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Geog 101

by: Hallie Notetaker
Hallie Notetaker
Minnesota State University, Mankato
GPA 3.66

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Making Earth's Basic Configuration
Introductory Physical Geography
Phillip Larson
Class Notes
25 ?




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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 38 views. For similar materials see Introductory Physical Geography in Geography at Minnesota State University - Mankato.


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Date Created: 09/16/16
Making Earth’s Basic Configuration The Interior of the Earth  Layers in order from inside out o Inner core (solid) 6370 km – 5150 km o Outer core (liquid) 5150 km – 2900 km o Mantle (solid, but plastic) Lower 2900 km – 670 km, Upper 670 km – 250 km o Crust (solid, rigid) ~70km – 0 km  The upper most mantle and crust  Lithosphere 250 km – 0 km  Directly below that  Asthenosphere 250 km – 70 km  Rest of mantle  Mesosphere  Composed of either oceanic or continental crust  Density is different  Oceanic = 3.0 g/cm^3  Continental = 2.7 g/cm^3 Inner Core  Transition between inner and outer core may be several hundreds of km’s wide  Radius of 1220 km o 70% of the Moon’s radius  Approximately 5430 degrees Celsius o Roughly equivalent to the temperature at the surface of the sun  Likely made of solid iron and nickel o Iron can be solid because the intense pressure results in higher melting temperatures  Solidus o Extremely dense 12.8-13.1 g/cm^3 Outer Core  Boundary between outer core and mantle varies several hundred km  Gutenberg Discontinuity – contact between outer core and mantle  Approximately 4030 degrees Celsius  Likely made of liquid iron and nickel o Low viscosity fluid – less pressure, still high temperature o Convects turbulently o Convective currents are believed to generate Earth’s magnetic field o As convection continues over time, it is thought that the basal boundary of the outer core freezes, thus the inner core grows at about one mm per year o Density of 10.7 g/cm^3 Lower Mantle  The lower and upper mantle make up 60% of Earth’s total volume o Contains about 50% of mass  Broad transition zone between 410 km and 660 km separates the upper and lower mantles  Temperatures range from 500 to 4000 degrees Celsius, with depth, throughout the entire mantle  Mantle is mostly solid, but can behave viscous-like (plastic)  Mantle is made of oxygen, magnesium, silica, iron, calcium, aluminum (in descending order of abundance) o Minerals include quartz, magnesium oxide, ferrus oxide, aluminum oxide, silicates, olivine, pyroxenes, garnet, high density minerals like perovskite, etc. o Rocks – peridotite, dunite, eclogite o Denser materials at greater depths Upper Mantle  Contains ~10% of mass  Includes lowest portion of the Lithosphere and all of the asthenosphere o Reaches further to the contact with the Lower Mantle o Between the asthenosphere and lower mantle is much more solid  Partially solid, partially molten o Less pressure allows for more melting  Boundary with crust is variable in depth o Continental crust is thick o Oceanic crust is thin  Moho, or Mohorovicic Discontinuity – contact between crust and mantle Asthenosphere and Lithosphere  Asthenosphere – behaves like a plastic, meaning highly viscous and ductile deformation o 250 km – 70 km in depth o Lithosphere/Asthenosphere boundary is typically at the 1300 degrees Celsius isotherm  Boundary between brittle and ductile behavior in these rocks o Slowly deforms and moves; capable of flow  Under oceanic plates Asthenosphere is much closer to the surface  Lithosphere – upper most mantle and crust o Behaves rigidly, brittle o Fractures, faults, breaks o What we live on Solidus  Mantle is not molten o Although temperature increases with depth, so does the pressure and thus the melting point increases Crust  Crustal thickness varies depending on the types of crust present o Oceanic crust – 6-10 km thick o Continental crust – 10-70 km thick  Continental crust o SiA, along with K, Ca, Na o Average composition – andesite, granite  Oceanic crust o SiMa, along with Fe o Average composition – basalt How do we know the interior structure?  Study seismic waves o When an earthquake occurs we can record the details of how the waves travel through the Earth’s interior  Based on how they move, we can theorize about what they are traveling through  Seismic wave velocity depends on the composition, mineral phase, structure, temperature and pressure of the material through which the waves pass o Seismic waves travel quicker through denser materials o Hotter areas slow down seismic waves o Liquid areas slow down seismic waves o Thus, molten areas slow down P-waves and stop S-waves  Partially molten areas may slow down P-waves and partially attenuate S- waves  P-waves – compressional, primary waves  S-waves – transverse, secondary waves  Moho – Mohorovicic Seismic Discontinuity (1909) – travel times change from 6 km/sec to 8 km/sec o This marks the crust-mantle boundary  Low velocity zone – at depths between 100 km and 250 km P-waves slow and S-waves are weakened or attenuated o This is thought to be the asthenosphere (or weak sphere) where it is partially molten (>1%)  670 Discontinuity – below the low velocity zone seismic velocities increase o This indicates wave propagation through more dense materials of the lower mantle  Gutenberg – P-waves are severely refracted (bent) and S-waves stop completely at 2900 km o This signifies the molten outer core  Lehman – sudden increase in P-wave velocity at depth of 5150 km o Denser inner core


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