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EAS100 Chapter Notes -Oceanic Crust, Amorphous Solid, Continental Crust


Department
Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
Course Code
EAS100
Professor
Solweig Balzer

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EARTH SCIENCES DEFINITIONS
Chapter 1:
Anthroposphere- the part of the natural system that has been modified by humans
for human purposes
Atmosphere- the mixture of gases, predominantly… nitrogen, oxygen, carbon
dioxide, and water vapor that surrounds the Earth
Biogeochemical Cycle- a natural cycle describing the movements and interactions
through the Earths spheres of the chemicals essential to life
Biosphere- The totality of the Earth’s organisms and, in addition, organic matter that
has not yet been completely decomposed
Box Model- a simple, convenient graphical representation of a system
Closed System- a system in which the boundary allows the exchange of energy, but
not matter, with the surroundings
Cryosphere- the part of the Earth’s surface that stays perennially frozen
Earth System Science- the science that studies the whole Earth as a system of many
interacting parts and focuses on the changes within and between these parts
Energy Cycle- The flow of energy from the external and internal sources of the
planet, which drive the cycles of the Earth system
Experimentation-the act of experimenting or testing a hypothesis
Feedback- a system response that occurs when the output of the system also serves
as an input and leads to changes in the state of the system
Flux- the amount of energy flowing through a given area in a given time
Geographic Information System- computer based software programs that allow
massive amounts of spatially referenced data points to be stored along with their
characteristics
Geosphere- the solid Earth
Global Change- the changes produced in the Earth system as a result of human
activities
Hydrologic Cycle- the movement of water between the various reservoirs of the
hydrosphere
Isolated System- a system in which the boundary prevents the system from
exchanging either mass or energy with its surroundings
Negative Feedback- the influence of a product on the process that produces it, such
that production decreases with the growth of the product
Open System- a system in which the boundary allows the exchange of both energy
and matter with the surroundings
Positive Feedback- the influence of a product on the process that produces it, such
that production increases the growth of the product
Remote Sensing- continuous or repetitive collection of information about a target
from a distance
Reservoir- a storage place; a place in the Earth system where material or energy
resides for some period of time
Residence Time- the average length of time a given material spends in a reservoir

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Rock Cycle- the cyclic movement of rock material, in the course of which rock is
created, destroyed, and altered through the operation of internal and external Earth
processes
Sequestration- materials that have such long residence times in a reservoir that they
are isolated from the rest of the Earth system for long periods of time
Sink- a reservoir in which the inward flux of matter exceeds the outward flux.
(Opposite of a source)
Source- a reservoir in which the outward flux of matter exceeds the inward flux.
Steady State- a state in which the flux od matter into a reservoir exactly balances the
flux of matter leaving the reservoir
System- any portion of the universe that can be isolated from the rest of the
universe for the purpose of observing and measuring changes
Tectonic Cycle- the processes by which Earth’s major geologic features are formed
Theory- a hypothesis that has been examined and found to withstand numerous
tests
Chapter 2:
Albedo- the reflectivity of the surface of a planet
Blackbody Radiator- a (hypothetical) perfect radiator of light that absorbs all light
that strikes it and reflects none
Celsius Temp. Scale- the temperature scale in which the zero reference point is the
freezing temperature of water at surface atmospheric pressure and the boiling point
of water is assigned a temperature of 100°C
Conduction- the means by which heat is transmitted through solids without
deforming the solid
Convection- the process by which hot, less dense materials rise upward, being
replaced by cold, dense, downward flowing material to create a convection current
Degradation- the transformation of energy into a form that is less useful, or less
available for work
Energy- the capacity to do work
Entropy- a measure of disorganization
Fission- controlled radioactive transformation
Fusion- the merging of the nuclei of lightweight chemical elements, particularly
hydrogen, to form heavier elements such as helium and carbon
Geothermal Gradient- the rate of increase of temperature downward in the Earth
Gradients- a measure of the vertical drop over a given horizontal distance
Gravity- the mutual physical attraction between any two masses, such as Earth and
the Moon
Greenhouse Effect- the property of the Earth’s atmosphere by which long
wavelength heat rays from the Earth’s surface are trapped or reflected back by the
atmosphere
Heat- the energy a body has due to the motion of its atoms
Kelvin Temp. Scale- the absolute temperature scale in which the foundation is the
point where entropy is zero

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Kinetic Energy- energy that is expressed in the movement of matter
Luminosity- the total amount of energy radiated outward each second by the Sun or
any other star
Potential Energy- the energy stored in a system
Power- the amount of work done per unit time
Radiation- transmission of hear energy through the passage of electromagnetic
waves
Radiatively Active Gas- gases in the lower part of the atmosphere that absorb
outgoing radiation, thus preventing the radiative loss of heat
Radiogenic Heat- heat energy produced by the spontaneous breakdown of
radioactive elements
Reflection- the bouncing of a wave off the surface between two media
Spectrum- z group of electromagnetic rays arranged in order of increasing or
decreasing wavelength
Star- a large spherical mass of ionized gas that radiated heat as a result of
thermonuclear reactions in its core
Stratospheric Ozone Layer- the region of the stratosphere within which ozone (O3)
absorbs radiation in the short wavelength region of the electromagnetic spectrum
Thermodynamics- the set of natural laws that govern the transfer of energy from
one body to another
Tide- the twice daily rise and fall of the ocean surface resulting from the
gravitational attraction of the moon and sun
Work- the addition or subtraction to the internal energy of a system
Chapter 3:
Aerosol- a tiny liquid droplet or tiny solid particle so small it remains suspended in
the air
Atom- the smallest individual particle that can retain all the properties of a given
chemical element
Biopolymer- polymers that consist of organic compounds and are of biologic origin
Bond- the electrical forces that draw two atoms together
Carbohydrate- organic compounds composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, of
which sugars, starches, and cellulose are examples. Major food for animals.
Chemical Elements- the fundamental substances into which matter can be separated
by ordinary chemical means
Chemical Sediment- sediment formed by precipitation of minerals from solutions in
water
Clastic Sediment- the loose fragmented debris produced by the mechanical
breakdown of older rocks
Colloid- a gel consisting of extremely fine particles dispersed in a continuous
medium, usually a liquid
Compound- the combination of one or more kinds on anion with on or more kinds of
cation in a specific ratio
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