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[Earth Sciences 1022A/B] - Midterm Exam Guide - Comprehensive Notes for the exam (33 pages long!)


Department
Earth Sciences
Course Code
EARTHSCI 1022A/B
Professor
Stephen R Hicock
Study Guide
Midterm

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Western
Earth Sciences 1022A/B
MIDTERM EXAM
STUDY GUIDE

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L1
Intro What’s Geology?
Geology “the study of earth”
- All affected directly or indirectly
Why? Geology is important for energy and natural resources solving environmental
problems, building cities and highways, predicting and protecting against natural
disasters like earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides and floods
Uniformitarianism the fundamental principle “The present is the key to the past”
- The processes we see going on the surface of our planet have always gone on
How old is the planet? Geologic time is measured in billions of years
Where and How?
- After the Big Bang (14 billion years ago), Earth may have formed by the nebular
theory
- Nebular Theory 5 billion years ago
- Nebula (cloud) of hydrogen and helium contracted under gravity into the flat disc
of our solar system
- Within the disc, Earth evolved through many collisions of rocky and metallic
fragments into a rocky sphere divided into a dense core, larger mantle, and lighter
crust
- The Nebula spins and pulls heavy particles in and light out
- Nebula circled around space and eventually Earth formed the heavier elements
(iron and nickel) formed the middle of the earth (core very hot), the lighter
elements formed the outer surface (crust) of the Earth, and the area in between is
the mantle
Plate Tectonics
Definition Curst and uppermost mantle formed rigid plates of lithosphere and
asthenosphere
- Lithosphere (“sphere of rock” – performs in a rigid fashion) that ride on the
Asthenosphere
- Asthenosphere (“soft sphere” – very hot) moves by convention (very gradual)
Alfred Wegner (1920’s)
- Working in Greenland believed there was evidence toward continental drift
- Continental Drift break up of the supercontinent
- Continental Drift is based on fit of the continents i.e. South America, Africa,
and other continents fit well together at 900 m depth which coincides with the
edge of their continental shelves
- Pangaea the sole continent (land) that was formed before the continental drift
- Evidence 1 fossils were matched across oceans. The same species was found in
Africa and South America, specifically this species could not swim across the
ocean so it supports the idea of continental drift
- Evidence 2 rocks and structures also match across ocean basins match when
continents separated by ocean basins
- Evidence 3 paleo climates evidence of ancient glaciations in warm areas of
today show the pattern of a single ice sheet if continents are refitted back
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L1
together; also ancient coal fields that formed in tropical swamps now occur in
areas of cold climate
Most geologic activity (i.e. earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides) happens at plate
boundaries, especially convergent boundaries where denser oceanic lithosphere
descends beneath lighter continental lithosphere; at depth it melts to produce magma
which rises to the surface and erupts as volcanoes which in turn are eventually eroded
and the sediment carried by streams to the ocean again
Earth System and Rock Cycle
- Earth is a dynamic planet (system) of interacting hydrosphere, atmosphere,
biosphere, and geosphere (solid earth); matter (molecules) is recycled with
changing conditions of depth (pressure), temperature, and rock type within the
Earths crust (e.g. Convergent Boundaries)
- Rock cycle and plate tectonics together produce many different types of rocks that
are made up of different minerals
- Material recycled in the rock cycle
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