Lesson 2 - Lesson 2 Book Notes(pg 20-38 Physical Processes...

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Lesson 2: Book Notes (pg 20-38) Physical Processes and World Regions Physical geography is made up of four sphere’s o Lithosphere - the outer “rind of rock Work in progress, always changing which provide both opportunities and threats to people o Hydrosphere - made up of all the worlds water features o Atmosphere - the layer of gases surrounding the earth o Biosphere (aka ecosphere)- the global ecological system including all the relationships played out among the lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere 2.1 Geologic Processes Plate tectonics is arguably the most important way the earth is shaped b/c of its role in shaping global landforms o Continental drift theory (a theory by geologist Alfred Wegener) was a theory by pointing at things such as the jigsaw puzzle, like geometry of Africa’s west coast and South Americas east coast. Alfred Wegener proposed that the continents were once joined in a supercontinent ( Pangea ) Deep sea research found his idea to be factual o Earth’s lithosphere varies between 50 and 125 miles of thickness and is made up of about a dozen giant and several smaller sections called plates o Plates move in various directions known as plate tectonics o New land is “born” as molten material rises from the earth’s mantle and cools into solid rock (Mid-Atlantic Ridge and the East Pacific Rise) on either side of the ridges the two young plates move away from one another carrying islands with them ( seafloor spreading ) seafloor spreading has little impact on people o tectonic forces are among the planet’s greatest natural hazards and are created when plates collide with one another most dangerous tectonic forces are related to seismic activity (seismic refers to earth vibrations, mainly earthquakes) which cause earthquakes and tsunamis and volcanism (movement of molten
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earth material, especially in volcanoes) and associated with plate movements volcanism - usually occurs near subduction zones and also in the world’s several dozen geologic hot spots where molten material has broken through the crust as a “plume” (as in Yellowstone National Park and Hawaii) o volcanoes aren’t just bad things like pyroclastic flows (fast-moving currents of rock fragments, hot gases and ash), lava flows, ash falls, and other dangers, they also provide beneficial qualities: (fertile soil and opportunities for growing crops and raising livestock) most active and deadly realm of tectonic activity is called “The Ring of Fire” on the rim of the Pacific Ocean when plates collide they can collide differently in different places, but the most notable of consequences of the collisions is the earth’s mountain ranges subduction - when one plate “dives” below another o the descending lithosphere is melted again as it dives into the Earth’s superheated mantle along a deep linear feature known as a trench o subduction process releases enormous amounts of energy which periodically with the great stress of one
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