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Geology-101 Week One Notes

by: Ashley Burgiss

Geology-101 Week One Notes GEOL 101 001

Marketplace > University of South Carolina > Geology > GEOL 101 001 > Geology 101 Week One Notes
Ashley Burgiss
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About this Document

Includes information on the formation of the solar system, formation of Earth, Earth's basic layers and atmospheres, magma, and the inside of Earth
Introduction to the Earth
Dr. Scott M. White
Class Notes




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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Ashley Burgiss on Saturday October 1, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to GEOL 101 001 at University of South Carolina taught by Dr. Scott M. White in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 4 views. For similar materials see Introduction to the Earth in Geology at University of South Carolina.


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Date Created: 10/01/16
Formation of the Solar System 1. Solar systems form within a nebula (a vast, swirling cloud of gas and dust floating in  space, most of which is hydrogen and helium left over from the Big Bang) 2. Supernova is the death of a star 3. Volatile materials (melt or vaporize at relatively low temperatures): hydrogen, helium,  methane, ammonia, water, carbon dioxide a. Ices form when these freeze 4. Refractory materials (melt or vaporize at relatively high temperatures): iron,  aluminum, magnesium, potassium, calcium, silicon a. Rocky, metallic solids form when frozen 5. A portion of nebula that is denser will exert more gravitational force on its  surroundings 6. Accretionary disk: when gravity towards the center pulls materials in quicker and  creates a rotating disk 7. 4.5 billion years ago the Milky Way formed with the Proto­Sun (the mass that moved  to the center of the solar system and built into a large ball), surrounded by the proto­ planetary disk a. Mass of proto­sun grew to become great enough that it became denser and  hot, creating nuclear fusion reactions and giving off radiation and solar winds,  blowing volatiles outwards and creating levels of rings made up of planetesimals b. Planetesimals collided to build larger bodies ex: chondritic meteorite and  eventually created an object big enough to attract most of the matter in its orbit  (100­1000km in diameter = proto­planet) 8. The 3  proto­planet from the Sun became Earth 9. Inner planets are mostly refractory elements, outer planets are mostly volatile 10. Temperatures rose in the center of the Earth, and made it soft enough so the pull of  gravity could even out its dimples and form a sphere a. Iron melted inside Earth and sank towards the center, forming a metallic core  and convecting hot rock was left behind and made the mantle (differentiation) 11. Meteorites cleared its orbit of matter by attracting it to the surface, turning Earth into  a true planet 12. Earth cooled, crust because solid, and continuing meteorite impacts pulverized and  melted crust again a. One meteorite was large enough that, when impact occurred, it vaporized  most of the two existing bodies leaving debris that soon was left in an orbit  around Earth and created the moon 13. Early Atmosphere forms from volcanic gases: water and carbon dioxide, which later  became the ocean when the atmosphere cooled (oxygen was added to the atmosphere  much later when photosynthesis occurred) Life on Other Planets 1. Life on Earth is based on water and carbon 2. Water means life 3. Hydrogen is the most common element in the solar system, and oxygen is not far  behind 4. “The heat of the Sun may melt the ice, but in the vacuum of space there is little or  nothing on the surface of most solar system objects to keep the heated molecules  together, so they flash instantly away as water vapor. This process is called  sublimation.” 6. 5. Sea level atmospheric pressure on Earth: 14.7 lbs./square inch, moon = 0lbs/in^2 7. Much of the ice in the inner solar system came from comets 8. Impact gardening: heat penetrates topsoil, causing subsurface ice to sublimate and  migrate as water vapor to the surface, where it freezes at night only to sublimate again  during the day, churning up the asteroid topsoil, thus bringing ice closer to the surface Sea Turtles’ Migration Mystery Solved 1. “Loggerhead sea turtles appear to be able to determine their longitude using two sets of magnetic cues.” a. Whereas it’s possible for an animal species to do this using latitude, these  turtles are the first to do it using longitude 2. “‘There may be situations where satellite might not be available, when this system of  using two aspects of a magnetic field could be very useful.’” Why Is Geology Important to Me? Natural disasters Housing materials Oil, gas usage Water, the beach Structure of the Universe 1. Ancient people believed the Universe was geocentric a. Earth sat at the center of the Universe b. Moon, planets, and stars circled around the motionless Earth c. Ptolemy (100­170 C.E.) proposed equations to predict the movement of  planets 2. Heliocentric model came to in the 15  century with the Renaissance 3. Modern Era: Universe is made up of matter and energy a. Matter (mass, density, weight): subjects that take up space (stuff) b. Energy (heat, light, pull of gravity): the ability to do work c. E=mc^2 (Einstein) meaning energy equals matter 4. Gravity binds stars together to form galaxies, over 100 billion galaxies in the universe 5. Solar system is on one arm of the Milky Way (our sun is one of 300 billion stars on  the milky way) 6. Big Bang occurred 13.7 billion years ago, converted pure energy into matter (the first  matter of the Universe) 7. Our solar system has only been around 5­6 (5.4) billion years 8. Earth system a. Atmosphere: gaseous envelope b. Hydrosphere: blue, liquid water c. Biosphere: wealth of life d. Lithosphere: solid Earth 9. Sunlight powers atmos., bio., and hydro. Spheres 10. Atmosphere System: primarily N (78%) and O (21%) a. Thins away from earth 11. Earth’s surface a. 30% land, 70% water b. Topography, bathymetry (sea floor variations) define mid­ocean ridges,  abyssal plains, and dep ocean trenches 12. Earth’s Make­Up a. 90% of Earth Iron (32), Oxygen (30), Silicon (15), Magnesium (14), 88  elements (8.8) b. O and Si are main components of rocks around us c. Igneous: cooled from liquid (melt) d. Sedimentary: debris cemented from preexisting rock e. Metamorphic: rock altered by pressure and temperature f. Rocks may be made of a single material How Do We Know Earth Is Layered? 1. Explains source of lava, gem and mineral enrichment, spring waters, earthquakes 2. Early guesses include open caverns to the interior and flowing lava, air, water 3. Interior of Earth is rigid 4. Avg. Density of Earth >> average density of surface rocks 5. Deduced that metal must be concentrated in Earth’s center Closed system: operates within itself (Earth) Open system: pulls in resources from somewhere else to operate Nebula system: formation of the solar system


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