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Solid as Rock
Objectives: Describe a scientific theory about the formation of the Earth Label a diagram of the internal structure of the Earth List evidence for continental plate movement
Nebula: gas cloud in space in which solar systems are formed Thermonuclear: reactions in the sun releasing enormous amounts of energy Planetoids: small planets formed during formation of a solar system There are several forms of evidence for continental drift: Fossils of extinct animals have been found in islands, which are now too widely separated by oceans for the animals to have moved between them. The islands must have been joined into continents at the time the animals were alive Patterns of rock found in Africa match with the same patterns of rock in South America, showing that these were once joined Measurable movement is occurring between the continents. America and Europe are separating by several centimetres every year Fossilised shellfish found on high mountains show areas where colliding continents have been squeezed upwards. Earthquake and volcanic activity is found on plate boundaries, caused by the movement of the plates Sediment and magnetic field patterns show that new rock is squeezing onto the surface in mid-ocean ridges, causing spreading of the sea floor
Objectives: Explain what an earthquake is and why they occur Explain how the position of an earthquake is found Understand the Richter scale for measuring earthquakes Recognise why New Zealand has many earthquakes
Faults (or fault line): cracks in the earth’s crust, often a plate boundary Earthquake: shock waves from the sudden movements of tectonic plate boundaries The focus or centre of an earthquake is where the movement occurs. The point on the Earth’s surface directly about it is called the epicentre. Earthquakes generate two types of wave: Longitudinal waves which produce push-pull forces, called P waves (primary) Transverse waves which produce up-and-down and side-to-side movement, called S waves (secondary)
These P and S waves move at different and known speeds so the distance from the epicentre to a seismograph detecting them can be calculated. If three or more seismographs detect an earthquake, the position of its epicentre can be found. Two types of scale of measuring Earthquake: Richter Magnitude Scale: this scale is used to measure the strength (or the energy) carried by an earthquake. The scale is from 1 up to but not reaching 9 (9 is not believed to be possible). Each higher number carries 10 times the energy: a scale 6 earthquake is ten times stronger than a scale 5 one. A scale 2 will not be noticed while a scale of 5 will shake buildings. Mercalli Scale: this scale is used to measure earthquakes by the effects on people and buildings. It uses from 1 (just noticeable) through 5 (wakes sleeping people) to 12 (total destruction of any structures). Note: an earthquake in an unpopulated area may be high on the Richter scale but low on the Mercalli, as no damage is done.
Objectives: Explain what a volcano is Relate the rock type to the volcano formed Explain why New Zealand has many volcanoes Explain what the Pacific Ring of Fire is
Volcanoes: A volcano is an opening, or rupture, in a planet's surface or crust, which allows hot magma, ash and gases to escape from below the surface. Magma: molten rock under the Earth’s crust Lava: magma that comes above the Earth’s crust Volcanoes form where weaknesses in the Earth’s crust allow magma to push up to the surface. This happens at the edges of the continental plates. Volcanoes are so common around the edge of the Pacific Plate that it is called the Pacific Ring of Fire.
New Zealand, sitting on two moving plates, has a lot of volcanoes and volcanic activity like geysers, hot pools and fumaroles where gas and steam escape. Types of Volcanoes: - Shield volcanoes form basalt-containing magma. The lave is runny, and so the volcanic cone is low and gently sloping. Lyttelton and Akaroa are examples - Cone volcanoes form from andesitecontaining magma. The lava is sticky, and so eruptions are more explosive, with lots of ash. The cone formed has steep sides. Mt Taranaki and Mt Ruapehu are examples. Dome volcanoes form from rhyolite-containing magma. This forms the stickiest molten rock, and so is the most explosive. Domes build up slowly and explode suddenly. Mt Tarawera erupted in 1886, spouting rocks and flames. 156 people were killed by collapsing houses Calderas are holes left after violent eruptions. These are also formed form rhyolite magma. They involve a long build-up of pressure, followed by a very violent eruption. Lake Taupo is a caldera formed in AD 130
Objectives: Describe how mountains form Explain how weathering shapes the landscape Explain how erosion shapes the landscape
How mountains form: Mountains form on the edges of continental plates as they push into each other. The Southern Alpine Range is an example in New Zealand The Rockies in North America, the Andes in South America and the Great Dividing Range in Australia are world examples.
Weathering: the process of breaking down of rocks into smaller pieces (mechanical weathering) or into simple substances (chemical weathering) Mechanical weathering can occur in a range of different ways: Wind carries sand and scours at rocks, wearing them down Water washes rocks into valleys and rolls them along riverbeds wearing them round and breaking them up. V-shaped valleys are the result Water in cracks in rocks freezes and expands, splitting the rock Seawater wave action wears at the coastline Glaciers of ice scour out U-shaped valleys Plant roots grow in cracks in rocks, and as they get bigger split open the rocks Temperature changes make rocks expand and contract and cause them to split
Chemical weathering also has a range of causes: Air has oxygen in it and this slowly reacts with the chemicals in rocks, changing them to simpler substances Water slowly reacts with the surfaces of rocks Acids in rain (from carbon dioxide and other non-metal oxides) react with rocks, especially limestone, dissolving it
Erosion is the movement of weathered rock. This can be by the wind carrying away sand, or rivers washing away boulders, sand and clay. Glaciers push rocks along with them and dump them at their ends. Gravity works to gradually drag everything downwards so that most erosion results in stuff ending up in the sea. Eroded material builds up in estuaries and these can gradually expand over time. The Canterbury Plains are made of rock weathered and eroded off the Southern Alpine Ranges.
Objectives: Describe how fossils form Relate the fossils present to the age of rock
How fossils form: When an animal dies, the carcass may be buried by sediments (which are produced by erosion) rather than being eaten. This is more likely if it dies by a lake shore or in the ocean The soft part of the body rot away, and the bones remain. As more and more sediments pile on top, the lower levels may form sedimentary rock. The skeleton may be preserved, or turned to stone by minerals seeping in Movement of the Earth’s crust can raise the sedimentary rock. Erosion often rivers cutting through the rock, expose the now fossilised bones in their surrounding rock
A geological column is made up of the sequence of sedimentary rocks found in an area. Most geological columns will contain fossils only over a short period of time. By seeing how these overlap with ones from other areas, a complete picture of the changes in plants and animals over time can be formed. Since sediments collect on top of each other, the older sediments and their fossils will be at the bottom. Fossil plant remains like pollen can tell what the environment was like in the area where a fossilised animal lived. Tropical rainforest pollen with a fossil would suggest a different environment to desert plants or pine forest pollens.
Objectives: Explain how sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous rock form Label a rock cycle diagram
Three different types of rock: Igneous rocks Sedimentary rocks Metamorphic rocks
Igneous rocks (these are new rocks formed from molten magma): If the magma has come out of a volcano then it cools rapidly and often contains gas bubbles. These form because magma under high pressure has a large amount of gas dissolved in it. As the magma erupts (as lava and ash), the pressure goes down, the gas forms bubbles, and the rock froths up. These are called igneous volcanic rocks; examples are scoria and pumice If the magma cools deep underground, it solidifies slowly. This gives time for gas to be released and for minerals in the rock to form crystals. The slower the cooling, the larger the crystals. These are called igneous plutonic rocks – granite is an example
Sedimentary rocks: Sediments from the weathering of rocks can build up on the bottom of lakes and oceans. These can be recycled into sedimentary rocks by hardening under pressure and being bonded together by chemicals like calcium carbonate. Sedimentary rocks form in layers, may contain fossils and will often fizz as the calcium carbonate gluing them together reacts with acids. Examples are limestone, sandstone and chalk. Metamorphic rocks: Sedimentary rocks that have been heated under great pressure can become much harder, and the minerals in them recrystallise. These form when rocks get nearer to molten magma deep in the crust. They are very hard, and often show distorted layers of minerals. Examples are marble and slate. Rocks are constantly being weathered to sediments. Then they may be bonded together to form sedimentary rocks and heated and changed to metamorphic rocks or completely melted to form igneous rocks. This process is called the rock cycle. New rock, like igneous rock, can be aged or dated by the level of radioactive elements in it. These break down over time – so the longer the rock has been formed, the lower the level. Sedimentary and metamorphic rocks are not new but are made up of recycled older rocks, so cannot be dated in this way.
Objectives: Describe the normal weather pattern Describe the changes that cause an El Niño pattern List the consequences of an El Niño year
In a normal (La Niña) year, the cool trade winds from the South East push warmer surface water with them towards south-east Asia and northern Australia. The warm water is replaced by cooler water from the south. This sets up a current of cold, food-rich water flowing up the west coast of South America. It is this current that the fishing industry relies on. The cooler water cools the air above, and sets up a cycle of cooler and cooler winds blowing harder and pushing more warm water across the Pacific. In south-east Asia and northern Australia the warm winter with its hot humid air above brings thunderstorms and heavy rain – this is called the monsoon season. In an El Niño year, the warm water forms nearer the centre of the Pacific rather than the coast of South America. The trade winds blow the other way, westerly, and warm water moves towards rather than away from South America. The cycle lasts around 18 months. It causes high rainfall and flooding on the coast of South America, and droughts in northern Australia and south-east Asia. New Zealand does not have a monsoon season, but we are affected by the reversal of weather trends. El Niño years cause droughts and flooding due to unusual weather patterns. Unfortunately, long-term weather predicting is not possible and so we cannot tell in advance which years will be El Niño years.
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