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November 15.docx

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Shohini Ghose

November 15, 2011 Comparing the Terrestrial Worlds: Earth’s Interior:  Core: highest density; nickel and iron  Mantle: moderate density; silicon, oxygen, etc.  Crust: Lowest density; granite, basalt, etc.  A planet’s outer layer of cool, rigid rock is called the lithosphere. It “floats” on the warmer, softer rock that lies beneath the surface Seismic Waves:  P waves push matter back and forth  S waves shake matter side to side  P waves go through Earth’s core but S waves don’t  Earth’s core must have a liquid outer layer Reasons for layers: Differentiation  Gravity pulls high density materials to center  Lower-density material rises to surface  Material ends up separated by density Heating of Interior:  Accretion and differentiation when planets were young  Radioactive decay is most important heat source today  Interior heat drives geological activity Cooling of Interior:  Convection- transports heat as hot material rises and cool material falls  Conduction- transfers heat from hot material to cold material  Radiation-sends energy into space Role of Size in Heating and Cooling:  Smaller worlds cool off faster and harder earlier  Mercury and the Moon are now geologically “dead” since their interiors have cooled down Sources of Magnetic Fields:  A world can have a magnetic field if charged particles are moving inside  3 requirements: o Molten interior o Convection o Moderately rapid rotation Processes that Shape Planetary Surfaces:  Impact cratering
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