Earth Science SoL Review

Where do we get much of our information about the universe?

In ground-based observation

Big Bang Theory

States that the universe began in a very hot and dense sphere of hydrogen that expanded and eventually condensed into galaxies

Solar Nubular Theory

Explains that the planets formed through condensing of the solar nebula


~Have a finite lifetime
~Evolve over time
~Form by condensation of interstellar gas

Hertzburg-Russell Diagram

Illustrates the relationship between absolute magnitude and surface temperature of stars. Blue indicates a hot star and red indicates a cold star. (H-R diagram)

What are the three basic types of galaxies?


Light year

The distance light can travel in one year

What is the most common component of stars?


Red Shift

Goes along with the Big Bang Theory, saying that the expanding cloud formed here is still expanding.

Thermonuclear Fusion

Uses very high temperatures to achieve fusion and releases energy in an uncontrolled manner

What 'powers' the sun?

The fusion of hydrogen into helium (thermonuclear reaction)

What helps circulate the sun's gases near its surface?

Convection zones

What is the lifecycle of a star?

Nebula -> Protostar
Protostar-> Main Sequence Star
Main Sequence Star -> Red Giant
Red Giant -> White Dwarf
White Dwarf -> Black Dwarf
Main Sequence Star -> Red Supergiant
Red Supergiant -> Supernova
Supernova -> Neutron Star or Black Hole


Cooler dark spots that are concentrated areas of magnetic fields


Large, bright, gaseous loops extending from the surface (anchored to the sun's surface in the photosphere) and extending outwards into the sun's corona

Solar Flare

Violent eruptions of ions

Solar Wind

The ions released by solar flares that react with the Earth's magnetic field


Solar wind reacting with the Earth's ionosphere

Spectrum Analysis

Shows the electromagnetic spectra that can be used to study emission and absorption lines given off by stars

Layers of the Sun

~Core (densest)
~Photosphere (gives light)
~Chromosphere (convection cells and color)
~Corona (visible portion)

Inner Planets

~Fewer moons
~Shorter orbital years
~Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars

Asteroid Belt

~Separates the inner from outer planets
~Positioned where another planet should be, but Jupiter's gravity prevents it from forming

Outer Planets

~Many moons
~Longer orbital years
~Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune

Planets in our solar system are....

~Mercury (no atmosphere, covered with craters)
~Venus ('earth's twin' in size and mass, very hot, dense atmosphere)
~Earth (71% liquid water, has one moon)
~Mars (color is due to iron, thin atmosphere, two moons)
~Jupiter (largest, no solid surface, has Great Red Spot storm, many moons)
~Saturn (lighter than water, rings)
~Uranus (spins on its side on its axis, blue due to methane in atmosphere)
~Neptune (high winds and blue due to methane)


Classified as a dwarf planet


Debris outside of Earth's atmosphere


Debri within the Earth's atmosphere (shooting star)


Leftover debris from the formation of the solar system


Debri that has broken apart into smaller pieces before it reaches the surface


Snow and dirt, has a tail of melting material as it nears the sun


~Does not occur naturally on earth
~Extra-terrestrial material
~Shows in earth's sediment layers when a meteorite hits

Sputnik 1957

First satellite, launched by the Soviet Union

Apollo Missions

Launched by the U.S. to explore space; Apollo 11 was the first moonwalk

Space shuttles were launched starting in the...


Hubble Space Telescope

Mostly a large camera to take pictures of the universe


Groups of stars that form patterns in the Earth's sky that astronomers have named


Using constellations to estimate distance


~Large groups of stars
~Bound by gravity
~100,000 light years in diameter
~Contains billions of stars, gas, and dust

What is the nearest galaxy?

Andromeda galaxy

Lunar Eclipse

Occurs when the earth is in between the sun and the moon

Solar Eclipse

Occurs when the moon is in between the sun and the earth

Spring Tides

Occurs when the earth, sun, and moon are in a straight line; causes the highest high tide

Neap Tides

Occurs when the earth, sun, and moon are at 90 degree angle; causes a lower high tide

High Pressure

Fair weather because clouds aren't allowed to rise and form

Low Pressure

Bad weather such as rain, snow, and thunderstorms

Cloud shapes include...

~Stratus (smooth sheets, fog)
~Cumulus (puffy white cloud)
~Cirrus (high, thin wispy cloud with ice crystal)
~Classified as alto if they are high (altostratus, altocirrus)
~Classified as nimbus if they have precipitation (cumulonimbus, nimbostratus)


Measures humidity


Measures pressure (millibars)


Measures wind speed

Moh's Hardness Scale

Scratch with objects to determine hardness
~Fingernail- 1 or 2
~Copper- 3 or 4
~Glass- 5 or 6
~Steel nail- 7 or 8
~Above- 9

What influences the atmospheric temperatures in different regions of the earth?

~Bodies of water

Common rocks include...

~Talc (softest rock)
~Quartz (gem)
~Graphite (streak)
~Pyrite (color)
~Calcite (fizz with acid)
~Sulfur (color and fracture)
~Galena (lustre and cleavage)
~Halite (salt)
~Mica (cleavage)
~Magnetite (magnetic)

Air Masses

~Maritime (over water)
~Continental (over dry land)
~Tropical (warm)
~Polar (cold)

Cold Front

Violent storms

Occluded Front

Stormy weather

Stationary Front

Rain but no movement


Air current across the U.S.

Extrusive Igneous Rocks

~Formed in lava
~Small crystals
~Cools quickly
~Obsidian, Basalt, Pumice

Intrusive Igneous Rocks

~Formed from magma
~Large crystals
~Cools slowly
~Granite, Quartz

Metamorphic Rocks

~Foliated (banded, Gneiss and Slate)
~Non-foliated (Marble)

Sedimentary Rocks

~Many formed in water
~Clastic (glued together)
~Hold fossils

Rock Cycle

How can you identify minerals?

~Hardness (talc is 1, diamond is 10)
~Fracture vs. cleavage

Major elements in the earth are..


Regions in VA

~Coastal Plains (Sands)
~Peidmont (Kyanite)
~Blue Ridge (Titanium)
~Valley and Ridge (Limestone)
~Plateau (Coal)


Study of the Earth's magnetic field, shows reversed magnetic fields throughout earth's history

Divergent boundaries cause...

~Volcanoes form
~Seafloor spreading

Convergent Boundaries

~Volcanoes form
~Subduction zones

Dormant volcanoes have a ______ __________ while extinct volcanoes do not.

Magma chamber

P Waves

~First waves in an earthquake
~Fastest waves
~Slam things together
~Least destructive

S Waves

~Second waves in an earthquake
~Second fastest waves
~Move in a snake-like path

L Waves

~Last waves in an earthquake
~Slowest waves
~Move up and down
~Most destructive

Faulting of rocks causes...


Folding of rocks causes...



A hole or indent on a topographic map

A "V" on a topographic map marks a...

Stream (water moves from opening)


Rule that says that youngest sediments will be on the top and oldest will be deeper into the earth's crust

Soil Layers

~O-Horizon (organic layer)
~E-Horizon (leaching layer)
~B-Horizon (Bedrock)

Most fossils in Virginia are found in...

The Coastal Plain


Large bodies of dense ice that constantly move under its own weight over many years

Ice Caps

Large bodies of ice that do not move

Ocean algae is important because...

~It is a source of oxygen
~It is a CO2 sink

Convection currents in the ocean cause..

Energy and heat transfer

Salinity is measured in...

Parts per thousand (ppt)

Colder water has _____ gases than warmer water


Shallow ocean currents are caused by..


Deep ocean currents are caused by...

Convection (density)


Area in the middle of surface and deep water where temperature changes rapidly

Mid-Ocean Ridges

~New ocean floor forms
~Older floor is pushed away
~Creates rift valley
~Deep crack runs through the middle


~Long, narrow
~Steep sided channels

Continental Shelves

Gently sloping edge of continent (underwater

Continental Slopes

Steeper slope that drops off from continental shelf to deeper ocean

Continental Rise

Rises above the true ocean floor

Abyssal Plains

Flat, deep ocean foor


Underwater mountains


Eroded flat top of seamounts



How many satellites do you need for GPS?

4 at least

What things increase density of water?

~High salinity

What are two methods used in absolute dating?

~Radioactive Decay