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Earth

Earth, Energy, and Environment

Fall 2012

Earth Earth, Energy, and Environment Fall 2012 1

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The Planet Earth

Third planet from the Sun Densest The fifth largest of eight planets of the Solar System

The Planet Earth • Third planet from the Sun • Densest • The fifth largest of
• Earth formed 4.54 billion years ago • Life appeared on its surface within one billion

Earth formed 4.54 billion years ago Life appeared on its surface within one billion years The planet is home to millions of species, including humans.

Earth Formation

The earliest dated solar system material was formed 4.567 billion years ago.

About 4.54 billion years ago the earth was formed from the solar nebula- a disk shaped mass of dust and gas left over from the formation of Sun

Molten cooled and formed the out layer of solid Earth as water begun accumulating in the atmosphere

The moon formed about 4.53 billion years ago

Earth Formation

Release of gases and volcanic activities produced initial atmosphere of the Earth.

A combination of greenhouse gases and higher solar activity raised the Earth’s temperature.

About 3.5 billion years ago Earth’s magnetic field was formed

Earth’s magnetic field prevented the atmosphere being stripped away from the solar winds

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Earth Formation

Earth is a terrestrial planet (rocky body)

The largest of four solar terrestrial planets in size and mass

Earth has the highest density, the highest surface gravity, the strongest magnetic field, the fastest rotation, and active plate tectonics.

Earth Formation • Earth is a terrestrial planet ( rocky body ) • The largest of

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Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars

Shape of the Earth

Oblate spheroid: a sphere flattened along the axis from pole to pole

Diameter at the equator is about 43 km larger than the pole-to-pole diameter

Average diameter is about 12,742 km Compare: Mount Everest (8848 m) and Mariana Trench (10911 m)

Shape of the Earth • Oblate spheroid: a sphere flattened along the axis from pole to

Chemical composition

Mass: 5.98 10 24 kg Composed of :

Iron: 32.1 %

Oxygen: 30.1%

Silicon: 15.1% Magnesium : 13.9%

Sulfur: 2.9%

Nickel: 1.8 % Calcium: 1.5%

Aluminum: 1.4%

The core region is composed of 89 % iron.

Chemical Composition

About 47% of the Earth’s crust is made of oxygen.

Composition Compound Formula Continental Oceanic silica SiO 2 Al 2 O 3 CaO 60.2% 48.6% alumina
Composition
Compound
Formula
Continental
Oceanic
silica
SiO 2
Al 2 O 3
CaO
60.2%
48.6%
alumina
15.2%
16.5%
lime
5.5%
12.3%
magnesia
MgO
3.1%
6.8%
iron(II) oxide
FeO
3.8%
6.2%
sodium oxide
Na 2 O
3.0%
2.6%
potassium oxide
K 2 O
2.8%
0.4%
iron(III) oxide
Fe
2.5%
2.3%
2
O 3
water
H
O
1.4%
1.1%
2
carbon dioxide
CO 2
1.2%
1.4%
titanium dioxide
TiO 2
0.7%
1.4%
phosphorus
P 2 O
0.2%
0.3%
5
pentoxide
Total
99.6%
99.9%

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Internal Structure

Depth

Component

Density

km

Layer

g/cm 3

060

Lithosphere

035

Crust

2.22.9

3560

Upper mantle

3.44.4

352890

Mantle

3.45.6

100700

Asthenosphere

28905100

Outer core

9.912.2

51006378

Inner core

12.813.1

Heat

Earth’s heat comes from two sources:

Residual heat from planetary accretion (20%) Radioactive decay (80%) The major heat-producing isotopes in the Earth are:

Potesium-40, Uranium-238,235, and Thorium-232

At the center of the Earth, temperature may be up to 7,000 K and the pressure could reach 360 GPa.

Tectonic Plates

Plate name

Area

  • 10 6 km 2

Pacific Plate

103.3

African Plate

78.0

North American Plate

75.9

Eurasian Plate

67.8

Antarctic Plate

60.9

Indo-Australian Plate

47.2

South American Plate

43.6

Tectonic Plates

Convergent boundaries Divergent boundaries Transform Boundaries

Earthquakes, volcanic activities, mountain building, and oceanic trench formation can occur along these boundaries.

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Surface

Earth’s surface consists of: Land and Ocean About 70.8 % of the surface is covered with water. The submerged surface has mountains, volcanoes, trenches. The other 29.2 % also has mountains, deserts, plains, plateaus, and other

geomorphologic features.

Surface • Earth’s surface consists of: Land and Ocean • About 70.8 % of the surface

Surface

The shape of the Earth’s surface changes due to tectonics and erosion.

The surface features builds up or deforms due to plate tectonics are subjected to weathering from precipitation and thermal and chemical cycles

The continental crust consists of igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks.

Pedosphere

The outermost layer of the Earth that is composed of soil and subjected to the soil formation process.

Pedosphere exists at the interface of lithosphere and hydrosphere, biosphere, and atmosphere.

s = f (cl, o, r, p, t,

...

)

S- Soil Cl- Climate O- Potential Biota

r- Relief/topography

p- parent material

t- time

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Hydrosphere

The abundance of water on the earth surface is a unique feature due to which Earth is also known as the ―Blue Planet‖. The hydrosphere includesoceans, lakes, ponds, rivers, inland seas, and underground water up to

2000 m depth.

Hydrosphere

About 97.5% water is saline, remaining 2.5 % is fresh water and most (68 %) of the fresh water is in solid form.

The average salinity of the sea water is about 35 gm/kg.

Most of the salt was released from volcanic activities or extracted from the cool, igneous rocks.

Sea water supports aquatic life, acts as a heat reservoir, and controls weather and climate.

Atmosphere

Atmosphere Source: MODIS • Earth’s atmosphere contains about 78 and 21% nitrogen and oxygen , respectively.

Source: MODIS

Earth’s atmosphere contains about 78 and 21% nitrogen and oxygen, respectively. Rest are trace gases including water vapor, Carbon dioxide, and other gases.

Atmosphere

The height of the

troposphere varies between 8 to 17 km with lowest height at poles while the highest at

the equator.

Some variations in troposphere's height occur due to changes in weather and seasons.

Biosphere

Future

Future 26