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GEO 111 Notes Ch 1


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CHAPTER 1 UNDERSTANDING EARTH: A DYNAMIC AND EVOLVING PLANET A system is a combination of related parts that interact in an organized fashion. Systems have inputs, that is information, materials, and energy that enter the system, and outputs, the information, materials, and energy that leave the system. The solid earth can be considered a subsystem of the larger earth system, which also includes the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere. Solid earth interacts with the other subsystems by the exchange of matter and energy, resulting in a dynamically changing earth. Geology is the study of Earth. Physical geology is concerned with the materials and processes which compose and operate on the surface of, and within, Earth. Historical geology is concerned with the origin and evolution of Earth's continents, oceans, atmosphere, and life. Geology is a part of many aspects of human experience, including the arts and literature. The range of environmental problems and issues of concern to society require a basic understanding of geology. Geologists are employed in diverse occupations. Principle occupations include mineral and energy resource exploration, but geologists are also involved with environmental studies and in making natural disaster hazard predictions. The Solar System formed from a cloud of interstellar matter about 4.6 billion years ago. This cloud, upon condensing, collapsed under the influence of gravity and flattened into a rotating disk. The Sun, planets, and moons formed within this disk.
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Chapter 1 - Understanding Earth: An Introduction to Physical Geology 2 Earth has a layered structure. The outermost layer is divided into continental crust and oceanic crust. The upper mantle lies below the crust. The crust and upper mantle comprise the lithosphere and overlie the asthenosphere, a layer which flows slowly. Below the asthenosphere is the solid lower mantle, and then the core. The outer core is liquid and the inner core is solid. The lithosphere consists of separate plates that diverge, converge, or slide sideways past one another. The scientific method involves observation about phenomena, the development of hypotheses to explain these phenomena, the testing of these hypotheses, and the formulation of theories from those hypotheses which successfully explain related phenomena. A scientific theory is a testable explanation for some natural phenomenon,
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