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GEOL 101: Plate Tectonics I

by: Natalee Stanton

GEOL 101: Plate Tectonics I 101-017

Marketplace > University of South Carolina > Geology > 101-017 > GEOL 101 Plate Tectonics I
Natalee Stanton

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Geology 101-017
Class Notes
Geology 101
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Natalee Stanton on Wednesday February 3, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to 101-017 at University of South Carolina taught by in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 24 views. For similar materials see Geology 101-017 in Geology at University of South Carolina.


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Date Created: 02/03/16
GEOl 101 – Lecture 2  Plate tectonics 1 Earth as a system of Interacting components  ­ Earth system – all parts of Earth and the interactions of parts : o Climate system­ changed over 100 years.   We know this because of the layers on the earth  o Plate tectonics system – surface o Geodynamic system – inner earth   ­ Earth is an open system  o Exchanges mass and energy with the rest of the cosmos.  Why? Earth is regularly receiving mass (open system) Climate system – energized by solar radiation  ­ Atmosphere – gaseous envelope around Earth extending to about 100km o Protects us from the sun  ­ Hydrosphere – oceans, lakes, rivers, and groundwater  o Hydrosphere and the atmosphere are related  ­ Cryosphere ­ polar ice caps, glaciers, surface ice and snow ­ Biosphere­ all organic matter related to life near Earth’s surface  Plate Tectonic system  ­ Lithosphere – rocky outer shell of the solid Earth (~100 km depth) o Plates that move on the Earth o Makes plate tectonic    o Also part of the climate system  ­ Asthenosphere – weak layer of mantle which accommodates plate movements  ­ Deep mantle – interior of Earth between core and asthenosphere that move  Geodynamo system ­ Outer core – liquid shell of molten iron; source of Earth’s magnetic field   ­ Inner core – primarily solid iron  o Magnetic field lines – they run north and south  o Changes in human time  Geologic Time  ­ Distinguishes Geology form other science ­ Rates of geologic processes  ­ Big earthquakes may displace the ground several meters in a few seconds  ­ Both relative and absolute time are important  ­ Rates of geologic processes are generally slower than human timescales  Ribbon of Geologic time  ­ 4560 Billion years ago – formation of solar system  ­ 4.3 billion year old rock ­ 3800 billion is when water was formed  ­ 2700 billion oxygen in the atmosphere  ­ 65 million years ago – last mass extinction (death of the dinosaurs and many other  species) o Mass extinction is common in Earth’s history  Plate tectonics:  Tectonics – from Greek ‘tekton’ meaning ‘Builder’ o Mt. Everest 29,035ft   An all­encompassing theory  ­ The unifying concept of the Earth Sciences  ­ 12 large “lithospheric plates, which move relative to each other  ­ Earthquakes, volcanoes, and mountains, occur at plate boundaries  ­ Interiors of plates are stable, by comparison  Creating oceans and continents  ­ Describes the movements of plates and forces acting between them  ­ First suggested based on evidence from geology and paleontology on land ­ Fully embraced after evidence from geophysics in oceans  Sample Test Question  The Earth’s core is made up primarily of _____. a. Iron  b. Lead  c. Oxygen  d. Silicon  In which of the following subsystems is the Earth’s magnetic field generated? a. Climate system  b. Hydrologic system c. Geodynamo system  d. Plate tectonic system  What powers the Earth’s external heat engine? a. Gravitational energy b. Radioactive decay c. Solar energy  d. Tidal forces  Which of the following concepts was developed earliest? a. Continental drift b. Plate tectonics c. Seafloor spreading  d. All three concepts were developed at about the same time 


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