Lecture 4 (2010 fall semester)

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Environmental Science
Cynthia Bongard

Lecture 4 Changing Geography and the Influence of Climate Continental drift: Main driving force of environmental change Earthquake activity defines the margins of plates Low density materials on top of the plates are continents Changes from the Paleozoic time can be reconstructed Plate Tectonics A mosaic of huge plates (10s of kms thick; 1000s of kms wide) Plates interact with neighbours, results in crustal stresses reflected by earthquake activity at margins Zones of spreading: represented by mid-ocean ridges; reflect tensional stress; expose lower density plates (continent) Zone of subduction: the denser plate goes down and forms ocean trench Orogeny: forces and events leading to severe structural deformation of Earths crust due to engagement of plate tectonics Simplified Earth Layers Crust => upper mantle => mantle => outer core => inner core Asthenosphere => conveyor belt: a highly viscous mechanically weak ductilely- deforming regions of upper mantle of Earth; lies below lithosphere Paleographic Reconstructions 1. Identify areas that acted as separate continents 2. Positions these paleocontients in their correct orientations 3. Compile data indicative of geographical and climatological features 4. Interpret the distributions of environmental conditions on each paleocontinent (gathering andsynthesizing data from different fields of study -> interdisciplinary) www.notesolution.com
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