the science that studies Earth: how it was born, evolved, works and how we can preserve it.
a general plan based on methodical observations and experiments.
a tentative explanation based on data collected through observations and experiments.
a hypothesis that has survived repeated challenges and accumulated a substantial body of experimental support and has been elevated to the "theory" status...it can explain and predict observations, but never finally proved.
a precise representation of how a natural system is built or should behave.
measured with respect to sea level, a smooth surface that conforms closely with the squashed spherical shape expected for the rotating Earth.
principle of uniformitarianism
says that the geologic processes we see in action today have worked in much the same way throughout geologic time.
illuminate the interior and can be recorded on seismometers.
a dense center that is surrounded by the mantle.
the shell of silicate-rich rocks that surrounds the core.
composed of low-density silicates, rich in aluminum and potassium.
a solid metallic sphere with a radius of 1220 km suspended within the liquid outer core
liquid surrounding the inner core.
all the parts of our planet and all their interactions taken together.
strong, rocky outer shell of the solid Earth that comprises the crust and uppermost mantle down to an average depth of about 100 km; forms the tectonic plates.
weak, ductile layer of mantle beneath the lithosphere that deforms to accommodate the horiz. and vertical motions of plate tectonics.
specialized subsystems that describe specific types of terrestrial behavior like climate changes or mountain building
a description of these weather cycles obtained by averaging temp. and other variable over many years of observation.
all the Earth system components that determine climate on a global scale and how climate changes with time.
plate tectonic system
the convecting mantle and its overlying mosaic of lithospheric plates
deep inside the Earth that is produced by interactions in the third global system.
the geosystem that sustains Earth's magnetic field, driven by convection in the outer core
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