Earth Sciences (EAS) 100 Notes

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University of Alberta
Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
Solweig Balzer

Earth Sciences Notes: Hutton: “Principle of Uniformitarianism” - The present is the key to the past - AKA … todays processes give us insight into what occurred in the ancient times - BUT, big changes in processes show us that “uniformitarianism” is faulty o Evolution of atmosphere o Meteorite impacts “Principle of Actualism” - A more moderate version of Uniformitarianism - Ancient features of the Earth are to be interpreted in terms of physical and chemical processes that operate at the present day Law: - Well established theories for which no exceptions are known - Eg) Law of Conservation of Energy (Law of Thermodynamics) Resources obtained from Earth: - Water: o Consumption o Irrigation - Fuels: o Coal o Oil o Natural Gas - Materials: o Metals o Building materials Materials returned to the Earth: - Solid wastes o Garbage o Construction o Industrial Products - Liquid wastes o Sewage o Waste water - Gases into atmosphere o CO2 & industrial products Earth processes that affect humans directly: - Landslides - Earthquakes - Volcanoes - Violent weather - Climate change Human processes that affect Earth: - Farming - Forestry - Reservoirs and dams - Cities SYSTEMS CYCLES AND BUDGETS  System = - A portion of the universe that can be separated from the rest for the purpose of observing changes - Can be… o Open, isolated, or closed Isolated: - No matter or energy lost or gained - Imaginary concept Closed: - No matter lost or gained - Energy may be exchanged with surroundings - Earth approximated a closed system Open: - Matter and energy are exchanged with the surroundings - Eg) Ocean, island, forest, a leaf Systems within Earth: - Several major open systems o Atmosphere o Biosphere o Hydrosphere o Geosphere Cycles: - Cycles trace the flow of material or energy through system - 3 major cycles: 1. Energy Cycle 2. Hydrologic Cycle 3. Rock Cycle The Energy Cycle: - Input: o Solar radiation o Geothermal o Tidal energy - Output: o Reflected into space o Re-radiated * Energy from the sun comes as light, UV and other radiation (174000tW)* Where does all the solar energy go?  Reflected back into space  Converted to heat and re-radiated  Melts ice and evaporating water (energy is then stored in the hydrosphere)  Converted to winds, ocean currents, waves, etc.  Captured and used by living things Where does geothermal energy go?  Comes from the breakdown of radioactive elements  Gets used in volcanoes and hot springs on land  Volcanoes under the sea  Ground heat loss  Converted into movement of… o Flowing lava o Exploding geysers o Shifting land Where does tidal energy go?  Converted to heat as water moves over the solid Earth The Hydrologic Cycle: Hydrologic pathways: - Evaporation - Transpiration - Condensation - Precipitation Surface and subsurface flow: - Melting - Surface flow: o Glaciers o Streams o Rivers - Infiltration - Groundwater movement Hydrologic Reservoirs: - Oceans (90+%) - Ice sheets (~2%) - Groundwater (<1%) - Lakes, rivers, atmosphere (0.01%) * Residence time = size of reservoir / flow rate * The Rock Cycle: - Cycling of rock material at Earth surface - Rock types & processes Magma  - Molten rock is magma or lava Igneous  - Cooling - Solidification Weathering… Sediment  - Reduced pieces o Sediment - May be deposited o Deposition Erosion and Transportation: - Exposure allows: o Erosion  The wearing away of land or soil by the action of wind, water, or ice o Transportation Metamorphic Rocks: - New minerals - Change in texture - Fabric SOLAR SYSTEM: Arrangement of the Solar System: - Earth orbits the sun at an average distance of 150 million km (1 AU) - Other planets extend out to ~40 AU The Sun as a star: - ~700,000km radius - Mass = ~10^30 kg The Sun’s energy output: - 3.8 x 10^26 W - Only 1.8 x 10^17 W reaches Earth Source of solar energy: - Nuclear fusion of Hydrogen to make Helium Solar Energy = Electromagnetic Radiation - Electromagnetic radiation = o Radio waves, infra-red, visible light, UV, X-rays, gamma rays - Expressed in waves (wavelength is inversely related to frequency) o c = f Solar Spectrum: - Includes… o Radio waves o Infra-red o Visible light o UV light PLANETS AND OTHER BODIES: Planets   Most stars in the sky appear in fixed configurations  ‘Planet’ originally meant ‘wandering star’ Visible planets:  Mercury  Venus  Mars  Jupiter  Saturn Other planets:  Uranus  Neptune  Pluto (not a planet anymore) Terrestrial Planets (inner 4 planets) - rocky crust/dense rock mantle/metallic core  Mercury  Venus  Earth  Mars Jovian Planets (outer 4 planets) - Hydrogen rich atmosphere/liquid hydrogen interior/dense rock core  Jupiter  Saturn  Uranus  Neptune Difference: - Liquid molecular hydrogen o Normal hydrogen but in a liquid form - Liquid metallic hydrogen o Hydrogen actually forms a defined crystal lattice o Behaves like a metal under extreme pressures o Dubbed “super hot liquid metal” Dwarf Planets:  Five official dwarf planets o Pluto (3 moons, in Kuiper belt) o Ceres (in the asteroid belt) o Eris (one moon, past Pluto, larger in size) o Makemake (in the Kuiper belt) o Haumea (2 moons, Kuiper belt) Gr
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