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Chapter 1: Introduction to Earth Science Earth Science and the Earth System What is Science? Doing Science Science and Society The Science of Global Change Copyright © The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Permission required for reproduction or display. Learning Objectives

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Chapter 1: Introduction to Earth Science

  • Earth Science and the Earth System

  • What is Science?

  • Doing Science

  • Science and Society

  • The Science of Global Change

Copyright © The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Permission required for reproduction or display.


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Learning Objectives

  • Students will explain concepts related to science and scientific investigation.

  • Students will identify examples of inductive and deductive reasoning.

  • Students will identify rules of good science and recognize when these rules are being applied.

  • Students will differentiate between an observation, prediction, hypothesis, and theory.

  • Students will give examples of the principal roles that Earth scientists play in society.

  • Students will discuss issues related to global change.


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Are you ready for a natural disaster?

A giant earthquake buckles the seafloor just west of Indonesia at 7.58 a.m., December 26, 2004

Several hours later waves struck African coastlines

A tsunami strikes the beach at Phuket Island a few hours after the earthquake

Banda Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia, was quickly devastated by waves up to 30 meters high

More then 230,000 people are estimated to have died following the earthquake and tsunami


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Earth Science and the Earth System

Earth Science

  • The investigation of interactions among the four components of the Earth system . . .

    • atmosphere (air, weather)

    • hydrosphere (water, ice)

    • biosphere (plants, animals)

    • geosphere (land, rocks)

  • . . . and their interaction with the exosphere (sun, space).

The Good Earth, Chapter 1: Introduction to Earth Science


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Earth Science and the Earth System

How do you interact with the components of the earth system?

HYDROSPHERE

ATMOSPHERE

GEOSPHERE

BIOSPHERE

The Good Earth, Chapter 1: Introduction to Earth Science


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Earth Science and the Earth System

How do the components of the earth system interact with each other?

The Good Earth, Chapter 1: Introduction to Earth Science


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Go back to the Table of Contents

Go to the next section: What is Science?

The Good Earth, Chapter 1: Introduction to Earth Science


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What is Science?

Science is . . .

  • . . . a process of discovery that increases our body of knowledge.

  • . . . information that can be learned; much of it is waiting to be discovered.

  • . . . the curiosity and creativity of scientists in the search for answers to critical questions.

    Science is not . . .

  • . . . a list of facts to be memorized.

The Good Earth, Chapter 1: Introduction to Earth Science


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What is Science?

Hutchinson Gas Explosions

  • Gas explosions in Hutchinson, Kansas, linked to gas storage facility

  • Scientists hypothesized gas traveled to Hutchinson in fractures in underground rock layer

The Good Earth, Chapter 1: Introduction to Earth Science


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What is Science?

Hutchinson Gas Explosions

  • A practical example of the use of science to resolve a dangerous situation

    • Scientific discovery  scientists found additional hazardous gas concentrations

    • Use of information  geologists used existing knowledge of rocks in region to predict the potential route of gas

The Good Earth, Chapter 1: Introduction to Earth Science


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Go back to the Table of Contents

Go to the next section: Doing Science

The Good Earth, Chapter 1: Introduction to Earth Science


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Doing Science

To “do science” we need observations, a testable hypothesis, and one or more predictions based on the hypothesis.

  • Hypothesis – a testable explanation that can be verified or falsified

  • Observations – facts, measurements, information, data collected using the senses

  • Prediction – a statement of what will happen in a given situation or set of circumstances

The Good Earth, Chapter 1: Introduction to Earth Science


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Science Conceptest

Which of the following statements is more accurate?

  • Observations are only as good as the hypotheses on which they are based.

  • Hypotheses are only as good as the observations on which they are based.


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Doing Science

Hypotheses can be tested using either inductive or deductive reasoning.

  • Inductive reasoning - drawing general conclusions from specific observations.

    • Involves recognizing patterns in data

The Good Earth, Chapter 1: Introduction to Earth Science


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Doing Science

Hypotheses can be tested using either inductive or deductive reasoning.

  • Deductive reasoning - drawing specific conclusions based upon general principles.

    • Involves applying laws, principles

The Good Earth, Chapter 1: Introduction to Earth Science


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Doing Science

Inductive Reasoning Example

  • Three massive hurricanes caused significant damage to the United States during 2005.

  • Hurricane Katrina had a pressure of 902 mbar; Hurricane Rita, 898 mbar and Hurricane Wilma, 882 mbar.

  • Therefore, massive hurricanes with low air pressures of around 900 mbar or less will cause large amounts of damage if they make landfall.

A general conclusion based on specific observations

The Good Earth, Chapter 1: Introduction to Earth Science


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Doing Science

Deductive Reasoning Example

  • All hurricanes form as low pressure systems over oceans.

  • Hurricane Harry is forming in the Atlantic.

  • Hurricane Harry must be a low pressure system.

A specific conclusion based on a general principle

The Good Earth, Chapter 1: Introduction to Earth Science


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Science Conceptest

Kathie studied the geology of several Hawaiian volcanoes and used her data to predict the potential dangers from the eruption of similar volcanoes on the Galapagos Islands.

What type of reasoning did she apply?

  • Inductive reasoning

  • Deductive reasoning


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Science Conceptest

During orientation Amy learned that all classrooms on campus were air conditioned. She decided to bring a sweatshirt to class even on the hottest days.

What type of reasoning did Amy use?

  • Inductive reasoning

  • Deductive reasoning

  • Neither – the decision did not involve science


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Doing Science

Science follows some basic rules – that loosely define the scientific method

  • A scientific hypothesis is tentative and can change

  • A scientific hypothesis is based on data from empirical (based on experience) observations or experiments

  • A scientific hypothesis should be predictable and testable – test results should either support or falsify the hypothesis

  • A scientific hypothesis offers a well-defined natural cause to explain a natural event

The Good Earth, Chapter 1: Introduction to Earth Science


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Doing Science

Example of an emerging hypothesis

Global warming: Average temperature of Earth is increasing due to build up of greenhouse gases in atmosphere

Natural cause – climate records of last 500,000 years show parallel changes in temperature and greenhouse gases

Tentative – estimates of how much temperature is increasing will change

Empirical – measurements of increasing global temperatures

Predictable – if carbon dioxide increases by X, temperature will increase by Y

The Good Earth, Chapter 1: Introduction to Earth Science


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Doing Science

Limitations of science

Science can be limited by the available technology

Technology can affect the precision and accuracy of measurements

  • Precision – degree to which a series of measurements match

  • Accuracy – degree to which a set of measurements matches a known value

Science can not answer questions of ethics or faith

The Good Earth, Chapter 1: Introduction to Earth Science


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Science Conceptest

  • Which is the best description of a scientific study?

  • A scientific study allows you to be able to explain something so that you are able to touch it and see it. In science you have to see it for it to be true.

  • A scientific study involves making clear, unbiased observations. The opinions and personal feelings or beliefs of the scientist have no effect on the outcome.

  • A scientific study involves making hypotheses, collecting data, and performing experiments or testing claims, to reach a conclusion supported by evidence.

  • A scientific study uses mathematics to do calculations and generate graphs that can be used to closely examine facts.


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Science Conceptest

Luis and Walter Alvarez suggested the dinosaurs became extinct when an asteroid collided with the earth. They noted that the rare element iridium was present in 66 million year old rock layers.

The text in italics is an example of:

  • A hypothesis C. A prediction

  • An observation D. A theory


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Science Concept Survey

Fertility Statues and the Scientific Method

Employees at the Ripley’s Believe It of Not! Museum in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, declare that female visitors who come in contact with a pair of African fertility statues have become pregnant. The statues, from the Boule Tribe of the Ivory Coast, stand near the museum’s entrance. Some visitors have told the museum’s staff that they gave birth nine months after touching the statues. The museum notes that couples travel from a far away as Texas to rub the statues.

  • What is the hypothesis presented in the paragraph?

  • Is the hypothesis supported by sufficient observations? Explain.

  • How could someone test the hypothesis?


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Go back to the Table of Contents

Go to the next section: Science and Society

The Good Earth, Chapter 1: Introduction to Earth Science


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Science and Society

  • Earth Scientist’s role in Society:

  • Alert people to earth processes (hazards) that may cause damage or loss of life

  • Provide for material needs of society by managing natural resources

  • Protect us from activities that may endanger the natural environment

  • Ensure the future of humanity from global threats such as climate change or an asteroid impact

The Good Earth, Chapter 1: Introduction to Earth Science


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Science and Society

  • Earth Scientist’s role in Society:

  • Alert people to earth processes (hazards) that may cause damage or loss of life

Which types of natural hazards are most significant for the region where you live?

The Good Earth, Chapter 1: Introduction to Earth Science


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Science and Society

  • Earth Scientist’s role in Society:

  • Alert people to earth processes (hazards) that may cause damage or loss of life

    • Prevention – Which hazards are we most likely (or least likely) to be able to prevent?

      • Example: Prevention of flooding as a result of construction of floodwalls and levees

    • Adjustment – strategies for minimizing the impact of hazards

      • Example: Building code regulations in areas of frequent earthquakes

The Good Earth, Chapter 1: Introduction to Earth Science


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Science Conceptest

Is evacuation of a city in advance of a hurricane an example of prevention or adjustment?

  • Prevention

  • Adjustment


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Science and Society

  • Earth Scientist’s role in Society:

  • Provide for material needs of society by managing natural resources

    • Renewable resources – water, soil

    • Non-renewable resources – oil, coal, metals

  • Sustainable society – a society that satisfies its need for resources without jeopardizing the needs of future generations

Strip mining for manganese, South Africa

The Good Earth, Chapter 1: Introduction to Earth Science


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Science and Society

  • Earth Scientist’s role in Society:

  • Provide for material needs of society by managing natural resources

What does the pattern of night lights suggest about global use of energy and other resources?

The Good Earth, Chapter 1: Introduction to Earth Science


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Science and Society

  • Earth Scientist’s role in Society:

  • Protect us from activities that may endanger natural environments

  • Human-induced air and water pollution can cause long-term harm to ecosystems

Exxon Valdez oil spill and clean up, Prince William Sound, Alaska

The Good Earth, Chapter 1: Introduction to Earth Science


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Science and Society

Earth Scientist’s role in Society:

  • Ensure the future of humanity from global threats such as climate change or an asteroid impact

The Good Earth, Chapter 1: Introduction to Earth Science


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Go back to the Table of Contents

Go to the next section: The Science of Global Change

The Good Earth, Chapter 1: Introduction to Earth Science


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The Science of Global Change

  • Global Change Research Act (1990)

  • Required US government to begin a global change research program (Climate Change Science Program, CCSP)

  • Seven CCSP research objectives

    • Composition of the Atmosphere

    • Global Carbon Cycle

    • Ecosystems

    • Population and Global Change

    • Ancient Climates

    • Earth’s Climate System

    • Global Water Cycle

The Good Earth, Chapter 1: Introduction to Earth Science


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The Science of Global Change

  • Potential CCSP research questions:

  • Composition of the Atmosphere – How will the chemistry of the atmosphere change in the next century?

  • Global Carbon Cycle – How much can natural processes moderate the increasing concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere?

  • Ecosystems – What is the impact of increasing temperatures on the distribution of different ecosystems and the organisms that inhabit them?

The Good Earth, Chapter 1: Introduction to Earth Science


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The Science of Global Change

  • Potential CCSP research questions:

  • Population and Global Change – Which will have the greater impact on future greenhouse gas concentrations - increasing populations or economic growth?

  • Ancient Climates – What are the characteristics of natural climate changes that occurred in the geologic past?

  • Earth’s Climate System – How fast can climate change? How long will it take for the average global temperature to rise by 1oF or 5oF?

The Good Earth, Chapter 1: Introduction to Earth Science


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The Science of Global Change

Potential CCSP research questions:

  • Global Water Cycle – What are the implications for decreasing or increasing water supplies as a consequence of climate change?

The Good Earth, Chapter 1: Introduction to Earth Science


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Go back to the Table of Contents

The Good Earth, Chapter 1: Introduction to Earth Science


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