Geog 101 Geog 101
Minnesota State University, Mankato
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Hallie Notetaker on Friday September 16, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Geog 101 at Minnesota State University - Mankato taught by Phillip Larson in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 31 views. For similar materials see Introductory Physical Geography in Geography at Minnesota State University - Mankato.
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Date Created: 09/16/16
Earth as a Unique System Idea of a System System – a complex association of interacting objects, processes, matter and energy o Operates as a whole; the sum of many interaction parts o Example – river Input of energy sources – rain, ground water, meltwater, etc. Input of material – sediment, debris Outputs – water, sediment and debris Subsystems – hydrology, soils, geology, climate, etc. Different Types of Systems Open systems – inputs of energy and matter flow into and out of the system o Natural systems are usually not isolated or “self-contained” o Example – Earth Solar energy is input into the system and heat energy is output into outer space Closed systems – systems that are isolated or cut off from the environment in which they work o Very uncommon in nature o Example – Earth Air, water and material resources do not leave the system and are not input into it from extraterrestrial sources Earth as Part of a Larger System Asystem that grows in complexity o The universe is essentially a closed system o The earth is a subsystem Solar system o All bodies revolve around the center of mass in the solar system, not the sun Near the sun The sun is pulled by the gravity of the planets and also rotates around the center of mass Earth Facts Mean radius 6371 km Average distance from sun 149.6 million km Closest to sun (perihelion) 147.1 million km around January 3 Farthest from sun (aphelion) 152.1 million km around July 4 Rotates on axis in ~24 hours Revolves around sun in 365.2564 days Diameter through equator 12756.26 km Diameter through poles 12713.5 km o Difference is due to centrifugal force of Earth’s rotation At equator, centrifugal force is about 3/1000 as much as Earth’s gravity Surface area 510 million sq km o About a quarter of which is land Mass 5.97 x 10^24 kg o About 1/3 is in the core o 2/3 in the mantle o 4/1000 in the crust o 2/10,000 in the oceans o 1/1,000,000 in the atmosphere o 1/100,000 in ice caps Major Subsystems Four spheres of the Earth System o Atmosphere – air o Hydrosphere – water o Geosphere (lithosphere) – solid earth (rocks, sand, sediment) o Biosphere – biota/life Atmosphere o Driven by unequal solar heating Unequal heating of land and water Unequal heating between day and night Unequal season heating Hydrosphere o Partly driven by winds, which drive ocean currents o Also the Earth’s principal heat storage system o Hydrologic cycle Evaporation of water from the hydrosphere, its transport by the atmosphere, its eventual condensation as rain or snow, and it eventual return to the oceans Geosphere o The Earth’s internal heat causes hot material to rise and cool material to sink in the Earth’s interior which causes plate tectonics to move Weathering o The hydrologic cycle modifies the surface of the earth o Water breaks rocks down chemically and mechanically Erosion o Water flowing on the surface carries loose material with it Plate tectonics o Drive geologic processes like mountain building, earthquakes and volcanism o Also contributes to heating and melting of rocks Crustal movements o Uplift or lower the crust o Along with weathering and erosion, creates the earth’s landscapes Rock cycle o The destruction of rocks by surface processes and their modification by subterranean heat and pressure results in a constant recycling of rocks o Igneous rocks, the result of melting, are eventually exposed on the surface by uplift and erosion They are broken down by weathering, and the debris transported and deposited to make sedimentary rocks Which in turn can be buried, changed by heat and pressure and become metamorphic rocks Can also be heated to the point of melting and return right to igneous rocks Extraterrestrial disturbances o Can disrupt earth systems o Large impacts create dramatic geologic effects near the impact, but also cause global climatic and environmental effects Sources of Energy and Matter Energy – solar radiation (or insolation) that keeps Earth warm enough o From the spin of the Earth o Occasional asteroids generate tremendous energy, like what contributed to the dinosaur extinction o From inside the Earth (plate tectonics) that produces elevation (relief), that gives energy to flowing water and ice which in turn produces more relief Matter – chemicals in all the subsystems o Matter from extraterrestrial impacts What makes Earth Unusual? Life – based on carbon o Over three million species Atmosphere – 79% nitrogen, 20% oxygen, 1% argon, variable amounts of water vapor, carbon dioxide Presence of large amounts of liquid water Active geologically o Erosion by water, ice and minor amounts by wind o Plate tectonics – metamorphism, deformation, granitic rocks o Few impact craters visible because of erosive processes Strong magnetic field for such a small planet Has an unusually large satellite in proportion to its size The Perfect Atmosphere Mass of Earth holds right composition Lethal radiation stopped Not too cold/hot Pressure is perfect Helps protect from smaller incoming space debris Magnetic Field Protects from: o Solar wind – nearly continuous outflow of charged electrons and protons o Coronal Mass Ejections (CME’s) – a release of massive amounts of plasma from the Sun’s corona Explodes outward as high velocity ions and electrons o Solar flares – sudden release of electromagnetic radiation Earth’s Spin Coriolis Effect – horizontal deflection of fluid that occurs when a body rotates Gaia Hypothesis – Earth is like an organism that is a self-regulating system that keeps itself in a constant state
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