15 terms

Earth System Science

Earth System Science is a way of learning about how the Earth works as a system of interacting parts.
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Atmosphere
Our atmosphere is a mixture of gases that surround the Earth. Two gases, nitrogen and oxygen, make up most of the atmosphere by volume. Includes 5 layers (troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, thermosphere, exosphere).
Bio-Geo-Chemical Cycles
a pathway by which a chemical element or molecule moves through both biotic (biosphere) and abiotic (lithosphere, atmosphere, and hydrosphere) compartments of Earth. A cycle is a series of change which comes back to the starting point and which can be repeated. Examples: carbon cycle, nitrogen cycle, water cycle
Biosphere
Subsystem of Earth that includes all living things: plants, animals, and their ecosystems
Carbon Cycle
The carbon cycle is the biogeochemical cycle by which carbon is exchanged among the biosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere of the Earth.
Tectonic Plates
The lithosphere (crust) is broken up into tectonic plates. On Earth, there are seven or eight major plates (depending on how they are defined) and many minor plates.
Core
Inner most layer of Earth. Made of solid iron and nickel.
Crust
Outer most layer of Earth. Made up of igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks as well as metal ores and minerals. Sometimes the upper part is referred to as the Lithosphere.
Earth System Science
A branch of science that attempts to explain the interconnected workings of Earth's main subsystems: Atmosphere, Hydrosphere, Geosphere, and Biosphere.
Geosphere
Part of the Earth system that includes all land, both continental and ocean floor. Also includes the rock cycle as well as the crust, mantle, and core.
Hydrosphere
All water on Earth. Also known as the water cycle.
Mantle
The layer of Earth directly under the crust. Part of the mantle flows like a very thick liquid which allows the plates of the crust to "float" and move.
Nitrogen Cycle
The nitrogen cycle is the biogeochemical cycle by which nitrogen is exchanged among the biosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere of the Earth.
Closed System
A system which does not receive new inputs. Matter is considered a closed system on Earth.
Open System
A system which allows inputs to enter and outputs to leave the system. Energy is considered an open system on Earth.
System
Any interacting set of parts or components that forms a whole. Systems can be very different as a whole than their parts.
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