23 terms

Earth & the Environment Chapter 1


Terms in this set (...)

Study of earth contents
ex- rocks, minerals, etc.
Environmental Geology
Branch of geology which deals with Human & Earth Environment
How it involves our daily lives:
-raw materials for material good
-water for drinking
-soil for growing out food
- ground on which we & other stand
-our homes and associated problems
-stable? landslides, land-subsidence
-disaster: floods, earthquakes, etc
Approach to environmental geology:
uses the science of geology to solve problems resulting from interaction b/w five systems
The 5 systems:
-Solid earth
Env. Geology uses many branches of traditional geology:
-Mineralogy & Economic geology
-Engineering geology
-Structural geology
-Geophysics & geochemistry
How we study env. geology:
from a collection of geologic data:
------ surface(rock outcrops)
------ subsurface(from boreholes)
Started in the US in 1950s because :
-problems were observed that needed answers
-ex: population growth rate increased rapidly & therefore increased demand for resources
-city planners forced to recognize geologists who could produce:
-multipurpose maps
Multipurpose Maps showed areas of:
-unstable ground
-prone to earthquakes
-high flood potential
-water of good/poor quality
-mineral resources
Causes of env. problems:
1. high rate of world population growth
------ goes with good living standard of life
Carrying capacity
idea that a given amount of resources can support a limited number of people/animals/plants
Population growth rate (PGR)

BR & DR are expressed in # of births or deaths per 1000 people per year

ex: Birth rate=20
death rate= 10
PGR= ? PRG= 10
Population doubling time (PDT)
-time for a population to double

PDT= 70/ Growth rate (%) in years
(Rule of 70)
Overpopulation scenario one:
("The sky is falling")
-The earth is at or close to its carrying capacity
- due to the fact that catastrophic events involved one species per 25 years in the Cretaceous Period
Arguments against "Sky is falling"
Prediction of population today can be more precisely done than in the past
Overpopulation scenario two:
("The gaia hypothesis")
-Gaia ( Greek goddess of the earth)
-Proposed by: James Love Lock and Lynn Margulis
------ Stated that the earth is a "SUPER ORGANISM" whose environment is controlled by plants and animals that inhabit it
-Earth is "Self-adjusting" and has a balance in its components
Solutions to environmental problems
-plan toward a sustainable environment
-ex: an environment that satisfies its needs without jeopardizing the need of future generation
-Regulate our food, fuel, air, water, resources for the interest of future generations
What to regulate?
1. Population growth (birth rate)
2. energy and global warming
3. the land
4. forests
5. other resources
Population growth (birth rate)
-US, western europe are approaching REPLACEMENT REPRODUCTION - rate at which babies are produced just to replace PARENTS
Energy and Global Warming
-a serious environmental problem from increase in CO2 in the air
------ caused by burning of gas, coal, oil
The land
-number of people supported by earth is limited by amount of useful land for agriculture
------ soil quality is deteriorating
------ need to control soil fertility by adding chemical and biochemical fertilizers
-deforestation is a big environmental problem caused by:
------ clearing soil for agriculture purposes-brazil
------ logging for wood, especially in tropic-thailand
------ demand for wood fuel, and forest products- india
Other resources
-our current society is a "THROW AWAY" society
------ must recycle some of our products
- most disposed waste constitute environmental problem
------ paper, plastic, glass, aluminum, steel