Introducing the Geosphere (02:03)
Mountains and valleys are part of Earth's crust, about 1% of geosphere volume. Erosion wears land forms, moving sediments that layer on continental shelves and melt in sea trenches. Learn about the mantle and core.
Origins of the Geosphere (01:36)
After the Big Bang, heated matter collided to form a protoplanet. Meteorites bombarded Earth's cooling surface; the crust, mantle and core layers formed 4.5 billion years ago.
Plate Tectonics (02:38)
Earth's interior cools and heats unevenly; convection drives the crust's movement. Learn about mid-ocean ridges, subduction zones and transform boundaries. The Theory of Plate Tectonics says that lithospheric plate movement has shaped Earth's continents and oceans.
Tectonics and Surface Processes (02:54)
Tectonic activity moves continents, changes ocean basin shapes, and creates land forms. Interactions between the geosphere, biosphere, and fluid spheres like wind and water erosion change landscape surfaces.
Evidence of Change (03:33)
A jigsaw pattern shows continents were once joined together. Earthquakes and mountains indicate crustal movement; volcanoes and hot spots indicate changes below the surface. Learn about events indicated by banded rocks, salt flats, the Channeled Scablands, and rock cores.
Rock Cycle (04:30)
Every surface land form is made of rocky material; movement in the mantle drives the rock cycle. Where the crust pulls apart, magma cools to form igneous rocks; plates descending into the mantle melt. Learn about river erosion and sedimentary and metamorphic rock formation.
Types of Rocks (02:35)
Igneous rock forms when magma cools inside and outside of Earth's surface. Sedimentary rock forms from particles of older rocks transported by erosion to ocean beds. Metamorphic rock forms when plates collide and the crust deforms, or when magma bakes surrounding rock.
Geoscience in Action (04:09)
Geoscientists study Earth's systems and processes. They use direct observation and satellite images, look at surface rocks, study dynamic events, go underground, extract rock core samples, and study ocean sediments.
Monitoring and Modeling (02:22)
Geoscientists use remote sensing tools like seismic sensors to model underground activity in a subduction zone. These may help them develop early warning systems. Models are used to study larger scale processes like river delta formation and crust collision.
Computer-Based Technology (01:34)
Computers play an important role in geoscientific investigations. They can analyze rock layers in 3D, provide thermal images of Earth's crust and mantle, control earthquake monitoring stations, and model Earth’s magnetic field.
Humans and the Geosphere (03:04)
Crust rifts in East Africa created an environment for early human evolution. The geosphere determines cities, ports, industries and arable land; humans quarry stone and mine metals, minerals, and hydrocarbons. Learn about Earth processes that can threaten coastal settlements.
Future of the Geosphere (03:04)
Geoscientists use past and present evidence to understand what might happen to Earth. Continents will continue moving; plates will disappear into the mantle and move alongside one another; and new earthquake and volcano patterns will emerge. The geosphere will affect human plans.
Credits: Exploring the Geosphere: Visions of Earth (01:06)
Exploring the Geosphere: Visions of Earth
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