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Chapter 1

Chapter 1

Environmental Science
Course Code
Nick Eyles

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LEC01 [Chapter 1]Planet Earth
January 14, 2011
Nick Eyels is a geologist
o Planet earth is 4.5 billion years old
oway we see oceans and lands have changed over those billions of
ocontinents are constantly moving (the environment changed
Where we wake up tomorrow we would have moved from
Through plate tectonics we move south west at a very slow pace;
around the thickness of a piece of paper every day
Rocks records environment & climate changes, erosion, extreme heat or
Glacial erratic
oWhite stone = marble, use to be called limestone, near the
Canadian Shield
Rocks are used to construct maps of yesteryear
Pangea = supercontinent 225mya when all the continents were
together, over time the continent dispersed and broke up
oPan means all together
oGea means land
oThe second supercontinent in the future when the continents
go back together
oThe supercontinent cycle, forming and breaking, is Earths
history, happens every 4 billion years
Stratigraphy - Science of putting rocks in chronological order in
relative age
Absolute age = the actual age, example: 19 years old
Historical Geology - mapping changes in the earth chronologically,
vector, direction of movement (SW), velocity (?)
Everything is moving towards South East China, and is said to be the
next supercontinent; the next Pangea
oAtlantic ocean closes up
Active plate margin plate movements, earthquakes
oIn Canada, the west coast, British Columbia has a high amount
of earthquakes
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oThe west tectonic plate has the most movement and collides with
the pacific plate
The Ring of Fire causes big earthquakes, tsunamis, etc…
oIt isnt that there is an increase in earthquakes and other
environmental disasters, but that we are exposed to them more
with deforestation; risk is increased as people are gathered more
in cities
Geophysical equipment
oEquipment that they lower into the water to see geological
Ex. derrick, a giant drill that can drill 7 Km below the
oceans floor. The Revolution
Iceland is the land of fire & ice
Flood lava, volcanic craters in Ethiopia
Earth History
oApplication of plate tectonics to the ancient past to
reconstructing past continents/oceans
oPaleoenvironmental reconstruction (eg. Climate) & paleobiology
oGeological evolution of Canada over 4 billion years
oEnvironmental issues and hazards & resource
Formation of planet Earth 4,500 million yrs before present
‘Continental drift & Pangea: 1912 (Alfred Wegener)
oWegner was the first to hypothesize this, and also hypothesized
that craters in the moon were caused by high impact meteorites
on the moon
Oceans are widening due to moving continents; also the cause of
Continental drift
Sea floor spreading: 1960 (Harold Hess)
oThe sea floor is widening due to volcanic activity
Magnetic stripes on the ocean floor & wander paths for continents:
1955 (Fred Vine)
Mid-ocean ridges & hot spots: 1965 (Tuzo Wilson)
oCame up with plate tectonics, differentiated between plate
tectonics & continental drift
Continental drift is that all the continents are moving
Plate tectonics are that there are bigger plates that are
separated from the earth & moving
Plate tectonics & Wilson Cycle: 1967 (Tuzo Wilson)
Plate tectonics say that they plates are on larger plates & the larger
plates are the ones that are moving
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