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EESA06H3 (563)
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Lecture 3

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Environmental Science
Nick Eyles

Lecture 3Chapter 1 to 4Supercontinent cycle Uniformmidterroismthe French use the term actualism The present day whats happening in terms of processes is a guide to what has gone on in the ancient past We look at how volcanoes work we look at different plate tectonic setting and we use that knowledge to study ancient rocks where the evidence is a lot less preserved and have been heated folded and we use clues in the modern day Uniformmidterroism doesnt always workBig Bang major meteorite strikes 65 million years ago and earlier eventsA mix of uniformmidterroism plus catasophism rare events big eventAnother catastophy we have not witnessed but we have a lot of evidencesupernova super volcanoesA name of a supervolcanoYellowstone New ZealandPlate tectonics and the fundamental theory of plate tectonic is all the activities goes around the plate marginsVertical tectonicswhere huge amount of magma come up from the mantle and erupt on the earths surface We call them large igneous provinces lipslarge igneous provinces and you cant explain these in terms of plate tectonic theory They are very important in Canada because they are common up north and have a lot of gold so they are important economicallyWhat else happens when we have a large eruption of magma What else is coming up in the magma and then its releasedAsh water vapourlots oxygen salt diamonds sulphur gases a lot of gases are toxicWhat is in the magmaVolcanoes are important in the creation of the worlds first oceansThere is a link between extinctions biological extinctions in earths history and these major eruptions what we call lipsSo uniformmidterroismits a fundamental concept that we use all the time but just bare in mind there are some qualifications because geologic process are operating in a time scale that we cant comprehendHow do we break a supercontinent up All the modern oceans forms is very narrow cracks that we call rifts Then those rifts widen into young oceans and then the modern day oceans are actually matured and wont be there much longer because they are going to start to closeLets go to East Africa which is where to understand how ancient oceans first openedAulacogensRussian word which means failed rift Russiawhere this word was first identifiedFigure 230Continental slab which is part of the supercontinent and its being warmed from below The supercontinent is trapping heat from the mantle The heat wants to escape but it cant because of this layer of cold continental crust on top So the supercontinent slowly rises Process called inflation and this is another reason why the interior of supercontinents are very dry
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