How can we help?

You can also find more resources in our Help Center.

163 terms

Earth/Environmental Midterm Review

All the terms and subject we need to know for our Earth/Environmental Midterms coming up
Qualitative Property
a physical property like color, size, texture and smell. (observable)
Quantitative Property
a mathematical, measurable property. It will be a number
Scientific Law
a fact of nature that is true, always was true, and always will be true that explains natural events
Scientific Theory
a proven and accepted notion that is true based on what is know today
The stuff everything is made up of. It has mass and takes up space
Scientific Method
5 Steps:
1) Ask a question
2) Make a hypothesis
3) Conduct experiment/ collect data
4) Analyze data/ draw conclusions
5) Share results
an organized, mathematical presentation of data that helps you analyze your data
Information collected during experiments
the basic unit of all living things
a force; all objects on Earth are affected by gravitational force, pulling it towards the center of the Earth
Heliocentric Model of the Solar System
a sun based model of the solar system, currently accepted model with planets revolving around the sun
Geocentric Model of the Solar System
Earth centerd model of the Solar System disproven by Copernicus
Inner Planets (characteristics)
Mercury, Mars, Venus, and Earth - Rocky
Outer Planet (characteristics)
Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, and Uranus - Gaseous
most abundant element in the universe
rotating cloud of dust and gas where stars are born
large celestial body composed of gas, mostly hydrogen and helium, that emits light...stars are fueled by nuclear fusion
a body that revolves around a planet, it will have less mass than the planet itself
our star, provides light and heat to the Earth, allows for photosynthesis and is therefore the basis of almost all food chains on Earth
Maria (Mare)
a large dark area of basalt on the moon
small rocky body traveling through space that may enter Earth's atmosphere and burn up
Moon Crater
bowl shaped depression on the moon's surface, formed when objects from space hit the surface of the moon
Rilles (Moon)
long collapsed channels on the surface of the moon, thought to be leftover lava channels
layer of dust and rock on the surface of the moon
Phases of the Moon
Beginning with New, know the phases in order:
New Moon- looks like there's no moon
Waxing Crescent - little sliver illuminated on the right
First Quarter - half moon illuminated on right
Waxing Gibbous - over half the moon illuminated on right
Full Moon - circle illuminated
Waning Gibbous - over half the moon illuminated left
Third Quarter - half moon illuminated on left
Waning Crescent - little sliver illuminated on left
New Moon
Phases change every 2-3 days
building up phase of the moon, the moon waxes towards full
When the moon goes from full back to new, seemingly dissapearing
Causes of Tides on Earth
the pull of gravity from the moon and sun cause tides on Earth
when the moon is closest to the Earth, due to its elliptical orbit
when the moon is farthest from the Earth due to its elliptical orbit
the path an object follows around another object, such as a planet around the sun - orbits are elliptical as defined by Kepler
the shape of orbits, which is a slightly flattened circle
Latin for crown, the suns corona is only visible during a solar ellipse
Lunar Eclipse
the passing of the moon through the Earth's shadow
Solar Eclipse
the passing of the moon between the Earth and the sun, the shadow of the moon falls on the Earth
Hertzsprung-Russel Diagram
a graph that shows the brightness and temperature of a star
Types of Stars
Blue Stars are hottest, White, Yellow (Our sun is a medium yellow star), Orange, Red (color is because the star is mostly helium and is near the end of its life cycle)
a pattern formed by a group of stars. Orion is an example
Super Nova
the explosion and radiation emitted when a massive star dies
Four States of Matter
Plasma, Gas, Liquid, and Solid (Plasma is most common in the universe...water can exist as a solid, liquid, or gas in the Water Cycle)
Reason for the Seasons
Earth's tilt on its axis, toward or away from the sun, is why we have seasons - in winter we are turned away from the sun, In summer we are turned towards the sun
Earth's Tilt
Earth is tilted 23.5° on its axis
Earth's Orbit
It takes 365.25 days for Earth to orbit the Sun
Leap Year
Because it takes 365.25 days for the Earth to orbit the sun, every four years we add a day to the calendar, giving February 29 days
Earth's (or any planets) path around the sun
Earth rotates on its axis
Coriolis Effect
the curving path of a moving object due to Earth's Rotation - example: A hurricane is a spiral because of this
the point at which a planet is farthest from the sun
the point at which a planet is closest to the sun
Number of Standard Time Zones
the first day of Fall/Autumn or Spring
First day of winter or summer
molecule made up of 3 oxygen (O) atoms, absorbs harmful UV light from the sun, the ozone has been damaged by chemicals known as CFCs
Atmospheric Pressure
the weight of the Earth's atmosphere puching down on Earth
Oxygen Cycle
animals breathe in O and out CO₂. Plants breathe in the CO₂and out the O. We therefore depend on one another
Nitrogen Cycle
78% of our atmosphere is N. It is not in a usable form. Plants need N to carry on their life functins. The Nitrogen cycle changes nitrogen to a usable form
Sea Level
1 atmosphere (atm) is the measurement of this
Causes of Weather
colliding fronts in the atmosphere cause weather. These fronts can be cold/warm, high/low pressure or:
Stationary - nonmoving
Polar - from poles
Occluded - a cold front takes over a warm front
La Niña
a weather pattern caused by cooler than normal Pacific Ocean
El Niño
a weather pattern caused by warmer than normal Pacific Ocean
chlorofluorocarbons - major cause of hole in Ozone Layer
measures air pressure
Decomposition (of organisms)
when organisms die they breakdown and the components are returned to the food chain
when plants give off water as part of the water cycle
Trade Winds
blow East to West at 30° latitude in both hemispheres
a narrow band of strong winds in the troposphere, a major factor in weather
Convection Cells
motion of air or liquids in a circular pattern due to changes in temperature. They can cause thunderstorms and tornadoes
Tilt of Earth's Axis
Torrential Rain
very heavy, very fast falling rain
fast moving, vortex shaped weather event caused by colliding fronts (warm and cold), measured using the Fujita Scale
slow forming, massive spiral storm that forms over the Atlantic Ocean, has winds of at aleast 119 kph
Tropical Storm
similar to a hurricane, less organized, winds less than 119 kph
Tornado Alley
area of central US where warm moist air from the Gulf of Mexico meets cold, dry air from Canada. This Area experiences a higher than normal number of tornadoes
liquids or gases moving in a spiral around a center axis
Cold Front
cold air (remember cold air is dense and therefore sinks, it will wedge under warm air, potentially causing stormy weather), most of our cold fronts come down from Canada
Warm Front
warm air - (warm air rises above cold air, the two will mix until equilibrium is reached, the mixing can also cause severe weather)
High Pressure Weather Systems
generally associated with fair weather
Low Pressure Weather Systems
generally associated with rainy weather
Physical Properties of Matter/Physical changes
color, density, freezing to boiling points, state changes (solid to liquid for example), solubility (ability to dissolve)
Chemical Properties of Matter/Chemical changes
change in odor, endothermic and exothermic, light or sound given off...burning something and baking a cake are examples of this
Endothermic Reaction
energy is taken in (absorbed), so reaction feels cool
Exothermic Reaction
energy is released, so reaction feels warm
pure substances, can't be broken down any further, there are 112 of them
subatomic particle with a positive (+) charge
subatomic particle with a negative (-) charge
subatomic particle that is neutral and has no charge
Valence Electrons
electrons in the outermost electron shell, these determine reactivity
Bohr Model
Atomic model. (this isn't a great picture, but it was the best that I could find) Protons and Neutrons are inthe center in the nucleus. The nucleus is surrounded by electron shells. The outer shell contains the valence electrons. The number of electrons in total is the atomic number. It is the same number of protons in the nucleus.
Synthetic Elements
elements that are man-made: all elements over #92 are synthetic in addition to #43 Tc (technetium) and #61 Pm (promethium)
Naturally Occuring Elements
all numbers on the Periodic Table 1-92 except for #43 Tc (technetium) and #61 Pm (promethium)
shiny, conductive (good transporter of electricity), malleable (can be spread into sheets), have luster (reflective)
found on periodic table to the right of the metalloid staircase
make up staircase on th Periodic Table, has properies of both metals and nometals
natural, inorganic (nothing in it lives or used to live) solid with an orderly (crystal) structure
can be a collection of minerals, or contain organics (things that live or used to live)
Igneous Rock
formed by volcanic processes, Obsidian is an example
Sedimentary Rock
put down in horizontal layers, usually a product of eroded rocks that have been cemented together in the rock cycle
Metamorphic Rock
formed from heat and pressure in the rock cycle
Rock Cycle
process by which rocks change into another type of rock
when magma reaches the surface
melted rock under ground
the mineral form of salt
Chemical Weathering
water mixes with acids causing the erosion of rocks
Physical Weathering
wind, ice cleaving, and water can cause this
effects of wind, water ice on rocks, or soil
volcanic rock that looks like black glass (igneous)
Slate Belt
Union County is part of the slate belt, a major geologic feature in NC
Tectonic Plates
Earth's crust (the part we walk on) is divided/broken into plates. The motion of these plates can cause earthquakes.
Renewable energy
energy sources that are replaceable over time, such as trees. Solar and wind energy is also renewable
Geothermal Energy
energy that comes from the Earth, such as from volcanic activity
Solar Energy
energy from the sun
from living things, rocks may have organic components
Foliated rocks
sedimentary rocks that have striped patterns
Non-Foliated Rocks
sedimentary rocks without striped patterns
a type of sedimentary rock that contains large peices of other rocks cemented together
process by which some sedimentary rocks are "glued" together
a non-renewable resource that formed from ancient plants
remains of past organisms
Hydroelectric Energy
energy from moving water
Streak (In relation to identifying rocks)
the color of this is a way to identify a rock, it may vary highly from the rock color (you need a special type of plate for it)
a natural material that can be mined for profit
Properties of Metals
luster, malleability, conductivity, ductile
Acid Precipitation
rain or snow that combines with SO₂ (sulfur dioxide)
Sir Isaac Newton
first to define gravity, laws of motion - he gave us a deeper understanding of how forces work in the universe
made a geocentric model of the solar system in which orbits were perfect spheres
calculated the distance to the moon (born 140 AD), the value we still accept
first to propose a heliocentric model of the solar system
used experimentation to prove the heliocentric model of the solar system, tried and found guilty of heresy by the Catholic Church for publishing scientific materials that were against church doctrine. Considered to be the father of modern science.
mathematically defined orbits as elliptical
Force (measurement)
N (Newtons)
Mass (measurement)
G (Grams)
Length/Distance (measurement)
m (meters)
Time (measurement)
s (seconds)
Density (measurement)
Barometric Pressure (measurement)
atmospheres or millibars
Sea Level (measurement)
1 atm (atmosphere)
Equation for Protons
the same as the atomic number and the number of electrons
Equation for electrons
the same as the atomic number and the number of protons
Atomic Mass - Atomic Number
equation for neutrons
4.6 Billion Years
Age scientists believe the Earth is
Earth's shape
Oblate Spheriod
slow forming, massive spiral storm that forms over the Pacific Ocean, has winds of at aleast 119 kph
slow forming, massive spiral storm that forms over the Indian Ocean, has winds of at aleast 119 kph
First Quarter
Comes after Waxing Crescent and before Waxing Gibbous
Color of the hottest stars
Color of the coolest stars
What hydroelectric plants use
What geologists study
type of layers sedimantary rocks are put down in
During an eclipse, the darkest part of the shadow
During an eclipse, the lightest part of the shadow
Changes based on where you are (If you are on a massive planet like Jupiter, it will increase)
Is the same everywhere
Type of Organism Transpiration involves
Clean Water Act
Sets standards for what clean water is
medium yellow star on the main sequence of the HR diagram
a star that suddenly beomes brighter
Waning Gibbous
comes after full moon and before 3rd Quarter
Synthetic Elements
Man made elements
Example of a chemical change
baking cake
Metals (positon on Periodic Table)
left of the staircase
staircase, have properties of both metals and nonmetals
Nonmetals (position of periodic table)
right of staricase

Flickr Creative Commons Images

Some images used in this set are licensed under the Creative Commons through
Click to see the original works with their full license.