Who proved all these?
why does earth is called the solid earth?
what is the nebular concept?
the main sources of heat to the earth is the sun
so, the lava from volcanoes is from outer core
or just come out from the top of mantle region.
Earth is made up of what elements?
mention the most abundant gas on earth
What happened to the smaller planetesimals?
in module 2 we learn about the structue and composition of earth in more better way
The earth formed approximately 4.6 billion years ago from a nebular cloud of dust and gas that surrounded the sun. As the gas cooled, more solids formed. The dusty material accreted to the nebular midplane where it formed progressively larger clumps.
Eventually, bodies of several kilometers in diameter formed; these are known as planetesimals. The largest planetesimals grew fastest, at the expense of the smaller ones. This process continued until an earth-sized planet had formed.
Early in its formation, the earth must have been completely molten. The main source of heat at that time was probably the decay of naturally-occurring radioactive elements. As the earth cooled, density differences between the forming minerals caused the interior to become differentiated into three concentric zones:
• the crust,
• the mantle
• and the core.
The crust extends downward from the surface to an average depth of 35 km where the mantle begins.
The mantle extends down to a depth of 2900 km where the core begins.
The core extends down to the center of the earth, a depth of about 6400 km from the surface.
We will review these features in more detail.
The core makes up 16 percent of the volume of the earth and about 31 percent of the mass. It can be divided into two regions:
• a solid inner core and
• a liquid outer core.
The inner core is probably mostly metallic iron alloyed with a small amount of nickel, as its density is somewhat greater than that of pure metallic iron. The outer core is similar in composition, but probably also contains small amounts of lighter elements, such as sulfur and oxygen, because its density is slightly less than that of pure metallic iron. The presence of the lighter elements depresses the freezing point and is probably responsible for the outer core's liquid state.
The mantle is the largest layer in the earth, making up about 82 percent of the volume and 68 percent of the mass of the earth. The mantle is dominated by magnesium and iron-rich (mafic) minerals. Heat from the core of the earth is transported to the crustal region by large-scale convection in the mantle.
Near the top of the mantle is a region of partially melted rock called the asthenosphere. Numerous small-scale convection currents occur here as hot magma (i.e., molten rock) rises and cooler magma sinks due to differences in density.
The crust is the thinnest layer in the earth, making up only 1 percent of the mass and 2 percent of the volume. Relative to the rest of the earth, the crust is rich in elements such as silicon, aluminum, calcium, sodium and potassium. Crustal materials are very diverse, consisting of more than 2000 minerals. The less dense crust floats upon the mantle in two forms:
• the continental crust and
• the oceanic crust.
The oceanic crust, which contains more mafic minerals is thinner and denser than the continental crust which contains minerals richer in silicon and aluminum. The thick continental crust has deep buoyant roots that help to support the higher elevations above. The crust contains the mineral resources and the fossil fuels used by humans.
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