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Earth and Ocean Sciences
EOSC 114
Leah May Ver

A Fragile System OVERVIEWNatural cataclysmic events affect the Earth every day and are a normal part of the Earthoceanatmosphere system However thesesame events landslides earthquakes hurricanes tsunami etc can kill people or reduce the quality of life This dichotomy motivates thetitle for this Module Is the Earth a fragile systemTo address this question you start by reviewing the metrics used to describe our world You next look at the materials that make up theEarth ocean and atmosphere Natural processes can be disasters because of their tremendous energy release so you will review thetypes of energy Some disasters such as earthquakes and tsunami propagate as waves which you will study With this background youwill examine the relationship between population growth and the societal impact of natural disasters and make your own decisions aboutwhether the Earth is a fragile systemINSTRUCTIONS and QUIZStudy and make notes based on the following Course Notes and the textbook reading assignments The Learning Goals will allow you toassess your understanding of the key conceptsThis Module will be covered in the Fragile Systems FS Quiz Consult the FAQs for information on taking the Quizzes LEARNING GOALSThe goal of this Module is to prepare you for the Modules that follow namely to help you understand the basic concepts used todescribe different disasters and to help you put disasters into perspectiveUse the following learning goals as a selfassessment tool to help you gauge your understanding of the course material presented in thisModuleAfter you complete this Module you will be able toA Explain what density is and how it relates to stratificationB Explain why disaster scales are based on the OrderofMagnitude concept and interpret graphs with logarithmic scalesC Relate naturaldisaster risk and intensity to frequency return period and consequences costsD Explain how recent disasters were associated with the concentration or dilution of energyE Get the disaster info you need from reliable sourcesF List the 1st and 2nd most common elements in the Earth ocean and atmosphereG Describe how viscosity and compressibility relate to the phase of matterH Be able to diagnose the type of strain by the way a material deformsI Explain why gravity affects motion and energyJ List the 5 types of energy and describe what causes them to varyK Explain with examples how energy conservation applies to natural disasters1 of 42L Describe relationships between force pressure stress strain energy and powerM Describe population growth and explain why it is important for natural disastersN Explain how Earths carrying capacity and overpopulation are related to the fate of the human race and anticipate your role in it ORGANIZATIONA Fragile System contains five Lessons 15 that span the learning goals listed aboveLESSONTOPIC1Natural Disasters are Rare Events2Materials3Energy4Waves and Turbulence5Is the Earth a Fragile System READINGS A Fragile SystemRead all of Chapter 1 A Global and Canadian Outlook on Natural DisastersRead all of Chapter 2 Energy FlowsImportant Notesa Dont memorize any Tables but understand the main points that the Tables illustrateb Figures contain very important information too Read the captions and understand the ideas being illustrated Lesson 1 Natural Disasters are Rare EventsOUTLINERecall that the goal of this Module is to prepare you for the Modules that follow namely to help you understand the basic concepts usedto describe different disasters and to help you put disasters into perspective So lets jump right in and review some of the metrics usedto measure our world and how to quantify the intensity of disasters and their frequency of occurrenceA SI magnitude prefixesB Time measuresC Distance space measuresD Mass matter measuresE DensityF StratificationG Quantifying Rare EventsH Disaster ScalesI Intensity vs Frequency A Magnitude PrefixesThe International System of Units SI specifies the following prefixes to represent various multiples or magnitudes3k kilo thousand 1000 1 x 106M mega million 1000000 1 x 102 of 429G giga billion 1000000000 1 x 1012T tera trillion 1000000000000 1 x 10 2c centi hundredth 001 1 x 103m milli thousandth 0001 1 x 106 micro millionth 0000001 1 x 109n nano billionth 0000000001 1 x 10 FAMILIAR EXAMPLES INCLUDE1 kilometrea thousand metres1 gigabytea billion bytesTo learn more about prefixes and SI units see httpenwikipediaorgwikiSI B TimeThe SI standard for time is the second sOther nonSI time units but accepted for use with SI derived from this standard include1 minute min60 s1 hour h60 min1 day d24 hWe also frequently use other time units that are not standard ie can vary1 year yr36525 d approximately consider year and leap years Note often we use the word annum with its abbreviation ain place of year1 millennium1000 yr1000 aWe can use these time units and prefixes to describe some important events in the Earths evolutionAge of Earth457 billion years457 GaAge of oceans43 GaAge of present ocean basins200 million years200 Ma when supercontinent Pangaea brokeup into the presentdaycontinentsTime before present when life begins38 GaTime can also be used to quantify how many disasters involve a sudden release of large amounts of energy even though the energysupply is initially very slow Thus the energy must first be concentrated but this takes time In the examples in the table below the buildup time is greater than the release timeTable FS1 Time scale of build up and release of energy during natural disastersDISASTERBUILDUPRELEASEEarthquakesyearsminutesVolcanoesdecadesdaysHurricanesmonthsdaysThunderstormshoursminutes3 of 42
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