ERSC 1F90 Lecture Notes - William Edmond Logan, Herodotus, Historical Geology

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Published on 14 Nov 2011
School
Brock University
Department
Earth Sciences
Course
ERSC 1F90
Professor
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:
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-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.
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Document Summary

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"s four spheres are linked as a system through their interactions. 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. Best defined as all that surrounds us with which we interact . This can be pretty far-reaching (eg. mars rovers, voyager, etc). From the greek term geo (earth) and logos (discourse). The science that pursues an understanding of planet earth.

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