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Environmental Science

What is Geology?  Geology: the study of the Earth  William smith: father of English geology  William logan: first to systemically describe the geology of Canada  Alfred Wegener: wrote about continental drift; the movement of continents on the earths surface o Pangea: todays continents had previously been clustered together in a large land mass but had subsequently moved apart o Northern pangea: laurasia o Southern pangea: gondwana  Tuzo Wilson: developed plate tectonics theory  Mid-oceanic ridge: a giant mountain range that lies under the ocean  The earth is estimated to be at least 4.55 billion years old  Exploration geologists: work for an exploration company looking for gold, silver and diamonds  Geoscientists: can specialize in a number of areas within the discipline like geochemists (work in laboratories), mineralogists (study minerals), petrologists (study rocks), seismologists (study earthquakes), palaeontologist (study fossilized remains) and geophysicists (study the nature of physical conditions on or under the earths surface)  Environmental geoscientists deal with environmental problems like managing drinking water and dealing with radioactive wastes  Engineering geologists are concerned with providing information about the substrates on which buildings, roads, bridges, and other infrastructure are to be built  Geomaticians create digital maps and 3D geological models for resource exploration and environmental and engineering applications; they collect, organize and analyze the geographic data in digital form What is the scientific method?  Identify a problem  Select a methodology: to collect data in order to help solve problems  Analyze and interpret the information: can use maps or computer graphics to come up with a solution  Hypothesis: a theoretical explanation (may use multiple hypothesis)  Testing: incorrect hypotheses can be discarded  Theory: a hypothesis that passes through repeated testing How did the earth form?  The universe was formed by the clumping together of gas and debris in the aftermath of the Big Bang that is thought to have occurred 15 billion years ago  Milky way: a galaxy in the universe that contains our own solar system and planet earth  Solar system: consists of 9 planets and space debris that orbit the sun  Nebula: created the solar system from a cloud of gas and dust particles o The cloud of gas and dust began to rotate and contract, creating a core surrounded by a flattened disc which collapsed to the point where nuclear fusion began o The sun was formed fewer than 5 billion years ago o The dust in the outer disc condense to form rocks and metals that combined to form large rounded planets and smaller irregular shaped planetismals  Accretion: the process of building large bodies of matter through collisions and gravitational attraction  Terrestrial planets: planets that formed close to the sun are small, dense and rocky (Mercury, Venus, Earth – most dense, and Mars)  Jovian planets: planets that formed farther from the sun are gigantic and have low densities (Jupiter, Saturn – least dense, Uranus, and Neptune) What was the Early Earth Like?  After Earth had formed, it collided with a planetismal which created the earths moon (from debris that was flung off into space)  Heat generated by the accretion of debris and gravitational compression of th
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