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Exam 1 Terms and Concepts

Formation of solar system

1.contraction of solar nebula
2.rotation and flattening of nebula
3.formation of planetary rings
4.accretion of planetary rings

Terrestrial Planets

are composed of rocky and metallic material, they are small and hot

Jovian Planets

are made of gasses and are cold and large

Is the Earth a terrestrial planet or a Jovian planet?

Earth is a terrestrial planet

How old is the Earth?

4.6 billion years

Where does the heat in the Earth's interior come from?

gravitational energy, radioactive energy, and impact energy

How was heat used to differentiate the early earth into a series of nested layers?

the heat melts the solids to form liquids which are mobile, and more dense move towards bottom; this process is called density stratification

What are the two most common elements in the Earth's crust?

Oxygen & Silicon

What is a mineral?

naturally occurring,inorganic (non living things),solid,specific composition,crystalline structure ie:*snowflake*--ice in solid form

Relative dating

dating of one rock compared to another

Absolute dating

actual # of years using radioactive dating


ratio of parent to daughter; time required for 50% of parent to decay to produce a 1:1 ratio, parent to daughter

P = 100%

no ratio

P = 50% and D = 50%


P = 25% and D = 75%


P = 12.5% and D = 87.5%


What is meant by the Curie point?

Temperature in which rock becomes magnetized (mangelite)

Continental shelf

wide and shallow

Oceanic trench

narrow and deep

Divergent Boundaries

when 2 plates are moving away from one another & oceanic crust is created

Convergent Boundaries

when 2 plates are moving towards one another & oceanic crust is destroyed

Transform Boundaries

when 2 plates are sliding past one another & oceanic crust is neither created nor destroyed

Continental Drift

continents spread apart, fossil evidence, fit of continents, ancient climate, arrangement of internal structure

Seafloor Spreading

hot and cold in asthenosphere and lithosphere caused the convection in the crust to pull apart the continents

Plate Tectonics

how plates interact with one another, and how plates shift, causing land to spread and collide

Three different types of convergent plate boundaries

oceanic-oceanic, oceanic-continental, continental-continental


island arc--Japan,Indonesia,Aleutians


volcanic arc--Andes,Cascade Mts(above sea level)


collision related mountains--Himalayas,Alps,Appalachians


all continents as one

On what plate is San Diego located?

Pacific plate

What is the composition of both oceanic and continental crust?

Basaltic is oceanic and continental is made from an average of granite

Which is denser, oceanic or continental?

oceanic is denser

What is the jet stream?

Very rapid current moving west to east, dry cold air, travels between P and T air channels

Where in the U.S. are you more likely to experience thunderstorms?


Where in the U.S. are you more likely to experience hail storms?


How would you determine how far away you are from a thunderstorm?

1mile →5 secs in between sight and sound of thunder

How is oceanic crust created and where does this take place?

divergent plate boundaries, 2 plates moving away from each other

Where is oceanic crust destroyed; i.e., consumed back into the mantle?

2 plates moving toward each other in the Convergent plate boundaries

What differentiates a low-pressure system from a high-pressure system?

LoP system has cloud formation (equator area, ~60oN) and HiP system has clear skies (~30oN)

Which air-pressure system is more likely to rain? Why?

LoP (low air pressure) system; the intense solar radiation received in the equatorial belt causes the air to heat and rise; as it rises, it expands and cools, which is conducive to the formation of clouds by condensation

Which air-pressure system is more likely to have clear skies? Why?

HiP (high air pressure) system; the subtropical high, about 30 degrees North and South of the EQ the (already coo/dry), air begins to descend again; this causes the air to be compressed and warm, which is not conducive to cloud formation, BUT conducive to clear skies

Where does the energy for severe types of weather come from?

Solar radiation; the transfer of this heat energy produces wind in the form of moving air masses

How are tornadoes produced?

Supercells; during this storm, cold air and warm air combine, the cold air goes drops as the warm air rises, the warm air eventually twists into a spiral and forms a funnel cloud, then sky turns a very dark green color and the tornado begins its destruction

What is the difference between a hurricane and a cyclone or a typhoon?

Location, (i.e. Typhoon - West Pacific, Cyclone - Indian Ocean)

How does a hurricane differ from a tropical storm or a tropical depression?

wind speeds; tropical depression is gr than or eq to 23mph, tropical storm is gr. than eq. to 40mph but less than 73 mph, anything higher is a hurricane

In what directions do hurricanes rotate in the northern and southern hemispheres? Why?

Nothern Hemi: counter clockwise direction and Southern Hemi: clockwise direction, because they are controlled by the Coriolis effect (Coriolis controls motion -ANYTHING THAT MOVES OVER ROTATING EARTH IS INFLUENCED)

How does the eye and eye wall of a hurricane differ from the rest of the storm?

The average diameter of the hurricane itself is 600mi across, and the eye of the hurricane has an average diameter of 20mi across; while the eye of the storm is completely calm, clear skies, no wind, and the eye wall is the funnel of the storm; this is where the storm is the blackest because its carrying all the debris and moisture, causing heavy rainfall

What is the storm surge?

The storm fuels itself by LOP sucking up into the storm like a vacuum, this creates the storm surge; air is rushing underneath BOTH sides the storm and is being sucked up; the water underneath the storm has no where else to go so it rises up (avg 1.6 meters); as the storm meets land this storm surge is MUCH higher than high tide and combined with rain and high winds has devastating impact on the shore communities

Impact Energy

caused by Kinetic energy of objects as they collide with us, which the Earth stores as heat energy

Gravitational Energy

caused when an object condenses, which the Earth stores as heat energy

Radioactive Energy

caused by the decay of the radioactive elements (such as Uranium [U238] to Lead [PB206 ]which also produces heat that is stored by the Earth


made mostly of rock the outermost layer is the lightest or lowest density


made of dense rock the second layer is more dense then the crust but less dense the the outer core

Inner Core

made of solid Iron [Fe] the innermost layer is the more dense than any layer

Outer Core

made of liquid Iron [Fe] the third layer is more dense then the mantle but less dense then the inner core

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