GEOG 1001 9.23.16
GEOG 1001 9.23.16 Geog 1001
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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by Melanie Basinger on Monday September 26, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Geog 1001 at University of Cincinnati taught by Nicholas Dunning in Summer 2016. Since its upload, it has received 9 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Physical Geography in Geography at University of Cincinnati.
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Date Created: 09/26/16
Introduction to Physical Geography 9.23.16 Earth Structure and Tectonics Plate Tectonics is the current model explaining those land-forming processes powered by radioactive decay within the Earth (tectonic processes). Hollow Earth Theory o In the early 19th century, Capt. John Symmes (one of the founders of Cincinnati) proposed the “theory of concentric spheres and polar voids” (also known as the hollow earth theory) in an effort to explain the planet’s magnetic fields, changing sea levels, and the supposed disappearance of Atlantis, among other phenomena. This theory was later used by Jules Verne as the basis for his novel Journey to the Center of the Earth Thomas Burnet’s Sacred Theory of the Earth (1697) proposed that the earth was formed of multiple layer’s, one of which was a vast subterranean reservoir of water, which had once broken forth creating the great flood of Biblical fame and sculpting many of the earth’s features in a matter of days. This is an example of catastrophism o Catastrophism: theories which proposed that the Earth’s surface features were created in only a few thousand years by a series of catastrophic events (generally relating to divine intervention). QUIZ QUESTION #1: What did Thomas Burnet’s Sacred Theory of the Earth propose? Catastrophism Uniformitarianism: the principle that physical processes active in the environment today are operating at the same pace and intensity that has characterized them throughout geologic time; proposed in 1795 by Charles Lyell and James Hutton as a rejection of catastrophism. Uniformitarianism was developed as a means of explaining Earth’s complex and deep sedimentary stratigraphy Geologic time and the uniformitarian principle are punctuated by catastrophic events such as asteroid impacts – disruptions in otherwise slowly-evolving landscapes – or a punctuated equilibrium Continental Drift Theory o In 1912, Alfred Wegener proposed that the earth’s continent’s had formerly been united as a single landmass and had since broken apart. Wegener cited evidence of matching coastlines, rock formations, fossil deposits, and glacial deposits o Wegener’s theory was supported by growing evidence of crustal motion, but it was not widely accepted because it lacked explanation of a force sufficient to account for this motion QUIZ QUESTION #2: Wegener’s theory of continental drift was not widely th accepted until the early 20 century because It did not adequately explain how the continents had drifted apart Keys to the development of Plate Tectonic Theory o Mapping of the ocean floor (initially by sonar) o Coring of the rock structure of the ocean floor o Seismography: records of earthquakes (mapping plate boundaries and revealing the internal structure of the Earth) The mapping of the ocean floor beginning in the mid-20th Century revealed mid-ocean ridges, deep ocean trenches and other features that had previously been invisible to humankind The development of a global network of seismographs allowed for the precise mapping of earthquake epicenters – further revealing where the Earth’s crust is moving, being created, and being destroyed Seismography also allowed for the indirect “viewing” of the earth’s interior structure by tracking the movement of earthquake-generated waves. o Earthquake: the sharp release of tectonic energy that sends waves (including P and S waves) through the Earth’s crust and interior QUIZ QUESTION #3: The internal structure of Earth’s surface has been revealed principally By analyzing the way earthquake waves travel through the Earth Earth’s Outermost Layers o Lithosphere: Earth’s rigid crustal layer which includes the continents. The lithosphere is fractured into many plates of varying size. o Asthenosphere: the “plastic” layer beneath the lithosphere. The asthenosphere is capable of slow flow Isostatic adjustment: the uplift and subsidence of portions of the lithosphere as result of shifting weight and pressure (based on the principles of buoyancy and equilibrium) Convection system: a set of movements generated by inequalities in temperature and density o Heat created by radioactive decay generates convection currents in the fluid outer core, generating and maintaining Earth’s magnetic field. Radiant heat generates elongated convection cells in the Asthenosphere, driving the overriding lithospheric plates along like a conveyor belt
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