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Physical Geology Notes Ch. 1

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Presentation Transcript
objectives
Objectives

Define and understand the branches of geology.

Explain the key steps used to study science.

Describe the formation of planets in the solar. system, including Earth.

Understand what makes Earth unique.

Explain the importance of time and change in geology.

what is geology
What is Geology?

Geology

The scientific study of Earth.

Physical geology

Understanding processes and materials.

Historical geology

Sequence of geologic events

Why did the dinosaurs suddenly die out 65 million years ago?

using the scientific method
Using the scientific method

Scientific method

The way a scientist approaches a problem

Varies in detail

Includes five key steps

Not necessarily a linear methodology, though

using the scientific method5
Using the scientific method

Observations and data gathering

Formulating hypothesis

Hypothesis: a plausible, but not yet proven, explanation for how something happens

Testing hypothesis

Formulating theory

Theory: a hypothesis tested and supported by observation and experimentation

Formulating law/ theory

earth system science
Earth system science

The system concept

Breaking large complex problems into smaller pieces without loosing sight of the connection.

Systems typically fall into two major categories:

Closed

Open

the earth system
The earth system

Geosphere

The solid Earth, as a whole

Biosphere

All living and recently dead organisms

Atmosphere

The gasses that surround Earth

Hydrosphere

Water and ice, both on the surface and underground

the life zone
The life zone

Zone where all known life exists

Found 10 kilometers above or below Earth’s surface

cycles and interactions
Cycles and interactions

Hydrologic cycle

Describes the movement of water

Rock cycle

Processes that form, modify, transport or break down rock

Tectonic cycle

Processes that drive the movement and interactions in the lithosphere

earth in space
Earth in space

The solar system

Earth is one of eight planets in orbit around the Sun

Also includes 140 moons, asteroids, comets meteoroids

the origin of the solar system
The origin of the solar system

Nebular hypothesis

The solar system coalesced out of a swirling cloud of interstellar dust/gas

Called a nebula.

Sun born from a nuclear reaction called fusion

Fusion combines hydrogen atoms to form helium

the origin of the solar system15
The origin of the solar system

Planetary accretion

Outer portions of solar nebula cooled into disks of debris.

Random collisions formed clumps that eventually grew large enough to pull in remaining debris through gravity.

the origin of the solar system16
The origin of the solar system

Meteorite

A fragment of extraterrestrial material that falls to Earth.

Violent collisions between planets and meteorites important aspect of planetary accretion

the origin of the solar system18
The origin of the solar system

Differentiation: the layering of terrestrial planets based on chemical composition

Crust: outermost compositional layer

Thin, low-density and rocky

Mantle: middle layer of Earth

Rocky, intermediate density

Core: innermost layer

High density and metallic

Other planets in the solar system exhibit differentiation

what makes earth unique
What makes Earth unique?

Atmosphere

Rich in oxygen

Hydrosphere

Contains water as solid, liquid or vapor

Biosphere

Full of living organisms

Regolith

Blanket of loose debris covering Earth

i.e., soil

what makes earth unique21
What makes Earth unique?

Plate tectonics

The movement and interactions of large fragments of Earth’s lithosphere, called plates

Responsible for shaping continents and ocean basins, as well as distribution of volcanoes and earthquakes

Oceanic crust

Thinner, denser and younger, underlying the ocean basins

Relatively thin and comprised of basalt (igneous rock type)

Continental crust

Older, thicker, and less dense, the bulk of earth’s landmasses

Generally thick and comprised of granite (igneous rock type)

Unique to Earth

the ever changing earth
The Ever-Changing Earth

Earth is dynamic system

Uniformitarianism

Proposed by James Hutton

The processes governing the Earth systems today have operated in a similar manner throughout geologic times

“the present is the key to the past”

the ever changing earth23
The Ever-Changing Earth

Time and change

Physical processes on Earth have not changed , but the physical conditions on Earth have changed dramatically.

why study geology
Why study geology?

Earth is our home planet

We depend on Earth for all our material resources

Limited resources require knowledgeable and thoughtful management

Earth’s physical and chemical processes affect us

We need to appreciate our own role in geologic change

critical thinking
Critical Thinking

In what ways do geologic processes affect your daily life?

Name some examples of artificial systems. Are they closed or open systems?

If you were an astronomer studying young suns, what kind of evidence would you look for in order to test the nebular hypothesis?