Earth Science

Earth Science

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Earth Science

1. Oceans and mountains have effect on the climate of the areas they are located. Coastal regions tend to be windier because the land and the ocean operate at a high-low atmospheric system. During the night, water in the ocean loses heat slower than land hence the air above the land cools faster than the air above the ocean. Since the air above the ocean is warmer, it creates a high-pressure zone. The air above the land is cooler, hence denser, thus creating a low-pressure zone. To strike equilibrium, it moves from the point of low pressure to high pressure hence moves towards the ocean. The lighter air above the ocean moves towards the land to fill the void. This process goes on and on hence making the coastal region windy. Mountainous regions, on the other hand, are windier because mountains are an obstacle to air movement and passing of the wind through mountains makes it accelerate. Climate of areas around mountains is also affected since at the side of the mountain facing the direction of the wind, the air rises, cools and drops its moisture. The air heats up and descends on the other side creating desert conditions due to drying up of the land. Coastal regions tend to be cooler during the summer period and warmer in winter since water cools down and heats up slower than land. Ocean currents also have its effects on the coastal region climate. Warm currents warm the region and vice versa (Lutgens & Tarbuck, 1996).

2. For thunderstorms to occur, moist air, atmospheric instability and convectional rise of air into the atmosphere are necessary. Most thunderstorms in the U.S. occur in parts of Colorado and New Mexico. This is because of presence of conditions necessary for thunderstorm formation. The Gulf of Mexico provides maritime tropical air that is moist and unstable forming cumulonimbus clouds in the presence of intense surface heating. Areas around mountains absorb direct solar radiation fast, become warm and form cumulus clouds. Presence of winds from the east cause orographic lifting of the cumulus clouds that become thunderstorms. The high rate of lightening fatality in Colorado is due to the timing of the thunderstorms. The unique features of this area are that most thunderstorms occur during the day when most people are not indoors making them very dangerous. According to Colorado’s topography, it is very easy for people to be caught on ‘high spots’ prone to the frequent lightning strikes. The lightning forms extremely fast often with no warning and hence mastering of the weather are crucial. Ironically, thunderstorms in Colorado are beneficial since they are the source of summer rain. Chemical reactions during lightning formation releases nitrogen, which is a plant nutrient (Lutgens & Tarbuck, 1996).

3. Stellar evolution is a process of radical changes undergone by a star in its lifetime that ranges from a few million years to trillion of years which is considered longer than the life of the universe. The life of a star is determined by its mass. Nebulae (molecular clouds) which are collapsing clouds of dust and gas are the source of all stars. The chemical composition and the material in this cloud condense into a star and determine the life of the star. Stellar evolution initial step is the collapse of a giant molecular cloud (GMC) due to gravity. It breaks into small pieces releasing heat when they collide. As temperature and pressure rise, the pieces condense into a whirl of super hot gas called a protostar. Protostars that never reach high temperature for hydrogen fusion are known as brown dwarfs. When the protostar mass reaches temperature high enough for thermonuclear reactions, hydrogen fusion occurs, energy is released exerting ‘radiation pressure’ that balances weight of the star mass preventing further collapse. Eventually the hydrogen supply to the core is exhausted thus hydrogen fusion cannot occur as earlier. The fate of the star after this depends on its mass. There are low-mass stars, mid-sized massive and extremely massive stars. The life of a star is a battle between the opposing forces of gravity and pressure (Lutgens & Tarbuck, 1996).

4. Terrestrial planets are the innermost four planets namely, Earth, Mercury, Venus and Mars while the jovian planets comprise of Neptune, Uranus, Jupiter, Saturn, which are the larger outer planets. Terrestrial planets are close to each other and close to the sun. Jovian worlds are large, they are gaseous mainly composed of hydrogen and helium which are the lightest elements and rare on the inner planets. The terrestrial worlds on the other hand are much smaller, rocky and dense. Terrestrial worlds are composed of solid surfaces unlike jovian worlds whose deep atmospheres thicken as you go deeper and merge with the liquid interiors. There is weak magnetic field in terrestrial planets while the magnetic field in jovian planets is strong. Terrestrial worlds only have three moons among them. Jovian worlds have many moons each, none similar to another and none similar to ours. They also have rings around the planets and have dense and large ‘terrestrial’ cores that are the reason for increasing planet mass as one moves away from the sun. Their similarities are their circulation around the sun, presence of gravitational pull and magnetic fields in both, gaseous atmosphere, their spherical shapes and they are both part of the solar system. The differences in the two types of planets are due to the discussed reasons (Lutgens & Tarbuck, 1996).

References

John F. Mongillo, Linda Zierdt-Warshaw (2000). Encyclopedia of environmental science university Rochester press p81. Retrieved from http://books.google.co.ke/books/about/Encyclopedia_of_Environmental_Science.html?id=ozAN5vLbssgC&redir_esc=y

Lutgens, F. K., & Tarbuck, E. J. (1996). Foundations of earth science. Upper Saddle River, N.J: Prentice Hall.

Michael Pidwirny (July 18 2007). Atmospheric science. Encyclopedia of Earth. Retrieved from http://www.eoearth.org/article/Thunderstorm

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Earth Science

Earth Science

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Course:

Date:

Earth Science

Describing the rock cycle

The rock cycle is the process describing how rocks are formed. It describes the transition though geologic time within the three type’s of rock, igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic. Each of the three types goes through different forms within time and through different forces. The rocks are forced to change as they go through different forces that alter their equilibrium conditions. For instance, igneous rocks could weather or break down when faced with different atmospheric pressure. Thus, the cycle represents a group of changes through which rocks go through in their three forms. The cycle shows that a rock goes through the three forms or types of rock in its lifetime (Lutgen, & Tarbuck, 2011).

The process starts at the Magma where molten magma comes to the surface of the earth through volcanoes. The molten larva cools down to form the igneous rocks. These rocks then erode with time due to the different conditions such heat and even human activities as and change into sediments (Lutgen, & Tarbuck, 2011). Through pressure and cementing for years, the sediments turn into sedimentary rocks. With exposure heat and pressure, the sedimentary rocks are turned into metamorphic rocks within geologic time, which in turn are turned back into magma through heat, thus completing the cycle. However, it is worth noting all the three types could change back into sediments through erosion instead of having to complete the cycle. Additionally, through heat and pressure, igneous rocks can be turned into metamorphic rocks. Thus, the cycle is dependent on the prevailing conditions of forces through which the rocks change form.

Minerals used every day

One of the minerals that are used every day is neodymium, which is used in making of magnets that are used for making speakers vibrate in order to create sound. Every day we use speakers in the televisions, radios and even phones. Neodymium is one of the rare earth’s minerals that are used in making of these speakers. One reason I would recommend stopping of its mining, other than economic, is the conflict it causes in DRC Congo where many people die from the quest by rebel groups to control the mineral. A pencil is yet another product that we use daily in our activities especially in the classroom. One of the minerals found in a pencil is graphite, found in the tip of the pencil that is used for writing. One consideration, other than economic, that would prohibit mining of graphite, is the high contamination of soil during mining and the fact that it can be produced from coal and coke (Lutgen, & Tarbuck, 2011).

Every day we use electricity in our houses. Every time one has to light up a bulb using a switch, one has to use copper. Copper is among the major components in electric devices. One consideration that could limit mining of copper is its effect on the environment. Where copper is concentrated in the soil, very few plants have chances of survival. Everybody uses paint severally or has his or her wall painted (Williams, 2011). One of the minerals contained in the paints is lead. Lead has been associated with many health side effects such as casing cancer. For such consideration, lead’s mining should be prohibited or limited. Another material used every day is along with electricity is uranium, which is a radioactive material. Considering the effects and need to keep its disposal waste for thousands of years before it is stable and its use in making nuclear weapons, it should not be mined (Lutgen, & Tarbuck, 2011).

Factors to consider when analyzing geology of a region for potential useable aquifers

When analyzing the geology of a region for potential aquifers, there are several factors one has to consider, especially, the water to be used. Aquifers are water stored in rocks under the surface, which can be transported. When analyzing any region for potential useable aquifer, one has to consider whether there is a river. A river is an indication that aquifers are available. Rivers feed aquifers through infiltration while the aquifer supplies the river with water through percolation (Lutgen, & Tarbuck, 2011). Another factor is the water catchment areas of the region within the geology. Water catchments areas feed water to the aquifers through infiltration just as the river does. These areas are referred to as recharge zones, which are responsible for contributing water to the aquifer. Another consideration can be the discharge zones, where the aquifers deposit their water especially along coastal lines.

When analyzing for potential useable aquifers, polluted areas should be avoided due to the possibility of infiltrating toxic substances into the aquifers, making them unusable sources of potable water. Polluted areas are likely to contaminate the water during the testing. Toxic substances are likely to enter the aquifers, making the water unusable. Therefore, water catchments that are polluted should be avoided as well since aquifers fed from such water would not be usable (Williams, 2011).

Flood control dams

Flood control dams have several drawbacks in their effectiveness. In fact, flood dams are not a solution to flooding since it is allowing flooding across a bigger area at tolerable levels. Dams take up extensive tracks of land that could be used for other purposes and feel them with water, which it releases slowly after floods pass (Williams, 2011). Dams do not live forever and some complete their functional time earlier than expected. Additionally, dams prevent water animals such as fish from moving freely, in some cases displacing them from their natural habitats. Some of the species may be wiped out. Additionally, due to the slow flow of the water that is almost stagnant makes diseases such as malaria within the tropical areas increases due to increase in mosquitoes.

Dams can lower their capacity and significantly reduce their effectiveness of controlling floods. As rivers flow naturally at certain speed usually higher than flow in a dam, it carries sediments along. When it gets to a dam, its ability to carry the sediments is reduced significantly since the speed of flow is reduced (Lutgen, & Tarbuck, 2011). At low speed, the sediments gain time to settle at the bottom of the dam through decantation. Thus, the dam starts to fill up with residuals that come along with the water. This way, the capacity of the dam is reduced since the sediments form at the bottom, which are hard to control in a dam.

References

Lutgens, F.L., Tarbuck, E. J. (2011). Foundations of earth science (6th Ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Williams, R.H. (2012). Earth Science: New Methods and Studies. Toronto: Apple Academic Press.

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