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Final Exam Study Guide 2: Earth Systems
Terms in this set (31)
List the 4 major Earth Systems.
Atmosphere, geosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere
What gas makes up most of the Earth's atmosphere?
What major interactions take place during the water cycle?
Evaporation, condensation, precipitation, transpiration, runoff.
What are some of the ways carbon cycles through the biosphere? What are greenhouse gases?
Carbon cycles through the biosphere in many places. Carbon in the atmosphere enters the biosphere when plants take it in through photosynthesis. Cellular respiration in organisms returns carbon from the biosphere to the atmosphere. When organisms decay, carbon leaves them and enters the atmosphere and geosphere. Greenhouse gases are gases in the atmosphere that absorb Earth's outgoing infrared radiation.
How can humans disturb the carbon and phosphorus cycles?
When people burn fossil fuels, carbon is released directly into the atmosphere, which is leading to global warming. Another human activity that disrupts the carbon cycle is deforestation because that leaves fewer trees to take in CO2 from the atmosphere. When humans clear forests, it leaves the soil bare, and the phosphorus washes away, making it difficult for plants to grow there in the future. Runoff from homes, factories, and farms can contain phosphorus, which is taken in by algae. When the algae die, decomposers break them down and use up oxygen in the water, harming fish and other aquatic animals.
What is the structure of the Geosphere?
It is in 5 layers. These layers are called the crust, upper mantle, lower mantle, outer core, inner core.
What part of the Earth's core produces the earth's magnetic field? Why?
The outer crust produces Earth's magnetic field because it is made of liquid iron, a ferromagnetic element.
What is the Continental drift hypothesis?
The hypothesis that the continents are in constant motion.
Who was Alfred Wegener and what was his theory? Why were scientists skeptical of his theory?
Alfred Wegener was a German scientist who theorized continental drift. He first proposed his theory when he noticed that the coastlines of Africa and South America fit together like a puzzle. Scientists were skeptical of his theory because he didn't have enough experience and credentials and couldn't prove how the continents moved.
Distinguish between Pangaea, Laurasia, and Gondwana.
Pangaea was the ancient supercontinent that was composed of all the current continents. When Pangaea broke apart, the northern sector composed of North America, Europe, and Asia became known as Laurasia. The southern sector composed of Antarctica, Africa, Australia, South America, and India became known as Gondwana.
What is the approximate age of the Earth? At what point did life first appear?
The Earth is about 4.54 billion years old, and life first appeared around 3.7 billion years ago.
Be able to identify and describe the actions of seafloor spreading.
As the seafloor spreads, the mantle beneath melts into magma. Magma is less dense than solid mantle material and rises through the cracks until it erupts out of the mid-ocean ridge and becomes lava, cooling into oceanic basalt. This is called pillow lava. This oceanic crust, which is the newest, moves away from the mid-ocean ridge over time as convection currents move the divergent plates away from each other. Eventually, the oldest crust will subduct beneath the continental crust and return to the asthenosphere, melting back into magma to repeat the process during convection.
How do magnetic reversals, temperature, and sediments provide evidence for seafloor spreading?
Each time the earth's polarity changes, the magnetic domains in the ferromagnetic minerals in the oceanic basalt change direction, which forms magnetic stripes along the seafloor. The magnetic stripes on both sides of the mid-ocean ridge are mirror images, which proves that crust formed at a specific time moved away from the ridge in opposite directions. Scientists can drill holes in the oceanic basalt and measure the amount of thermal energy leaving the Earth at different spots. Additionally, sediments on the seafloor can be dated, and scientists have measured that sediments closer to the mid-ocean ridge are younger than those on the abyssal plain. In addition, sediments become thicker as the distance from the ridge increases.
How does the age/temperature of the ocean floor change as you move away from the mid-ocean ridge?
As you move away from the mid-ocean ridge, the ocean floor will become older, and the temperature of the floor will decrease. The new floor moves away from the ridge, and the newest floor is closest to the ridge. As the molten rock cools, it moves away from the ridge.
What is the Plate Tectonics Theory? Describe how the plates move across the surface of the earth.
The Plate Tectonics Theory states that Earth's surface is made of rigid slabs of rock, or plates, the move with respect to each other. The plates move
Identify the 3 types of plate boundaries.
Convergent, divergent, transform
Describe how GPS, earthquakes, and volcanoes provide evidence for the Theory of Plate Tectonics.
Using GPS (Global Positioning System), scientists are able to see that the continents move, and measure how fast they move. When plates move, stress builds. A rapid release of energy can cause an earthquake, and mid-ocean ridges or continental rifts can cause a volcano. If you look at a map, most earthquakes and volcanoes occur along plate boundaries.
Describe how convection currents drive plate motion.
Forces such as basal drag, ridge push, and slab pull cause the mantle to pull and drag the above lithosphere with it like a conveyor belt. The lighter granite "floats" on the heavier basalt.
Describe what earthquakes are and what causes them. Where most earthquakes occur?
Earthquakes are vibrations in the ground. They are caused by the movement of the plates that make up the Earth's crust. Most earthquakes occur along tectonic plate boundaries.
Describe how faults form.
Faults form where the lithosphere undergoes much stress (usually at a plate boundary) and fractures, forming a break in the lithosphere.
What are the three types of seismic waves?
Primary, secondary, surface
How do you calculate an earthquake's arrival time and find its distance from the epicenter?
First, you must find the difference between the number of seconds the first P-wave arrival, and the first S-wave arrival. This time difference is called lag time. Next, you must make a graph that plots the lag time against the distance. See where the lag time and distance from epicenter meet.
How do you locate an earthquake's epicenter using triangulation?
First, find readings from 3 or more, seismographs. Then, find the lag time by subtracting the arrival time of the first P-wave from the first S-wave. Next, graph to determine how far away from the earthquake each seismograph was from the epicenter. Use a compass to mark all of the possible distances around and then see where all the points overlap.
What are nonrenewable resources? List several from the text.
Resources that are used faster than they can be replenished by nature. Examples include coal, oil, uranium, and natural gas.
What are renewable resources? List several from the text.
Resources that are used as fast as nature can replenish them. Examples include solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, hydroelectric.
What 3 main types of fossil fuels are mentioned in your text reading?
Coal, oil, natural gas.
What 3 factors determine the type of fossil fuel that forms?
Type of organic matter, temperature, and pressure, length of time organic matter was buried.
Where did the chemical energy that is stored in fossil fuels come from?
The chemical energy comes from the decomposed remains of plankton that are changed by heat and pressure into fossil fuels.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of fossil fuels?
Advantages include that they are cheap, efficient, easy to transport, and easy to convert into energy. Disadvantages include that they are terrible for the atmosphere, cause pollution, they disrupt habitats, and will eventually run out.
What are the advantages of renewable resources?
They are a cleaner alternative, and won't run out for the foreseeable future.
List a possible disadvantage to solar, wind, and geothermal energy resources.
They aren't always accessible and are intermittent energy sources.
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