EAS 201: Intro
January 7, 2019
• Systems are defined as portions of the universe that can be isolated for the purposes of
observing & measuring its changes.
o Systems can be of 3 kinds:
▪ Isolated – neither energy nor matter are exchanged.
▪ Closed – energy is exchanged but not matter. (eg. Earth)
▪ Open – both energy and matter are exchanged.
• The Geological System
o Materials: Minerals & Rocks
o Components: Continents, Oceans, Mountain Ranges, & Mid-ocean Ranges
o Interactions: Volcanism, Metamorphism, & Weathering
• The Hydrological System
o Hydrosphere: Oceans (71% surface), Ice (Cryosphere, steadily shrinking, less ice =
less reflection of sun), Lakes, Rivers, Groundwater (Hydrogeology).
• The Atmosphere System
o Composition & Structure, Weather Systems, Violent Weather, Global Climate
• The Biological System
o Biosphere: Origin & History of Life, Biogeography, Fossils, Chemical Cycle & Life.
• The Anthropogenic System
o Anthroposphere: 6.9 billion humans and growing >80 mill/year, Intense use of
Earth Resources, Pervasive Environmental Impacts on all Planetary Systems.
o Closer to home: Alberta’s Oil and Gas Industry.
• Looking at interactions b/w Biosphere, Atmosphere, Geosphere, & Hydrosphere.
o Evaporation + Precipitation, Uptake + Transpiration, Hydrothermal Fluids
o Weathering + Nutrients, Volcanism, Aeolian Processes
o Photosynthesis + Respiration
January 9, 2019
• *Anatomy of the Earth slide*
• Earth Science is primarily an observational science.
o Nature performs – or performed – the experiments under consideration.
• Induction & Deduction: models of knowledge-building in natural science.
o Induction – specific premises raised to a valid generality.
▪ a>b → A>b
▪ This ice is cold → all ice is cold → VALID
▪ This rock is granite → all rocks are granite → INVALID
• Easily falsified by observing any rock that is non-granite.
o Deduction – general observations to specific ‘truths’ (laws).
▪ a>b → b>c → a>c