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Geo Final Review - Origin of the Solar System o...

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Origin of the Solar System o Photoevaporation – when light and particles from nearby stars hit individual particles in the nebula (cloud of gas and dust in space), accelerating them inward o Solar disk – center becomes a star; outer material becomes series of planet o Meteorites provide us info about the history of our solar system o Inner planets – small but dense, containing rock and metal but relatively little volatile (gaseous or liquid) material When sun condensed enough to start the fusion reaction that provides its energy, we think the early, violent solar wind drove volatiles away from inner planets o Asteroid belt – zone of dispersed rocky material without enough mass to create a planet o Outer planets – gas giants, consisting largely of light atoms/molecules o Three primary layers of Earth Core – 16% of volume, metallic Mantle – 83% of volume, dense, rocky Crust – less than 1%, wide variety of rock types o Differentiation – process by which the Earth’s layers were formed o Volatiles expelled from volcanoes most likely led to our current atmosphere/hydrosphere Minerals o Minerals are naturally-occurring, crystalline, inorganic solids with a well- defined composition o Unit cell = “building block” of minerals
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o A mineral forms because it is the most stable location for an atom o Atoms are disordered in a glass (non-crystalline solid) Glass forms when material solidifies too quickly o Polymorph – identical composition but different atomic structures o Most abundant minerals in Earth’s crust: O and Si o Silicate minerals (make up crust) SiO 4 tetrahedron = structural component Olivine SiO 4 isolated (no sharing of O) Ferromagnesian o Ions of iron (Fe 2+ ) and magnesium (Mg 2+ ) balance charge Very high melting point Principle mineral of the upper mantle Pyroxene Long chains
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