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Text: Physical Geology


4th edition by Wicander and Monroe This class is about Physical geology What is Geology? From the Greek geo (Earth) logos (reason) Geology is the study of Earth ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Text: Physical Geology

Text Physical Geology
  • 4th edition
  • by Wicander and Monroe

Chapter 1
The Dynamic and Evolving Earth
This class is about Physical geologyWhat is
  • From the Greek
  • geo (Earth) logos (reason)
  • Geology is the study of Earth
  • Physical geology studies Earth materials,
  • such as minerals and rocks
  • as well as the processes operating within
  • and on Earths surface

The Role of the Geologist
To understand and define-The structure and
composition of the earth-All facets of magma,
lava, and volcanic activity-Minerals and rock
types-Surface processes rivers, streams,
glaciers, etc.-The earths past both structure
origin and lifes evolution with --
Paleontological investigations (studying fossil
remains)-Geologic features of other
planetsAlso-To use information learned to
find fossil fuels and ores-To learn how to
preserve the environment erosion control,
pollution control-Geologic information ties in
greatly with advances in technology
Physical Geology centered around the Chemical
and Physical aspects of the earth
  • Geochemistry the chemical makeup of magma,
    lava, minerals, rocks, etc.
  • Mineralogy the study of the chemical makeup and
    occurrence of minerals
  • Petrology the study of the formation of rocks
    (which are comprised of minerals)
  • Vulcanology - the study of volcanics
  • Seismology the study of seismic (earthquake)
  • Seismic Tomography the study of the interior of
    the earth indirectly by studying the behavior of
    seismic waves
  • Tectonics the study of the formation of the
    continental plates and the mechanics of their
  • Oceanography the study of the chemical and
    physical aspects of the earths oceans
  • Glaciology the study of the cause and
    occurrence of glacial episodes
  • Weathering Erosion the disintegration or
    physical and chemical breakdown and subsequent
    transportation of earth materials
  • Geomorphology the study of the creations of
  • Soil Sciences the study of the formation of the
    various soil types of the world
  • Economic Resources the study of the formation
    and usage of natural resources petroleum,
    natural gas, coal, stone materials, etc.

Scientific Method
  • The scientific method
  • an orderly and logical approach
  • Gather and analyze facts or data
  • A hypothesis is a tentative explanation
  • to explain observed phenomena
  • Scientists make predictions using hypotheses
  • based upon Observations
  • then they Test the predictions
  • After repeated tests,
  • if one hypothesis continues to explain the
  • scientists propose it as a theory (Conclusions)

Formulation of Theories
  • Theory
  • colloquial usage - speculation or conjecture
  • scientific usage
  • coherent explanation for one or several related
    natural phenomena
  • supported by a large body of objective evidence

Origin of the Universe
  • The Big Bang
  • occurred 15 billion years ago
  • and is a model for the beginning of the universe
  • Age of Earth 4.5 Billion years old

Solar System Configuration
Earth is a Dynamic and Evolving Planet
Earth is a System of Interconnected Subsystems
  • Atmosphere (air and gases)
  • Hydrosphere (water and oceans)
  • Biosphere (plants and animals)
  • Lithosphere (Earths rocky surface)
  • Interior (mantle and core)

Plate Tectonic Theory
  • Lithosphere is broken into individual pieces
    called plates
  • Plates move over the asthenosphere
  • as a result of underlying convection cells

Geologic Time Scale
  • Earth is a system
  • of interconnected subsystems
  • Geology is the study of Earth
  • Historical geology is the study
  • of the origin and evolution of Earth
  • Scientific method is
  • an orderly, logical approach
  • to explain phenomena,
  • using data,
  • formulating and testing hypotheses and theories
  • Universe began with
  • a big bang 15 billion years ago

  • Solar system formed 4.6 billion years ago
  • by condensation and gravitational collapse
  • of a rotating interstellar cloud
  • Earth formed 4.6 billion years ago
  • as a swirling eddy in the solar system nebula
  • Moon may have formed
  • when a planetesimal collided with Earth
  • 4.6 to 4.4 billion years ago
  • Earth probably started solid
  • then differentiated into layers
  • as it heated and melted

  • Earths layers mostly solidified
  • into the core, mantle and crust,
  • with the upper mantle and crust
  • making up the soft asthenosphere
  • and the solid lithosphere
  • Lithosphere is broken into plates
  • that diverge, converge and
  • slide sideways past each other
  • Plate tectonics is a unifying theory
  • that helps explain features and events
  • including volcanic eruptions,
  • earthquakes and mountain forming

  • Central thesis of organic evolution is
  • that all living organisms evolved
  • from organisms that existed in the past
  • An appreciation
  • of the immensity of geologic time
  • is central to understanding Earths evolution
  • Uniformitarianism holds that the laws
  • of nature have been constant through time
  • Geology is part of our lives
  • and our standard of living depends
  • on our use of natural resources
  • that formed over billions of years

Interactions in Earths Subsystems
Gases from respiration Transport of seeds and
Atmosphere Biosphere
Interactions in Earths Subsystems
Wind erosion, transport of water vapor for
precipitation Mountainsdivert air movements
Atmosphere Lithosphere
Interactions in Earths Subsystems
Source of sediment and dissolved material Water
and glacial erosion, solution of minerals
Hydrosphere Lithosphere
Historical Geology (next semester)
  • In historical geology we study
  • changes in our dynamic planet
  • how and why past events happened
  • implication for todays global ecosystems
  • Principles of historical geology
  • not only aid in interpreting Earths history
  • but also have practical applications
  • William Smith, an English surveyor/engineer
  • used study of rock sequences
  • to help predict the difficulty of excavation
  • in constructing canals

Evidence for the Big Bang
  • Universe is expanding
  • How do we determine the age?
  • measure the rate of expansion
  • backtrack to a time when the galaxies
  • were all together at a single point
  • Pervasive background radiation of 2.7º above
    absolute zero
  • is the afterglow of the Big Bang

Big Bang Model
  • Initial state
  • No time, matter or space existed
  • There is no before the Big Bang
  • Universe consisted of pure energy
  • During 1st second
  • Very dense matter came into existence
  • The four basic forces separated
  • gravity, electromagnetic force, 2 nuclear forces
  • Enormous expansion occurred

Big Bang Model (cont.)
  • 300,000 years later
  • atoms of hydrogen and helium formed
  • light (photons) burst forth for the first time
  • During the next 200 million years
  • Continued expansion and cooling
  • Stars and galaxies began to form
  • Elements heavier than hydrogen and helium
  • began to form within stars by nuclear fusion

Features of Our Solar System
  • In a spiral arm of the Milky Way Galaxy
  • Sun
  • 9 planets
  • 101 known moons (satellites)
  • a tremendous number of asteroids
  • most orbit the Sun between the orbits of Mars and
  • millions of comets and meteorites
  • interplanetary dust and gases

Relative Sizes of the Sun and Planets
Origin of Our Solar System
  • Solar nebula theory
  • cloud of gases and dust
  • formed a rotating disk
  • condensed and collapsed due to gravity
  • forming solar nebula
  • with an embryonic Sun
  • surrounded by a rotating cloud

Embryonic Sun and Rotating Cloud
  • Planetesimals have formed
  • in the inner solar system,
  • and large eddies of gas and dust
  • remain far from the protosun

The Planets
  • Terrestrial Planets
  • Mercury
  • Venus
  • Earth
  • Mars
  • small, composed of rock, with metal cores
  • Jovian Planets
  • Jupiter
  • Saturn
  • Uranus
  • Neptune
  • large, composed of hydrogen, helium, ammonia,
    methane, relatively small rocky cores

Earths Very Early History
  • Started out cool about 4.6 billion years ago
  • probably with uniform composition/density
  • Mostly
  • silicate compounds
  • iron and magnesium oxides
  • Temperature increased. Heat sources
  • meteorite impacts
  • gravitational compression
  • radioactive decay
  • Heated up enough to melt iron and nickel

Earths Differentiation
  • Differentiation segregated into layers of
    differing composition and density
  • Early Earth was probably uniform
  • Molten iron and nickel sank to form the core
  • Lighter silicates flowed up to form mantle and

Forming the Earth-Moon System
  • Impact by Mars-sized or larger planetesimal with
    young Earth
  • 4.6 to 4.4 billion years ago
  • ejected large quantity of hot material,
  • and formed the Moon

Forming the Earth-Moon System
  • Most of the lunar material
  • came from the mantle of the colliding
  • The material cooled
  • and crystallized
  • into lunar layers

Forming the Earth-Moon System
  • Most of the lunar material
  • came from the mantle of the colliding
  • The material cooled
  • and crystallized
  • into lunar layers

  • Light-colored areas are lunar highlands
  • Heavily cratered
  • Provide striking evidence
  • of massive meteorite bombardment

EarthDynamic Planet
  • Earth was also subjected
  • to the same meteorite barrage
  • that pock-marked the Moon
  • Why isnt Earths surface also densely cratered?
  • Because Earth is a dynamic and evolving planet
  • Craters have long since been worn away

Earths Interior Layers
  • Crust - 5-90 km thick
  • continental and oceanic
  • Mantle
  • composed largely of peridotite
  • dark, dense igneous rock
  • rich in iron and magnesium
  • Core
  • iron and a small amount of nickel

Earths Interior Layers
  • Lithosphere
  • solid upper mantle and crust
  • Crust - 5-90 km thick
  • continental and oceanic
  • Mantle
  • composed largely of peridotite
  • dark, dense igneous rock
  • rich in iron and magnesium
  • Asthenosphere
  • part of upper mantle
  • behaves plastically and slowly flows
  • Core
  • iron and a small amount of nickel

Earths Interior Layers
  • Lithosphere
  • solid upper mantle and crust
  • broken into plates that move over the
  • Asthenosphere
  • part of upper mantle
  • behaves plastically and slowly flows

Earths Crust
  • outermost layer
  • continental (20-90 km thick)
  • density 2.7 g/cm3
  • contains Si, Al
  • oceanic (5-10 km thick)
  • density 3.0 g/cm3
  • composed of basalt

Modern Plate Map
Plate Tectonic Theory
  • At plate boundaries
  • Volcanic activity occurs
  • Earthquakes occur
  • Movement at plate boundaries
  • plates diverge
  • plates converge
  • plates slide sideways past each other

Plate Tectonic Theory
  • Types of plate boundaries

Transform plate boundary
Plate Tectonic Theory
  • Influence on geological sciences
  • Revolutionary concept
  • major milestone
  • comparable to Darwins theory of evolution in
  • Provides a framework for
  • interpreting many aspects of Earth on a global
  • relating many seemingly unrelated phenomena
  • interpreting Earth history

Plate Tectonics and Earth Systems
  • Plate tectonics is driven by convection
  • in the mantle
  • and in turn drives mountain building
  • and associated igneous and metamorphic activity

Solid Earth
Arrangement of continents affects solar heating
and cooling, and thus winds and weather
systems Rapid plate spreading and hot-spot
activity may release volcanic carbon dioxide
and affect global climate
Plate Tectonics and Earth Systems
  • Continental arrangement affects ocean currents
  • Rate of spreading affects volume
  • of mid-oceanic ridges and hence sea level
  • Placement of continents may contribute
  • to the onset of ice ages

Movement of continents creates corridors or
barriers to migration, the creation of
ecological niches, and transport of habitats
into more or less favorable climates
History of Life
  • The fossil record provides perhaps
  • the most compelling evidence
  • in favor of evolution
  • Fossils are the remains or traces
  • of once-living organisms
  • Fossils demonstrate that Earth
  • has a history of life

Geologic Time
  • From the human perspective time units are in
  • seconds, hours, days, years
  • Ancient human history
  • hundreds or even thousands of years
  • Geologic history
  • millions, hundreds of millions, billions of years

Geologic Time Scale
  • Resulted from the work of many 19th century
    geologists who
  • pieced together information
  • from numerous rock exposures,
  • constructed a sequential chronology
  • based on changes in Earths biota through time
  • The time scale was subsequently dated in years
  • using radiometric dating techniques

  • Uniformitarianism is a cornerstone of geology
  • is based on the premise that present-day
  • have operated throughout geologic time
  • The physical and chemical laws of nature
  • have remained the same through time
  • To interpret geologic events
  • from evidence preserved in rocks
  • we must first understand present-day processes
  • and their results
  • Rates and intensities of geologic processes
  • may have changed with time

How Does the Study of Historical Geology Benefit
  • Survival of the human species
  • depends on understanding
  • how Earths various subsystems
  • work and interact
  • Study what has happened in the past,
  • on a global scale,
  • to try and determine how our actions
  • might affect the balance of subsystems in the

We Live Geology
  • Our standard of living depends directly on
  • our consumption of natural resources
  • resources that formed millions and billions of
    years ago
  • How we consume natural resources
  • and interact with the environment determines
  • our ability to pass on this standard of living
  • to the next generation
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