GEOL106 (Winter 2014) Midterm Study Notes (26 pages with colourful diagrams)

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Queen's University
Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering
GEOL 106
John Hanes

1Earth System Engineering an introduction 1History st1969 humans 1 landed on the moon A new powerful idea is born because of the photograph of the earth Planet is a closed system with no renewable resources Number of US laws on environmental protection dramatically increased since 691972 only one earthview of earth changed Raised public concerns pop culture Scientific American and TIME President of US commissioned a study of the Earth System What do we need to know and do to live in concert with this fragile earth Report of this commission 19891993goal to understand past present and future of the whole earth system from lives to atmosphere outer core to inner coreuse this understanding to maintain the environmentObjectivesUnderstand processes and interactions of subsystems of the global earth system hydrosphere atmosphere etc on different scalesSustaining supplies of natural resourcesMitigate geological hazards and minimize themadjustment to effects of global environmental changeimproving the standard of living1Earth Systems Engineering The world as human artifact by Brad Allenby ESE is the next great challenge for the engineering profession Allenbys hypothesis humans have been engineering the earth since the start of the human race To test the hypothesis we need to study the past by 1 Study tree rings thickness depends on local climate Rainfalldrought forest fire scorches drill a hole and1 Earth System engineering ESEEarth System Management ESM They are both for the use and convenience of people2 pull out a plug 2 Ice cores from ice sheets same technique as studying trees pull out a core Annual snow layers trap dustsome transformed into ice Winter layer has darker color because of more dust Can examine earth processes up to 600000 years ago eg a study of Pb contamination from Greenladn Ice Sheet Pb in Greenland GlacierEven 2000 years ago Roman Empire humans have been using lead unwittingly managing the environmentearth system other examplesFire agriculture burn to grow corps generate CO2Rice paddies produces methane greenhouse gasScale of ESEESMHas increased over time We can see the change by simple observation qualitativeor measuring quantitative eg how much material do humans move compared to natural processes Metal Production Earth moved by humans 60 x 104 tonnesyearEarth moved by natural processes 16 x 104 tonnesyear We know by measuring sediment carried by river to the sea
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