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ERSC 1F90 (47)
Dale Hess (4)


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Brock University
Earth Sciences
Dale Hess

ERSC- Sept. 13th, 2011 An Introduction to Your Planet December 1968- first man vessel to escape earth and go around the dark side of the moon. Earth is a planet that is small and self-contained. Earth has four spheres: -Hydrosphere (water) -Atmosphere (space) -Biosphere (people) -Geosphere (ground, earth) Earth as a system: Earth’s four spheres are linked as a system through their interactions. Characterized by processes that: -Vary on spatial scales from fractions of a millimeter to thousands of kilometers. -Have time scales that range from milliseconds to billions of years. The earth system is powered by the Sun that drives external processes in the: atmosphere, hydrosphere, and earth’s surface. The Earth system is also powered by the Earth’s interior: heat remaining from Earth’s formation, and heat that is continuously generated by radioactive decay, power the internal processes that produce volcanoes, earthquakes and mountains. What is the Environment? -Best defined as “all that surrounds us with which we interact”. -This can be pretty far-reaching (eg. Mars rovers, Voyager, etc). What is Geology? -From the Greek term Geo (earth) and logos (discourse). Discussing the earth. -The science that pursues an understanding of planet Earth. -Geology is very multidisciplinary. It draws from physics, chemistry and biology - an Earth Systems Science approach. -But what is science? The nature of Scientific Ideas: -Science is a system of knowledge that is based on general “truths” or facts as they are known at the time. -Scientists use observations (to gather the facts) and deduction to offer explanations of natural phenomena. -Deductive reasoning: to draw conclusions regarding phenomena based on all that is known. -Earth Science (Geology): focuses on natural phenomena that are related to the Earth. Developing & Expressing such Explanations of Natural Phenomena -Speculation: simply opinion or guess. -Hypothesis: a logically derived explanation that is based on a body of knowledge; everything known about what is being explained. -It remains tentative (possibly wrong) until further evidence and rigorous testing proves it Ockham’s Razor: Given more than one hypothesis for a given phenomenon the simplest hypothesis is always preferred. -Theory: a very well verified and communicated explanation that explains all of the data. -Law: Theories become Laws (eg. The Law of Gravity) when they re shown to be absolutely correct for the conditions to which they apply. Science is a process of continuous refinement and testing of such generalizations. The Science of Geology: Geology is the science that pursues an understanding of planet Earth. -Physical geology - examines the materials composing Earth and seeks to understand the many processes that operate beneath and upon its surface -Historical geology - seeks an understanding of the origin of Earth and its development through time The Science of Geology: A Canadian Profile -Sir William Edmond Logan has been called Canada’s #1 scientist in history -He was the first director of the GSC and was active in the outdoor pursuits of geology -Helped with extracting minerals in Canada. Herodotos (500 BC): recognized that the Nile River deposited sediment during flood (i.e., the land surface was modified by natural processes). Aristotle (384-322 BC): recognized that fossils in rocks resembled many living organisms; concluded that fossils were once-living animals. Implies that rocks formed since there was life on Earth. Theophrastus (374-287 BC): wrote the first book on the minerals that make up rocks. A Brief History of Geology: St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274): explained all geological phenomena in terms of the biblical account. Landscape on Earth today was formed during creation
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