The Geosphere

  1. Atmosphere
    The mixture of gases, predominantly nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, and water vapor that surrounds the Earth.
  2. Biosphere
    The totality of the Earth's organisms and, in addition, organic matter that has not yet been completely decomposed.
  3. Closed System
    A system in which the boundary allows the exchange of energy, but not matter within the surroundings.
  4. Cycle
    The constant, repeated movement of matter or energy from one reservoir to another
  5. Earth System Science
    The science that studies the whole Earth as a system of many interacting parts and focuses on the changes within and between these parts.
  6. Equilibrium
    A state in which opposing forces or influences are balanced
  7. Feedback
    A system response that occurs when the output of the system also serves as an input and leads to changes in the state of the system.
  8. Flux
    The amount of energy flowing through a given area in a given time.
  9. Geosphere
    The solid Earth.
  10. Hydrosphere
    The totality of the Earth's water, including oceans, lakes, streams, water underground, and all the snow and ice, including glaciers.
  11. Model
    A representation of something.
  12. Negative Feedback
    The influence of a product on the process that produces it, such that production decreases with the growth of that product.
  13. Open System
    A system in which the boundary allows the exchange of both energy and matter with the surroundings.
  14. Positive Feedback
    The influence of a product on the process that produces it, such that production increases the growth of the product.
  15. Remote Sensing
    Continuous or repetitive collection of information about a target from a distance.
  16. Reservoir
    A storage place; a place in the Earth system where material or energy resides for some period of time.
  17. Residence time
    The average length of time a given material spends in a reservoir.
  18. Scientific Method
    The use of evidence that can be seen and tested by anyone who has the means to do so, consisting often of observation  formation of a hypothesis, testing of that hypothesis and formation of a theory, formation of a law  and continued reexamination.
  19. Sequestration
    Materials that have such long residence times in a reservoir they are isolated from the rest of the Earth system for long periods of time.
  20. Sink
    A reservoir in which the inward flux of matter exceeds the outward flux.
  21. System
    Any portion of the universe that can be isolated from the rest of the universe for the purpose of observing and measuring changes.
  22. Celsius Temperature Scale
    The temperature scale in which the zero reference point is the freezing temperature of water at surface atmospheric pressure and the boiling point of water is assigned a temperature of 100oC.
  23. Electromagnetic radiation
    A self-propagating electric and magnetic wave, such as light, radio, ultraviolet  or infrared radiation  all types travel at same speed and differ in wavelength of frequency, which relates to the energy.
  24. Energy
    The capacity to do work.
  25. Entropy
    a measure of disorganization. Equilibrium. Said of the state of a system that is balanced.
  26. Geothermal gradient
    The rate of increase of temperature downward in the Earth.
  27. Gravity
    The mutual physical attraction between any two masses such as Earth and the moon.
  28. Heat
    The energy a body has due to the motions of its atoms.
  29. Kelvin Temperature Scale
    The absolute temperature scale in which the foundation is the point where entropy is zero.
  30. Kinetic Energy
    Energy that is expressed in the movement of matter.
  31. Potential Energy
    The energy stored in a system.
  32. Radiation
    Transmission of heat energy through the passage of electromagnetic waves.
  33. Temperature
    A measure of the average kinetic energy of all the atoms in a body.
  34. Tide
    The twice-daily rise and fall of the ocean surface resulting from the gravitational attraction of the Moon and Sun.
  35. Work
    The addition or subtraction to the internal energy of a system.
  36. Asthenosphere
    The region of the mantle where rocks become ductile, having little strength, and are easily deformed. It lies at a depth of 100km to 350km below the surface.
  37. Atom
    The smallest individual particle that retains all the properties of a given chemical element.
  38. Biotic
    A compound that is of biologic origin.
  39. Bond
    The electrical forces that draw two atoms together.
  40. Chemical Element
    The fundamental substances into which matter can be separated by ordinary chemical means.
  41. Continental crust
    The part of the Earth's crust that comprises the continents, which has an average thickness of 45km.
  42. Gas
    State of matter that takes on the shape of the container in which it is contained, filling the container completely (or escaping into space if it is not contained), while its constituent atoms move freely and acquire a uniform distribution within the container.
  43. Ion
    An atom that has excess positive or negative charges cause by electron transfer.
  44. Isotope
    Atoms of an element having the atopic number but differing mass numbers.
  45. Liquid
    Sate of matter that has definite volume but its constituent atoms are able to flow freely past one another  the material does not retain its own shape but conforms to the shape of its container.
  46. Matter
    Substance that has mass and occupies space.
  47. Mesosphere
    The region between the base of the asthenosphere and the core/mantel boundary.
  48. Mineral
    Any naturally formed, crystalline solid with a definite chemical composition and a characteristic crystal structure.
  49. Molecule
    The smallest unit that retains all the properties of a compound.
  50. Oceanic Crust
    The crust beneath the ocean.
  51. Phases
    Masses of material that can be separated from one another by a definable boundary.
  52. Rock
    Any naturally formed, nonliving, firm, and coherent aggregate mass of mineral matter that constitutes part of a planet.
  53. Solid
    State of matter that is firm or compact in substance with a definite volume and density, and that tends to retain its shape even if it is not confined, because its constituent atoms are fixed in position relative to each other.
  54. State
    different forms in which matter exist
  55. Continental Drift
    Slow movement of the continents across the face of the Earth. 
  56. Convergent Plate Margin
    The zone where plates meet as they move toward each other. See subduction zone.
  57. Divergent Plate Margin
    A fracture in the lithosphere where two plates move apart. Also called spreading center
  58. Geosphere
    The solid Earth. 
  59. Magnetic Reversal 
    The reversal o the polarity of Earth's magnetic field. 
  60. Plate Tectonics 
    The special branch of tectonics that deals with the processes by which the lithosphere is moved laterally over the asthenosphere. 
  61. Seafloor Spreading
    A theory proposed during the early 1960s in which lateral movement of the oceanic crust away from midocean ridges was postulated. 
  62. Subduction
    The sinking of old, cold oceanic lithosphere into the asthenosphere. 
  63. Subduction Zone
    Also called convergent margin. The linear zone along which a plate of lithosphere sinks down into the asthenosphere. 
  64. Supercontinent
    Assemblage of cratons into a large continental complex. 
  65. Body Wave
    Seismic waves that travel outward from an earthquake focus and pass through the Earth. 
  66. Deformation 
    The change in shape or size of a solid body. 
  67. Epicenter
    The point on the Earth's surface that lies vertically above the focus of an Earthquake. 
  68. Fault
    A fracture in a rock along hich movement occurs. 
  69. Lava
    Magma that reaches the Earth's surface through a volcanic vent. 
  70. Magma
    Molten rock, together with any suspended mineral grains and dissolved gases, that forms when temperatures rise and melting occurs in the mantle or crust. 
  71. Moho
    See Mohorovicic Discontinuity . The boundary between the Earth's crust and the mantle.
  72. P (Primary) Wave
    Seismic body waves transmitted by alternating pulses of compression and expansion. P waves pass through solids, liquids, and gases. 
  73. Reflection
    The bouncing of a wave off the surface between two media. 
  74. Refraction
    The change in velocity when a wave passes from one medium to another; the process by which the path of a beam of light is bent when the beam crosses from one transparent material to another. 
  75. Richter Magnitude
    A scale, based on the recorded amplitudes of seismic body waves, for comparing the amounts of energy released by earthquakes.  
  76. Seismic Wave
    Elastic disturbances spreading outward from an earthquake focus.
  77. Seismograph
    A device for continuously detecting and recording seismic waves. 
  78. Surface Wave
    Seismic waves that are guided by the Earth's surface and do not pass through the body of the Earth. 
  79. Tsunami
    See Seismic sea waves. A long high sea wave caused by an earthquake or other disturbance.
  80. Volcano
    The vent from which igneous matter, solid rock, debris, and gases are erupted. 
  81. Cementation
    The joining together of particles in a loose sediment through the addition of a cementing agent. 
  82. Chemical Sediment 
    Sediment formed by precipitation of minerals from solutions in water. 
  83. Chemical Weathering
    The decomposition of rocks through chemical reactions such as hydration and oxidation. 
  84. Clastic Sediment
    The loose fragmented debris produced by the mechanical breakdown of older rocks.  
  85. Compaction
    Reduction of the volume of sediment as a result of increased pressure. 
  86. Crystallization
    The set of processes whereby crystals of individual mineral components nucleate and grow in a cooling magma. 
  87. Deposition 
    Accumulation of sediment following transport. 
  88. Erosion
    The complex group of related processes by which rock is broken down physically and chemically and the products are moved. 
  89. Foliation
    The planar texture of mineral grains, principally micas, produced by metamorphism. 
  90. Igneous Rock
    Rock formed by the cooling and consolidation of magma. 
  91. Lithification
    The processes by which sediment and soil become rock. 
  92. Metamorphic Rock
    Rock whose original compounds or textures, or both, have been transformed to new compounds and new textures by reactions in the solid state as a result of high temperature, high pressure or both. 
  93. Metamorphism
    All changes in mineral assemblage and rock texture or both that take place in sedimentary and igneous rocks in the sold state within the Earth's crust as a result of changes in temperature and pressure. 
  94. Physical (mechanical) weathering 
    The disintegration (physical breakup) or rocks. 
  95. Rock Cycle
    The cyclic movement of rock material, in the course of which rock is created, destroyed, and altered through the operation of internal and external Earth processes. 
  96. Sediment
    Regolith that has been transported by any of the external processes. 
  97. Sedimentary Rock
    Any rock formed by chemical precipitation or by sedimentation and cementation of mineral grains transported to a site of deposition by water, wind, ice, or gravity.
  98. Weathering
    The chemical alteration and mechanical breakdown of rock materials during exposure to air, moisture, and organic matter.
Card Set
The Geosphere
Geosphere Key Terms