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Earth Science 100 Hours Certificate Course
Earth Science course online.
Take a journey into the fascinating world of earth science and learn about the dynamic forces that shape the world you see today. Learn about the science behind current environmental issues such as global warming and greenhouse gasses, investigate the complex interactions that drive climate and environmental conditions throughout the world.
In Earth Science you will develop an ability to identify and describe the Earth, its structure and explain processes that affect change in the structure and composition of the earth. Learn about rocks and minerals, meteorology, global weather patterns, the oceans, surface chances (eg. earthquakes and volcanoes), geological time and more while studying at your own pace in the privacy of your own home.
Study this for either general interest or as a foundation for a career. Earth science related industries including geology, mining, atmospheric sciences, etc.are growing rapidly. Never has this course been more timely.
Lesson Structure: Earth Science BEN204
There are 9 lessons:
1. Structure and Forces
- Scope and Nature of the Earth and it's Structure
- Continental and Oceanic Crust
- Continental Drift
- Sea Floor Spreading
- Plate Tectonics
- Plate Boundaries; divergent boundaries, convergent boundaries
- Transform Faults
- Volcanoes; shield volcanoes, cinder cones, composite conesmagma, pyroclastic flow
2. Rocks and Minerals
- Mineral Properties; crystaline form, luster, colour, streak, hardness, light transmissioncleavage, fracture, etc
- Mineral Groups
- Nonsilicate Minerals
- Rocks; formation, texture
- Sedimentary Rocks; derital, chemical and biochemical rocks
- Metamorphic Rocks
3. Surface Changes
- Mass Wasting
- Streams; birth of a stream, stream flow, deposited stream sediment
- Ground Water and Land Subsidence
- Aquifiers and Confining Beds
- Soil; parent materia, time, climate, life forms, slope
- Soil Profile, horizons
4. The Oceans
- Scope and Nature of Oceans
- Sea Water
- Coriolis Effect
- Geostrophic Flow
- Land Scale Currents
- Convergence and Divergence
- El Nino
- The Ocean Floor
- The Marine Food Chain
5. Air and Weather
- The Hydrological Cycle
- The Atmosphere
- Atmosphere and Circulation of Essential Elements
- Structure of the Atmosphere, Troposphere, Stratosphere, Mesosphere, Seasons
- Solar Radiation
- The Greenhouse Effect
- Temperature Control
- Air Pressure
- Wind; Local Winds, Wind Erosion, Wind in Arid Climates
- Tropical Cyclones
6. The Greenhouse Effect
- Global Warming
- Anthropomorphic Changes to Global Climates
- Ozone Layer and Ozone Destruction
- Atmospheric Pollutants
7. Global Weather Patterns
- Climate Classification; Tropics, Dry Climates, Humid Mid Latitude and Mild Climates, Polar Climates, etc
8. Geological Time
- Geological Time Scale
- Relative Dating
- Types of Fossils
- Radiometric Dating; radiocarbon dating, radioactivity, half life
- Geological Time
9. Modern Environmental Issues
- Balance of Nature
- Major Current Environmental Events
- Resource Depletion
- Conservation Issues
- Pollution and Waste
Learning Goals: Earth Science BEN204
- Describe the major structural elements of Earth and the major internal forces which affect them.
- Classify rocks and minerals according to their characteristics and formation.
- Explain external processes that that cause topographic and soil changes on the earth's surface.
- Describe the oceans of the earth and their role in global processes.
- Describe the earth's atmosphere and the forces which create weather.
- Describe some well known effects of particular atmospheric conditions like the Greenhouse effect.
- Identify global weather patterns and their relationship to different climates.
- Describe the way in which the earth's surface has changed over time.
- Identify environmental issues which are of current significance.
- Research how a mountain/mountain range in or near your region was formed.
- Explain plate tectonics.
- Collect and classify rock samples as either sedimentary rock, igneous rock, or metamorphic rock.
- Describe four ways that weathering breaks down rocks to help form soil.
- Explain how the speed of a stream affects the shape of the landscape.
- Name the three main layers of the ocean, describe the characteristics and ocean life in each.
- Keep a record of atmospheric and weather changes in your environment.
- Explain the highs and lows associated with air pressure, and how they affect weather.
- Create a questionnaire to determine understanding of the Greenhouse Effect or the Ozone layer.
- Explain why your region has its overall climate.
- Research what life forms (plant and animal) inhabited your region before the formation of humans.
- Identify the rules and laws used to date fossils.
- Research an environmental problem in your area, and discuss possible solutions.
A mineral is defined as any naturally occurring inorganic (non-biological) solid that has an orderly crystalline structure and a well-defined chemical composition.
- A mineral must occur naturally; a synthetic diamond is not considered a mineral.
- A mineral must be solid.
- A mineral should have a repetitive atomic structure.
The chemical make-up of the mineral should be consistent (although it may vary a little between samples).
There is one exception where minerals may be of organic (biological) origin. This is where marine animals excrete calcium carbonate (calcite) making shells and coral reefs.
A rock is an aggregate of mainly minerals and mineral-like matter.
Rocks may be of organic origin, e.g. coal.
Some rocks can be composed of just one mineral, while others may contain many minerals. The latter are the most common.
In an aggregate, the materials retain their own properties. For this reason, rocks can usually be identified by the minerals that they contain, and the properties of rocks are determined by those minerals.
Before learning further about rocks and minerals it is important to understand something about the building blocks that make up rocks and minerals.
- Atoms – An atom is a basic unit of matter. An atom consists of a nucleus (made up of protons and neutrons) surrounded by an orbit of negatively charged electrons.
- Element – An element is a pure substance that cannot be broken down into other substances. You will be familiar with many elements such as Copper, Aluminium and Oxygen. Basically, an element is made up of atoms of the same type. For example: Oxygen is made up only of oxygen atoms.
- Compound – A compound is a combination of two or more elements. For example: water is made up of Hydrogen and Oxygen.
The manner in which atoms bond (join together) determines what type of compound is formed. There are three main types of chemical bonding:
- Ionic Bonding: This is simply where one atom donates at electron(s) to another atom.
- Covalent Bonding: In covalent bonding the atoms share the electron(s).
- Metallic Bonding: Electrons are shared in a lattice.
It is important to understand this because many of the properties of minerals and rocks are determined by their chemical structure.
Minerals are solids formed by inorganic (non-biological) processes. They each have an exact crystalline structure. The mineral’s chemical structure may be exact or inexact. Each mineral belongs to a crystal structure group and these are classified according to how the atoms of the minerals are arranged.
Naturally occurring elements are also considered minerals. Minerals are easily recognised by their unique physical properties. The properties to look for when identifying minerals are:
- Crystal form - the shape resulting from the orderly arrangement of atoms. This is also known as habit. Most minerals will have only one shape or habit; some have two or more known crystal shapes. Other minerals however, do not form crystals but still have a shape that can be used for identification. They may grow in all directions equally or their shape may be determined by suppression in one or more areas.
- Lustre – the quality of light reflected from the surface. Lustre might be metallic, however most minerals have a non-metallic lustre and can be described as either glassy, silky (satin-like), dull (sometimes called earthy), greasy (look as though they are coated in oil) etc.
- Colour – while being the most obvious property of a mineral, colour is of limited usefulness in identification. This is due to two reasons: impurities will change the colour of a mineral tinting it black, pink, yellow etc.; some minerals can also have a range of hues occurring within the same sample.
- Ability to transmit light – if a mineral does not transmit light it is said to be opaque; if the mineral transmits light (but not an image) it is described as translucent. If light and an image is visible it is transparent.
- Streak – the colour of a streak drawn when the mineral is rubbed across unglazed porcelain. It is much more reliable than colour, for it does not vary nearly as much, even when the colour of the mineral is variable between samples. This property is useful for determining between metallic and non-metallic lustres. A metallic lustre will show a dark, thick streak, while non-metallic minerals will have a light coloured streak. Be aware that if a mineral is harder than the streak plate (the porcelain) it will not leave a streak.
- Hardness – resistance to abrasion or scratching. Rub the mineral against a mineral of known hardness to determine it position on the Mohs hardness scale. A piece of glass has a hardness of 5.5, and a fingernail has a hardness of 2.5.
The Mohs scale arranges ten minerals from softest to hardest:...
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Earth Science 100 Hours Certificate Course
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