Theory of Catastrophism - earth s shapes created in great cataclysms

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1 Atmosphere Biosphere Hydrosphere Lithosphere Lithosphere is the branch of physical geography, shared with the fields of Geomorphology and Tectonics, that specifically examine the landforms, continents growth. Geomorphology - Study of Landforms Theory of Catastrophism - earth s shapes created in great cataclysms Theory of Uniformitarianism - forces are operating today in the same way as they have for millions of years Tectonic processes - processes that roughen the earth s surface gain their energy from the earth interior ( forces that elevate, disrupt, create inequalities in earth s surface) Gradational processes - leveling processes 1. weathering of earth s materials - fragmentation and chemical breakdown 2. mass wasting - movement downslope of the weathered materials due to pull of gravity 3. erosion - actual removal of material and their transportation by wind, water and ice 4. deposition - deposit material at lower elevation Structure of the Earth Wells South American Gold Mines approximately 2 miles deep Oil Wells approximately 6 miles deep Earth s radius = 4000 mile, thus we have limited information about the earth s interior Use earthquake waves and other shock waves ( recorded by seismograph) to study the earth s interior P waves primary waves arrive first (travel the fastest) S waves secondary waves travel more slowly L waves longitudinal waves travel along the earth s surface and cause damage associated with severe quakes Earth s Core, Mantle and Crust Core radius 2100 mile, composed primarily of iron and nickel Outer core 1500 miles thick, because it blocks passage of S waves assumed to be molten (liquid)

2 Inner core solid Mantle 1800 miles thick, constitutes about 80% of earth s total volume, appears to be a rigid, dense solid Lithosphere upper most layer of mantle together with the crust Asthenosphere thick layer of plastic mantle located immediately beneath the lithosphere Crust outer 1% of the earth s radius, less dense than core or mantle Thickness under oceans about 3 miles oceanic crust (basalt) Average thickness under continents is miles continental crust (granite) Rocks aggregate ( a whole made up of parts) of mineral particles each mineral remains separate with its own distinctive properties which determine the properties of the rock itself. Bedrock solid rock Regolith layer of decomposed rock above the bedrock Outcrop exposed bedrock Minerals naturally occurring inorganic substances that are well-defined combinations of atomic elements with unique chemical formula Most common mineral grouping are silicates, oxides and carbonates Most common elements in the Earth's crust: Oxygen (46.60%), Silicon (27.72%), Aluminum (8.13), Iron (5%), Calcium (3.63%), Sodium (2.83%), Potassium (2.70%), and Magnesium (2.09). >> total 98.7% Distinctive qualities of minerals: Color Luster hardness Hardness Fracture Specific gravity Hardness: Talc (1), Gypsum (2), Calcite (3), Fluorite (4), Apatite (5), Orthoclase (6), Quartz (7), Topaz (8), Corundum (9), and Diamond (10). Silicates (silicon) largest and most important group 92% of earth s crust created by cooling of molten magma

3 Oxides (oxygen) do not form masses of rock oxides that are formed by crystallization occur in veins more common oxides are a product of weathering Carbonates (carbon) are of both organic and inorganic origin carbon is an important building block in nature because of its ability to form complex compounds Classification of rocks based on their origin Three major rock types: Igneous rocks Sedimentary rocks Metamorphic rocks Igneous rocks formed when molten rock-forming materials cool and solidify (magma molten rock below earth s surface, lava molten material coming from volcanoes) Extrusive igneous rock (or volcanic rock) molten material that emerges at the earth s surface and solidifies Intrusive igneous rock rising magma does not break through to the surface but solidifies within the rocks below the earth s surface Many igneous rocks have joints (cracks) within the rock s structure because the rock shrinks in volume during its formation (cooling) Sedimentary rocks derived from accumulated sedimentary material that is transformed into rock (lithified) by compaction and or cementation. Display distinctive layering or stratification Sedimentary materials ( cobbles, pebbles, sand, silt and clay) are debris particles eroded from previously existing rock, transported, and deposited on land, a lake bottom or ocean floor. Clastic rocks rocks formed from rock debris Conglomerate cemented cobbles, pebbles or gravel, often with sand filling the spaces Sandstone cementation of fine grains of sand Siltstone - cementation of fine grains of silt Shale - cementation of fine grains of clay Organic sedimentaries formed from remains of organisms both plants and animals: 1) Coal compaction of decayed vegetation; 2) Shell and Coral limestones cemented and compacted skeletal remains Metamorphic rocks (metamorphic means changed) rocks that have been subjected to enormous heat and/or pressure major effect is either wholly or partially to fuse or melt the affected rock so that it can be deformed or flow slightly.

4 Plate Tectonics Continental Drift Paleomagnetism Sea Floor Spreading Convection is mechanism involved in sea floor spreading Tectonic plate movement plate divergence (plates traveling away from each other) - plate convergence ( plates coming together) Subduction one plate overrides another and the denser plate is forced deep below the surface Lateral Movement slide laterally past each other Plate boundaries A. Continental Plate against Continental Plate Mountain Building by compression for example the Himalayas or the Appalachians B. Oceanic Plate against Continental Plate Subduction zones mountain building by volcanic activity for example the Andes, Japan, or U.S. Cascade Range C. Oceanic Plate against Continental Plate Transform faults lateral or sideways plate movement without mountain building for example the San Andreas Fault of California. (A, B, and C are plate convergence) D. Ocean Plate (or Continental Plate) rifting apart and spreading two plates move away from each other for example the mid-atlantic ridge or East Africa this is plate divergence. How to build a continent? A. The continental core of ancient rocks (two to three billion +/- years old) B. The continental plateforms of marine sediments 200 to 600 million years old C. The continental margins (accretionary terrane) result from plate movement Paleogeography study of past geographic environments Landform Classification Classification based on 1) general nature of slopes ( inclination of land surfaces from the horizontal) and 2) local relief ( difference in elevation between highest and lowest points in a specified area) Four Major Surface Types

5 Mountains steep slopes and a great deal of local relief Hills steep slopes but less local relief than mountains Plains gentle slope and small local relief Plains with localized high relief Plains with hills and mountains gently sloping land at low elevation with relief features rising above the plains Tableland or Plateau high elevation plains with relief cut below them in the form of valleys or lower plain areas

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