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Text: Historical Geology. Evolution of Earth and Life Through Time 4th edition by Wicander and Monroe. Chapter 1. The Dynamic and Evolving Earth. The Movie of Earth’s History. What kind of movie would we see if it were possible to travel back in time and film Earth’s History

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Text: Historical Geology


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    1. Text: Historical Geology Evolution of Earth and Life Through Time 4th edition by Wicander and Monroe

    2. Chapter 1 The Dynamic and Evolving Earth

    3. The Movie of Earth’s History • What kind of movie would we see • if it were possible to travel back in time • and film Earth’s History • from its beginning 4.6 billion years ago? • It would certainly be a story of epic proportions • with great special effect • and a cast of trillions • twists and turns in its plot • with an unknown ending • Although we cannot travel back in time, • the Earth’s History is still preserved • in the geologic record

    4. Subplot: Landscape History • In this movie we would see • a planet undergoing remarkable change as • continents moved about • ocean basins opened • mountain ranges grew along continental margins • and where continents collided • The oceans and atmosphere would • form and grow • change circulation patterns • cause massive ice sheets to form and grow • and then melt away • Extensive swamps or vast interior deserts • would sweep across the landscape

    5. Subplot: Life’s History • We would also witness • the first living cells evolving • from a primordial organic soup • between 4.6 and 3.6 billion years ago • Cell nuclei would evolve, • then multicelled soft-bodied animals • followed by animals with skeletons and then backbones • The barren landscape would come to life as • plants and animals moved from their watery home • insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals • would eventually evolve

    6. Changes in its surface • Changes in life Earth is a Dynamic and Evolving Planet

    7. At the End of the Movie • The movie’s final image is of Earth, • a shimmering blue-green oasis • in the black void of space • and a voice says, • “To be continued.”

    8. The Movie’s Theme • Every good movie has a theme, • and “The History of Earth” is no exception • Three interrelated themes run throughout it • The first is that Earth’s outermost part • is composed of a series of moving plates • Plate tectonics • whose interactions have affected its physical and biological history • The second is that Earth’s biota • has evolved or changed throughout its history • organic evolution

    9. Earth is a System of Interconnected Subsystems • Atmosphere (air and gases) • Hydrosphere (water and oceans) • Biosphere (plants and animals) • Lithosphere (Earth’s rocky surface) • Interior (mantle and core)

    10. Interactions in Earth’s Subsystems Atmosphere Biosphere Gasesfrom respiration Transport of seeds and spores

    11. Interactions in Earth’s Subsystems Wind erosion, transport of water vapor for precipitation Mountainsdivert air movements Atmosphere Lithosphere

    12. Interactions in Earth’s Subsystems Source of sediment and dissolved material Water and glacial erosion, solution of minerals Hydrosphere Lithosphere

    13. This class is about historical geologyWhat is Geology? • From the Greek • geo (Earth) logos (reason) • Geology is the study of Earth • Physical geology studies Earth materials, • such as minerals and rocks • as well as the processes operating within • and on Earth’s surface

    14. Historical Geology • In historical geology we study • changes in our dynamic planet • how and why past events happened • implication for today’s global ecosystems • Principles of historical geology • not only aid in interpreting Earth’s history • but also have practical applications • William Smith, an English surveyor/engineer • used study of rock sequences • to help predict the difficulty of excavation • in constructing canals

    15. Scientific Method • The scientific method • an orderly and logical approach • Gather and analyze facts or data • A hypothesis is a tentative explanation • to explain observed phenomena • Scientists make predictions using hypotheses • then they test the predictions • After repeated tests, • if one hypothesis continues • to explain the phenomena, • scientists propose it as a theory

    16. Formulation of Theories Theory • colloquial usage - speculation or conjecture • scientific usage • coherent explanation for one or several related natural phenomena • supported by a large body of objective evidence

    17. Origin of the Universe • The Big Bang • occurred 15 billion years ago • and is a model for the beginning of the universe

    18. Evidence for the Big Bang • Universe is expanding • How do we determine the age? • measure the rate of expansion • backtrack to a time when the galaxies • were all together at a single point • Pervasive background radiation of 2.7º above absolute zero • is the afterglow of the Big Bang

    19. Big Bang Model • Initial state: • No time, matter or space existed • There is no “before the Big Bang” • Universe consisted of pure energy • During 1st second: • Very dense matter came into existence • The four basic forces separated • gravity, electromagnetic force, 2 nuclear forces • Enormous expansion occurred

    20. Big Bang Model (cont.) • 300,000 years later: • atoms of hydrogen and helium formed • light (photons) burst forth for the first time • During the next 200 million years: • Continued expansion and cooling • Stars and galaxies began to form • Elements heavier than hydrogen and helium • began to form within stars by nuclear fusion

    21. Features of Our Solar System • In a spiral arm of the Milky Way Galaxy • Sun • 9 planets • 101 known moons (satellites) • a tremendous number of asteroids • most orbit the Sun between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter • millions of comets and meteorites • interplanetary dust and gases

    22. Relative Sizes of the Sun and Planets

    23. Solar System Configuration

    24. Origin of Our Solar System Solar nebula theory • cloud of gases and dust • formed a rotating disk • condensed and collapsed due to gravity • forming solar nebula • with an embryonic Sun • surrounded by a rotating cloud

    25. Embryonic Sun and Rotating Cloud • Planetesimals have formed • in the inner solar system, • and large eddies of gas and dust • remain far from the protosun

    26. The Planets • Jovian Planets • Jupiter • Saturn • Uranus • Neptune • large, composed of hydrogen, helium, ammonia, methane, relatively small rocky cores • Terrestrial Planets • Mercury • Venus • Earth • Mars • small, composed of rock, with metal cores

    27. Earth’s Very Early History • Started out cool about 4.6 billion years ago • probably with uniform composition/density • Mostly: • silicate compounds • iron and magnesium oxides • Temperature increased. Heat sources: • meteorite impacts • gravitational compression • radioactive decay • Heated up enough to melt iron and nickel

    28. Earth’s Differentiation • Differentiation = segregated into layers of differing composition and density • Early Earth was probably uniform • Molten iron and nickel sank to form the core • Lighter silicates flowed up to form mantle and crust

    29. Forming the Earth-Moon System • Impact by Mars-sized or larger planetesimal with young Earth • 4.6 to 4.4 billion years ago • ejected large quantity of hot material, • and formed the Moon

    30. Forming the Earth-Moon System • Most of the lunar material • came from the mantle of the colliding planetesimal • The material cooled • and crystallized • into lunar layers

    31. Forming the Earth-Moon System • Most of the lunar material • came from the mantle of the colliding planetesimal • The material cooled • and crystallized • into lunar layers

    32. Moon • Light-colored areas are lunar highlands • Heavily cratered • Provide striking evidence • of massive meteorite bombardment

    33. Earth—Dynamic Planet • Earth was also subjected • to the same meteorite barrage • that pock-marked the Moon • Why isn’t Earth’s surface also densely cratered? • Because Earth is a dynamic and evolving planet • Craters have long since been worn away

    34. Earth’s Interior Layers • Crust - 5-90 km thick • continental and oceanic • Mantle • composed largely of peridotite • dark, dense igneous rock • rich in iron and magnesium • Core • iron and a small amount of nickel

    35. Earth’s Interior Layers • Lithosphere • solid upper mantle and crust • Crust - 5-90 km thick • continental and oceanic • Mantle • composed largely of peridotite • dark, dense igneous rock • rich in iron and magnesium • Asthenosphere • part of upper mantle • behaves plastically and slowly flows • Core • iron and a small amount of nickel

    36. Earth’s Interior Layers • Lithosphere • solid upper mantle and crust • broken into platesthat move over the asthenosphere • Asthenosphere • part of upper mantle • behaves plastically and slowly flows

    37. Earth’s Crust • outermost layer • continental (20-90 km thick) • density 2.7 g/cm3 • contains Si, Al • oceanic (5-10 km thick) • density 3.0 g/cm3 • composed of basalt

    38. Plate Tectonic Theory • Lithosphere is broken into individual pieces called plates • Plates move over the asthenosphere • as a result of underlying convection cells

    39. Modern Plate Map

    40. Plate Tectonic Theory • At plate boundaries • Volcanic activity occurs • Earthquakes occur • Movement at plate boundaries • plates diverge • plates converge • plates slide sideways past each other

    41. Continental-continental convergent plate boundary Divergent plate boundary Continental-oceanic convergent plate boundary Oceanic-oceanic convergent plate boundary Divergent plate boundary Mid-oceanic ridge Trench Plate Tectonic Theory • Types of plate boundaries Transform plate boundary

    42. Plate Tectonic Theory Influence on geological sciences: • Revolutionary concept • major milestone • comparable to Darwin’s theory of evolution in biology • Provides a framework for • interpreting many aspects of Earth on a global scale • relating many seemingly unrelated phenomena • interpreting Earth history

    43. Plate Tectonics and Earth Systems Plate tectonics is driven by convection in the mantle and in turn drives mountain building and associated igneous and metamorphic activity SolidEarth Arrangement of continents affects solar heating and cooling, and thus winds and weather systems Rapid plate spreading and hot-spot activity may release volcanic carbon dioxide and affect global climate Atmosphere

    44. Plate Tectonics and Earth Systems Continental arrangement affects ocean currents Rate of spreading affects volume of mid-oceanic ridges and hence sea level Placement of continents may contribute to the onset of ice ages Hydrosphere Movement of continents creates corridors or barriers to migration, the creation of ecological niches, and transport of habitats into more or less favorable climates Biosphere

    45. Theory of Organic Evolution • Provides a framework • for understanding the history of life • Darwin’s • On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, published in 1859, • revolutionized biology

    46. Central Thesis of Evolution • All present-day organisms • are related • and descended from organisms • that lived during the past • Natural selection is the mechanism • that accounts for evolution • Natural selection results in the survival • to reproductive age of those organisms • best adapted to their environment

    47. History of Life • The fossil record provides perhaps • the most compelling evidence • in favor of evolution • Fossils are the remains or traces • of once-living organisms • Fossils demonstrate that Earth • has a history of life

    48. Geologic Time • From the human perspective time units are in • seconds, hours, days, years • Ancient human history • hundreds or even thousands of years • Geologic history • millions, hundreds of millions, billions of years

    49. Geologic Time Scale • Resulted from the work of many 19th century geologists who • pieced together information • from numerous rock exposures, • constructed a sequential chronology • based on changes in Earth’s biota through time • The time scale was subsequently dated in years • using radiometric dating techniques

    50. Geologic Time Scale