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Level 18

The Earth's Structure and Atmosphere 2


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The earth
Our planet. Its basic structure consists of the core, mantle, crust and the atmosphere
The core
The central section of the earth. Made of iron.
The mantle
The layer of the earth that is a fluid that has convection currents within it
Convection currents
Parts of the mantle that are moving, driven by natural radioactive processes. It i these currents that cause the tectonic plates to move
The crust
The solid upper layer of the earth. This is where the continents are.
Tectonic plates
Pieces of the crust and upper mantle that are cracked.
A few centimeters per year
The relative speed at which the tectonic plate move
Earthquake
Caused by a sudden movement in a tectonic plate. The forces involved are huge and can cause widespread damage
Plate boundary
The place where two plates meet. This is where most earthquakes occur and volcanoes are found
Wegener
The man who came up with tectonic plate theory. This theory was not accepted for many years
Shrinkage
A now debunked theory as to how mountains were formed. The earth's crust shrank as it cooled following its formation
200 million years
The approximate amount of time the atmosphere has had its current composition
about 80%
The amout of nitrogen in the atmosphere today
about 20%
The approximate amount of the atmosphere that is made up from oxygen today
1%
The amount of the atmosphere that is made up from all the other gases including carbon dioxide and water vapour
Volcanic activity
the processes that caused the atmosphere to form during the fist billion years of the earth's existence
Early atmosphere
Mainly composed of carbon dioxide, methane and ammonia
Hydrocarbons, ammonia and lightning interacting
A theory as to how life was formed on earth
Plants and algae
The producers of the oxygen now found in the atmosphere
Carbonates and fossil fuels
Where most of the carbon from the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere ended up locked away
Oceans
These bodies act as a reserviour for the absorption of carbon dioxide
Burning fossil fuels
This process is leading to the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere
Air
a mixture of gases with different boiling points
Fractional distillation
A way of separating the gases in the air so they can be used for a variety of industrial processed