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How Do They Know?. Earth’s Interior. Historical Views. The earlier views of the earth’s processes were viewed by the catastrophic events, and related to gods. Poseidon was the god of earthquakes Zeus was the weather god Vulcan was the god of volcanoes Earth’s interior was the house of Hades.

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how do they know

How Do They Know?

Earth’s Interior

historical views
Historical Views
  • The earlier views of the earth’s processes were viewed by the catastrophic events, and related to gods.
    • Poseidon was the god of earthquakes
    • Zeus was the weather god
    • Vulcan was the god of volcanoes
    • Earth’s interior was the house of Hades
over time
Over Time
  • It has become determined that the earth is an oblique spheroid.
  • It processes a dipolar magnetic field.
  • The Earth has a crust with an interior that is composed of different layers
  • The interior core has a source of heat.
the evidence
The Evidence
  • The direct evidence of what lies below our feet is quite limited.
  • Direct evidence refers to actual sample of Earth materials from which composition and density of a certain area of the Earth’s interior can be determined.
  • The sources
    • Drilling
    • Inclusions in igneous rocks
    • Roots of mountains
    • Kimberlite pipes
drilling
Drilling
  • Diamond drill bits have been bored into rock and the cores have been brought to the earth surface.
  • This technique is limited as the material of the Earth increases in temperature with depth, (called a geothermal gradient) approximately 25ºC per kilometer.
  • Deepest drill hole to date is 12 km deep, located north of the Arctic Circle in Russia
inclusions
Inclusions
  • During magmas’ travel to the Earth’s surface pieces of country rock, called inclusions.
  • With uplifting and erosion at the Earth’s surface the inclusion can provide information about the composition of the Earth at the depth the magma originated
mountain roots
Mountain Roots
  • Think of mountain being like an iceberg. To have a high elevation a deep portion or root is needed to balance the structure.
  • As a mountain erodes over time the deep root of the mountain becomes uplifted and the root is exposed giving direct information about the interior. These depths can be up to 50km
kimberlite pipes
Kimberlite Pipes
  • Kimberlite pipes are a special intrusive igneous rock formation which develop at great depths (around 600 km) below the surface. These then move upward to the surface.
  • They are sources of most of the world’s natural diamonds, but they also give clues as to the Earth’s interior.
overal
Overal
  • One must remember that the Earth’s radius is over 6300 km, and with direct methods of evidence only going to a depth of maybe 600 km, then much information about the interior is lacking.
  • To gather the information needed about the interior, indirect methods must be used. Of these most commonly used is seismology. The study of earthquakes
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