    tentative/untested explanation
  11. theory
    well-tested and widely accepted view that the scientific community agrees best explains certain observable facts
  12. paradigms
    explain a large number of interrelated aspects of the natural world
  13. geological time scale
    divides 4.5 billion year history of earth into many different units and provides a meaningful time frame within which the events of the geological past are arranged
  14. nebular hypothesis
    bodies of our solar system evolved from an enormous rotating cloud called the solar nebula
  15. hydrosphere
    dynamic mass of liquid that is continually on the move, evaporating from the oceans to the atmosphere, precipitating to the land, and running back to the ocean again
  16. atmosphere
    life-giving gaseous envelope
  17. biosphere
    includes all life on earth
  18. crust
    earth's relatively thin, rocky outer skin, is of two different types - continental crust and oceanic crust
  19. mantle
    a solid, rocky shell that extends to a depth of nearly 2900 km; bountary between the crust and mantle represents a marked change in chemical compoisition
  20. asthenosphere
    "weak sphere"; stiff layer to a depth of about 350km; top portion of the asthensophere has a temperature/pressure regime that results in a small amount of melting
  21. lower mantle
    depth of 2900km, strengthens in depth, very hot and capable of very gradual flow
  22. core
    iron-nickel alloy with minor amounts of oxygen, silicon, and sulfur - elements that readily form compounds with iron
  23. outer core
    liquid layer 2260km thick; the movement of metallic iron within this zone generates Earth's magnetic field
  24. inner core
    sphere having a radius of 1216km; the iron in the inner core is solid due to the immense pressure that exist in the center of the planet
  25. plate tectonics
    first comprehensive model of earth's internal workings
  26. lithospheric plates
    earth's rigid outer shell (litosphere) broken into numerous slabs which are in continual motion
  27. stable platforms