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Canada (161,878)
EESA06H3 (234)
Nick Eyles (205)
Chapter 1

Chapter One

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Environmental Science
Nick Eyles

Chapter One Page 1 of 8 Chapter One: Introduction to Physical Geology and the Environment WHAT IS GEOLOGY? Geology geo and logos the study of the earth First known geological map created by Egyptians over 3000 years ago Geology: The scientific study of the Earth Industrial Revolution in northern Europe created a growing demand for energy and minerals (coal, limestone, iron and water) One of the earliest detailed geologic maps was published in England in 1815 by William Smith (Father of English Geology) th Mid 19 century geological mapping began in North America driven by the need to locate resources for an expanding population Sir William Logan 1842 founding director of the Geological Survey of Canada first to systematically describe the geology of Canada Geologists have gathered and interpreted many data from the continents and ocean floors and have built a fairly detailed picture of the Earths structures and processes; they have also gained understanding of the vast age of the planet th Late 17 century Earth was believed to be 6000 years old Now Earth is believed to be at least 4500 million years old Moving Continents Alfred Wegener suggest the movement of continents; wrote in 1912 about continental drift; recognized that todays continents had been clustered together previously in a large land mass that moved apart (Pangea: Greek for all the lands) Took many years of studying data from oceans and the margins of continents for geoscientists to demonstrate that continents move. This allowed for the development of the plate tectonics theory. Canadian geophysicist, J.Tuzo Wilson (1970s) brought together several key elements of the plate tectonics theory William Smith (1769 1839) From the village of Churchill in Oxfordshire Took notes on his observations during his travels through the country 1793 conducted surveys for the excavation of a canal in Bath; noted the regular succession of the rock layers 1799 outlined and coloured the distribution of geological features on a map of the local area around Bath Produced the first comprehensive geological map of England in 1815 Widely recognized as one of the founders of geology Sir William Logan Canadas premier scientist Chapter One Page 2 of 8 His geological maps of South Wales were revolutionary In that they introduced the cross section, a hypothetical vertical slice through the land Travelled on foot across Canada, generating full scientific descriptions of rocks, soil and minerals Created the first systematic layout of the geology of Canada Discovered several ore bodies Credited with the initial suggestion that coal is an organic deposit Canadas highest mountain (Mount Logan) in the Yukon is named after him Alfred Wegener (1880 1930) A German meteorologist who first suggested the theory of continental drift Proposed a supercontinent called Pangea Evidence of continental drift: geographic fit of South America and Africa, and similarities of rock types, structures, and fossils on now widely separated continents His ideas were discredited by most until the 1960s, when the identification of mid-ocean ridges and paleomagnetic data provided a mechanism for the movement of continents Time and Geology Some geological processes (great landslide or volcanic eruption) occur quickly when stored energy is suddenly released However, most geological processes are slow but relentless, reflecting the pace at which Earth`s processes work The rate of plate motion is relatively fast. If new magma erupts and solidifies along a mid-oceanic ridge (underwater mountain range), at the rate of 1cm per year, it will take 100 million years for the currently forming part of the crust to travel 1000 km. Earth is estimated to be at least 4.55 billion years old Fossils indicate that complex forms of animal life have existed for about 545 million years Reptiles became abundant about 230 million ears ago Dinosaurs evolved from reptiles and became extinct about 65 million years ago Humans have been here for the last 3 million years J. Tuzo Wilson (1908 1993) First Canadian to complete a degree in geophysics at UofT Remembered for contributions to the plate tectonics theory (particularly with transform faults and hot spots) Showed that the shield was composed of a mosaic of lerranes? Separated by long linear features interpreted as ancient fault lines Recognized large scale faults on modern ocean floors that offset the crust laterally but neither created nor destroyed material First to recognize the significance of young volcanic islands stuck in the middle of oceans Suggested that volcanic island chains, such as Hawaii, resulted from a moving plate drifting over a stationary magma plume in the mantleChapter One Page 3 of 8 He called these active volcanoes hot spots WHAT DO GEOSCIENTISTS DO? In the past, they spent most of their time looking for signs of minerals These prospectors are now called exploration geologists o They look for gold, silver, diamonds, etc o Move around in four wheel drive trucks/helicopters Geoscientists: Geochemists are comfortable working in the lab and use high tech equipment to analyze the chemistry of rocks or minerals. They consult with mineralogists who study minerals, or petrologists who study the makeup of rocks and how they form Other geoscientists employ high tech equipment using boats, planes, or satellites to learn more of the nature of the physical conditions on or under the Earths surface: these are called geophysicists. Similar techniques used by petroleum geophysicists in their search for oil and gas or by coal geologists. Seismologists study how to measure and mitigate earthquake activity. A paleontologist is a specialist who studies the fossilized remains of ancient organisms Much of Canadas landscape is made of landforms and sediments left behind from when ice sheets covered the northern part of North America. These landforms and sediments are studied by glacial geologists. Such sediments contain and transmit water, an incr
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