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One class are called differentiated meteorites. They are thought to represent a planetesimal s that was forming with Earth and the other planets.

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But the growing planet broke up because of the conflicting gravitational tugs of the Sun and Jupiter. The remains lie in orbit between Mars and Jupiter. Some of the pieces that fall to Earth are stony mafic and ultramafic silicates and some are iron. Iron meteorites are presumably the remains of the planetesimal's core. What Causes the Earth's Magnetic Field? Early ideas about what caused the compass needle to point toward the north included some divine attraction to the polestar North Star , or attraction to large masses of iron ore in the arctic.

A more serious hypothesis considered the Earth or some solid layer within the Earth to be made of iron or other magnetic material forming a permanent magnet. There are two major problems with this hypothesis.

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First, it became apparent that the magnetic field drifts over time; the magnetic poles move. Second, magnetic minerals only retain a permanent magnetism below their Curie temperature e. Most of the Earth's interior is hotter than all known Curie temperatures and cooler crustal rocks just don't contain enough magnetic content to account for the magnetic field and crustal magnetization is very heterogeneous in any case. The discovery of the liquid outer core allowed another hypothesis: the geodynamo. Iron, whether liquid or solid, is a conductor of electricity. Electric currents would therefore flow in molten iron.

Moving a flowing electric current generates a magnetic field at a right angle to the electric current direction basic physics of electromagnetism. The molten outer core convects as a means of releasing heat. This convective motion would displace the flowing electric currents thereby generating magnetic fields. The magnetic field is oriented around the axis of rotation of the Earth because the effects of the Earth's rotation on the moving fluid coriolis force. Properties of the Crust Continental Crust Depth to Moho: 20 to 70 km, average 30 to 40 km Composition: felsic, intermediate, and mafic igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks Age: 0 to 4 b.

Modeling in builds on K-8 experiences and progresses to using, synthesizing, and developing models to predict and show relationships among variables between systems and their components in the natural and designed world s.

Some useful Non-dimensional Numbers in Geomorphology and the Art of Deriving New Ones

Analyzing data in builds on K-8 experiences and progresses to introducing more detailed statistical analysis, the comparison of data sets for consistency, and the use of models to generate and analyze data. Modeling in 9—12 builds on K—8 experiences and progresses to using, synthesizing, and developing models to predict and show relationships among variables between systems and their components in the natural and designed world s.

Planning and carrying out investigations in builds on K-8 experiences and progresses to include investigations that provide evidence for and test conceptual, mathematical, physical, and empirical models.


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Engaging in argument from evidence in 9—12 builds on K—8 experiences and progresses to using appropriate and sufficient evidence and scientific reasoning to defend and critique claims and explanations about the natural and designed world s. Arguments may also come from current scientific or historical episodes in science. Analyzing data in 9—12 builds on K—8 experiences and progresses to introducing more detailed statistical analysis, the comparison of data sets for consistency, and the use of models to generate and analyze data. Integrated and reprinted with permission from the National Academy of Sciences.

Developing and Using Models Modeling in builds on K-8 experiences and progresses to using, synthesizing, and developing models to predict and show relationships among variables between systems and their components in the natural and designed world s. Develop a model based on evidence to illustrate the relationships between systems or between components of a system. Some system changes are irreversible. Analyzing and Interpreting Data Analyzing data in builds on K-8 experiences and progresses to introducing more detailed statistical analysis, the comparison of data sets for consistency, and the use of models to generate and analyze data.

A: Earth Materials and Systems Earth's systems, being dynamic and interacting, cause feedback effects that can increase or decrease the original changes. Influence of Engineering, Technology, and Science on Society and the Natural World New technologies can have deep impacts on society and the environment, including some that were not anticipated. Analysis of costs and benefits is a critical aspect of decisions about technology.

Examples could also be taken from other system interactions, such as how the loss of ground vegetation causes an increase in water runoff and soil erosion; how dammed rivers increase groundwater recharge, decrease sediment transport, and increase coastal erosion; or how the loss of wetlands causes a decrease in local humidity that further reduces the wetland extent. Developing and Using Models Modeling in 9—12 builds on K—8 experiences and progresses to using, synthesizing, and developing models to predict and show relationships among variables between systems and their components in the natural and designed world s.

Fragments of the supercontinent spread as the ocean plate grows along a new seafloor spreading center. Because the Earth is a sphere, the moving continental fragments inevitably reassemble about every million years. As we will see, the creation and destruction of giant continents has played a major role in the geologic history of Washington and the Pacific Northwest.

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The most recent supercontinent was Pangaea. It formed about million years ago when the isolated continents collided. The creation of Pangea meant that only one large continent existed on the Earth, balanced by one large ocean called Panthalassa Greek for "all seas". Beginning about million years ago and still going on today , the present Atlantic ocean formed and began spreading.

Pangea broke apart completely, and the continental fragments are now scattering across the globe. The creation and destruction of giant continents have played a major role in the geologic history of Washington and the Pacific Northwest. The modern Atlantic Ocean is spreading at the expense of the Pacific. As North America moves westward, the Pacific Ocean basin is getting smaller along subduction zones convergent plate boundaries under North and South America, and Japan, as western North America and Asia get closer together.

Sometime in the future the Pacific ocean will close completely and Asia and North America will collide to form yet another supercontinent. Before Pangaea, yet another supercontinent called Rodinia existed between 1. It also formed from the accumulation of isolated continents, only to fragment million years after its formation. Geologists think of time very differently from most people. The Earth is nearly 4. The most recent plate tectonic cycle that built the Pacific Northwest began million years ago. Clearly, we need a different type of calendar to order geologic events that occurred so long ago.

The geologic time scale has evolved over the last years as geologists began to order events in Earth history. Each division of the time scale marked significant changes in the fossil record, such as the extinction of certain life forms and the appearance of new ones. The time scale is a working document, often amended in detail as our ability to date rocks improves.

This scale will help you keep the chronology of our ancient history in order. The modern geologic time scale widely used in North America. Image: Geological Society of America.

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Breadcrumb Home. The beautiful blue planet. The Earth is a giant heat engine constantly working to expel its inner heat into the cold universe that surrounds us.


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    View calendar. Internal Structure of the Earth In composition, the Earth is made of three nested spheres.

    AGU2016: Subduction and Dehydration of Slow-Spread Oceanic Lithosphere - Scientific Talk

    Earth on a Slow Boil: Transferring Heat by Convection As you go deeper into our planet, the conditions of pressure and temperature steadily increase. The Great Tectonic Plates The rigid lithospheric plates differ in size, direction of motion, and in the type of crustal rocks included in the plate. Mid-Ocean Spreading Ridges Most plates diverge move away from each other at mid-ocean spreading ridges. Hot spot volcanoes often form long chains that result from the relative motion of the lithosphere plate over the hot-spot source The Hawaiian Islands are our best-known modern examples of hot spots derived from mantle plumes.

    Mid-ocean ridges forming divergent plate boundaries. The Atlantic Ocean is growing at the expense of the Pacific Ocean, where oceanic plates are being destroyed by subduction. Image: Marie Tharp Hot spots are single plumes of molten rock ascending from the mantle into the overriding lithosphere.

    Subduction Zones: The Ultimate Fate of Oceanic Crust A subduction zone is a boundary where two tectonic plates collide and, because of differences in density, one dives beneath the other.