Earth s Interior: Structure, Composition, and Temperature

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1 Course Outline Introduction: Course Objectives, Outline, Geology Basics Earth s Interior: Composition and Plate Tectonic Impact Plate Tectonics and Continental Drift: Theory, Data, Mechanisms Tectonic Hazards: Types, Origins, Prediction Earthquakes Tsunami Volcanoes

2 How does Earth s Interior Influence Plate Tectonics? Heat transfer in Earth responsible for plate tectonics (mantle convection) Temperature profile Earth controls thickness of plates Earth s changing heat budget affected type of plate tectonics through time OUTLINE Earth Composition Chemical and Physical Layering of Earth Earth s Heat Flow and Impact on Plate Tectonics

3 EARTH COMPOSITION, EVOLUTION AND DIFFERENTIATION 1

4 EARTH COMPOSITION, EVOLUTION AND DIFFERENTIATION Oceans % by Mass N 78 O 21 Ar 1 Atmosphere % by Mass O 87 H 10 Cl 2 Na 1

5 CRUST = less dense silicate rocks (Si, O- based) = 2.8 g/cc CHEMICAL STRUCTURE OF EARTH MANTLE = dense silicate rocks = 3.3 g/cc CORE = Iron-Nickel Metal >10g/cc crust mantle core >10 g/cc

6 CHEMICAL EARTH: COMPARING CONTINENTAL AND OCEANIC CRUST, AND MANTLE OCEANIC CRUST: dark silicate rocks (basalt) (5-10km thick, 2.9g/cc) CHEMICAL EARTH Crust and Upper mantle CONTINENTAL CRUST: light granite (25-70 km thick, 2.7 g/cc) MANTLE : peridotite: dark rock of olivine and pyroxene, 3.3 g/cc

7 CHEMICAL EARTH: COMPARING CONTINENTAL AND OCEANIC CRUST, AND MANTLE OCEANIC CRUST: dark silicate rocks (basalt) (5-10km thick, 2.9g/cc) CHEMICAL EARTH Crust and Upper mantle CONTINENTAL CRUST: light granite (25-70 km thick, 2.7 g/cc) MANTLE : peridotite: dark rock of olivine and pyroxene, 3.3 g/cc

8 COMPARING CHEMICAL AND PHYSICAL EARTH OCEANIC CRUST: dark silicate rocks (basalt) (5-10km thick, 2.9g/cc) CHEMICAL EARTH Crust and Upper mantle PHYSICAL EARTH Lithosphere plate (crust+upper mantle) Asthenosphere (Upper mantle) CONTINENTAL CRUST: light granite (25-70 km thick, 2.7 g/cc) MANTLE : peridotite: dark rock of olivine and pyroxene, 3.3 g/cc Base of Plate

9 PHYSICAL EARTH LAYERS: LITHOSPHERE = rigid outer plate ASTHENOSPHERE = hot, weak rock near melting point in convection OUTER CORE = liquid Fe Ni INNER CORE = solid Fe Ni Earth s Interior: Structure, Composition, and Temperature PHYSICAL STRUCTURE OF EARTH Lithosphere is composed of rigid, brittle rocks floating on hot, weak asthenosphere Asthenosphere deforms plastically near melting point Driving forces plate tectonics: mantle convection, ridge push, slab pull

10 WHAT CONTROLS THE LITHOSPHERE/ ASTHENOSPHERE BOUNDARY? TEMPERATURE PLATE WEAK LAYER Lithosphere/asthenosphere boundary = 1300 C isotherm where olivine (primary mineral in mantle) flows (deforms viscously through plastic deformation) In contrast, Lithosphere deforms elastically through brittle failure (ruptures or breaks) lithospheric plates ride on weak asthenosphere; key to plate tectonics T controlled

11 EARTH TEMPERATURE AND PLATE TECTONICS; MELTING ZONES Geotherm Earth T profile Melting curve for Earth materials S S L L Earth ~ C at center Melting zones at base lithosphere and outer core liquid zones Upper mantle melting zone asthenosphere Outer core melting zone liquid iron responsible for Earth s magnetic field Inner core and most of the mantle solid S L

12 EARTH TEMPERATURE AND PLATE TECTONICS; WHAT IS SOURCE OF EARTH S HEAT? Earth s Internal Heat Sources Residual heat from planetary accretion (estimated 40%) heat of impact and compression due to meteorites heat released by differentiation; gravity settling of heavier metals heat released as liquid outer core crystallizes to solid metal inner core Heat from radioactive decay unstable isotopes (estimated 60%) Present-day major heat-producing isotopes[10] Isotope Heat release [W/kg isotope] Half-life [years] Mean mantle concentration [kg isotope/kg mantle] Heat release [W/kg mantle] 238 U U Th K heat generated by solid Earth tidal forces of Sun, moon, etc

13 EARTH TEMPERATURE AND PLATE TECTONICS; WHAT IS HISTORY OF EARTH S HEAT FLOW? Thin, multiple, lithospheric plates ride on mantle asthenosphere Single plate, thick as mantle, with magma conduits transfer heat vertically Heat of Accretion and short-lived isotopes leads to early molten Earth Earth s heat is replenished by radioactive decay at a rate of 3.0 x watts Radioactive isotopes deplete over time so the Earth will eventually cool off internally

14 EARTH TEMPERATURE; WHAT IS RELATION OF HEAT FLOW AND PLATE BOUNDARIES? Highest heat flow at divergent boundary in mid-ocean ridges caused by mantle upwelling Low heat flow in convergent plate boundary subduction zones (oceanic trenches) High heat flow in convergent boundary volcanic arcs EARTH S HEAT FLOW

15 OUTLINE Earth Composition Chemical and Physical Layering of Earth Earth Heat Flow and Impact on Plate Tectonics SUMMARY: How does Earth s Interior Influence Plate Tectonics? Heat transfer in Earth responsible for plate tectonics; convection Temperature profile Earth controls thickness of plates Source of Earth s heat and its evolution controlled expression of plate tectonics through time

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