Geosci Unit 5 notes.docx - Unit 5 Main Topics in Unit 4...

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Unit 5 Main Topics in Unit 4 Weather, Weathering, and Landslides The Sun hits the equator just about straight-on, but gives the poles a glancing blow, so the equator gets more of the Sun's energy The Sun heats the Earth, which drives convection in the atmosphere This convection in the air, when combined with Earth's rotation, makes interesting winds including onshore breezes on US West Coast These winds rise up the Coast Ranges and the Sierra Nevada, watering the redwoods and sequoias These winds then sink down into Death Valley, drying it Why Redwood Wet, Death Valley Dry? Warmer air can hold more moisture Rising air expands, which cools the air; sinking air is compressed, which warms the air Evaporation requires heat (so you cool as your sweat evaporates, taking heat from you), and condensation releases heat Air cools about 5 o F for 1000-foot rise, if water vapor is not condensing to form clouds Air cools about 3 o F for 1000-foot rise with condensation (formation of clouds and then snow or rain) Air from the Pacific is "wet", carrying about as much vapor as it can Cooling reduces how much vapor can be carried in air, so this air rains as it cools while rising above the redwoods Dry air comes down the other side of the mountains into Death Valley The air cools 3 o F for 1000 foot rise going up, warms 5 o F for 1000 foot fall coming down, and must go up about 15,000 feet to get over mountains that reach above 14,000 feet, so the air comes down about 30 o F warmer than it went up This is a main reason Death Valley is hotter than Redwood; the lack of clouds over Death Valley also allows more warming from the Sun The energy that warms the air 30 o F going from Redwood to Death Valley was stored in the air when water vapor evaporated from the ocean, and released to warm the air when condensation made the rain for Redwood Rocks Are Not Forever "Weathering" includes the physical changes that make small rock pieces from big ones, and the chemical changes that make new minerals Physical weathering is caused by crystal growth in cracks (especially ice), and other processes Granite is a common rock composed of quartz (silicon+oxygen, sometimes called silica), feldspar (which is silica aluminum + (calcium or sodium or potassium), and a dark mineral (which is silica + iron + magnesium) Chemical weathering leaves the quartz as quartz sand with little change, changes the
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