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The Geosphere: Landforms


Images from Wikimedia unless stated otherwise

A note on e-lectures

Watch and learn at your own pace!

Best to watch this video on one window, whilst have
open web browser on GE1101E/GEK1001 IVLE electure workbin
Email/ tweet or DM me if you have questions on the topic


What is the Earth made of?

Plate Tectonics

How the theory was developed, and associated landforms

Processes associated with the Geosphere

The Lithosphere & The Rock Cycle

Faulting, folding, weathering & mass movements

Death and Destruction

Hazards in the Geosphere!

What is the Lithosphere/Geosphere?

Greek rocky
Part of (and impacts)
the Earth system

Several major layers

of note
lithosphere crust
and uppermost

Note densities of
each layer relative
densities matter!
Christopherson 2006; Ritter 2012

How do we explore the interior?

Analysis of Primary and
Secondary Waves from
seismic events

P = compressional
S = shear

P/S waves travel


Difference between
seismic event types; Christopherson 2006; Lawrence Livermore National Lab

How old is the Earth?

~4.6 billion years

Human ancestor1.8 mya; 11:59:58.8 pm

Absolute vs. geologic time scale

Theory of superposition

Relative time scale

Old below, young above

Ritter 2012

What is the Earth made of?

What do the Earth and Kueh

Lapis have in common?
Earths (layered) interior

Upper & lower mantle

What are their important


Why is the Core important?

Inner (solid) & outer (liquid?)


Inner solid iron & nickel

Outer molten iron

Core is the source of Earths

magnetic field

Geomagnetic reversal

Revisit this when we talk plate


Why is the Mantle important?

80% of Earths total volume

Upper (less fluid) & lower
(more fluid) mantle

Fluid transition in mantle/crust

Moho = Mohorovicic
discontinuity upper mantle

Sharp change in P and S waves

velocities here

Convection of molten
minerals (magma) occurs
here implications for plate

Why is the Crust important?

Earths skin we inhabit on it!

Oceanic (basaltic, more dense)
& continental (granitic, less
dense) crust
Crust floats on
What happens at the crust?

Numerous geosphere processes

at different scales

Denudation, weathering, erosion

Subduction, sea-floor spreading
Orogeny (mountain building)
Isostasy (rebounding)
Ritter 2012

What types of rocks are there?

Rocks! The rock cycle

Ritter 2012

What types of rocks are there?

Igneous rocks

Crystallized magma from cooling

Granite & basalt

Coarse/fine grained, light or dark


Igneous landforms

Intrusive crystallized

Landforms called plutons

More crystals

Extrusive crystallized above


Greater cooling = less crystals

NO crystals e.g. Obsidian
Don Peck, Collectors Corner

Examples of plutons?

What types of rocks are there?

Sedimentary Rocks

Process of sedimentation
(cementation, compaction &
hardening) of eroded
older rocks

E.g. Sandstone, shale, coal,


Clastic (i.e. particles) or

chemical (i.e. biological)

What types of rocks are there?

Metamorphic rocks

Physical or chemical
transformation of rocks
through pressure and/or
Gneiss, schist, slate, marble
More resistant to
weathering & erosion
Parent rocks (granite
gneiss) & foliation (minerals
align towards the same

Singapore geology?

Check out the detailed map in the E-lab!

Zhao et al., NTU 1995

Singapore geology?

More details in higher level GE courses! (e.g. Prof Nawaz & Kundu!)
Straits Times