Earth Science –Bennett HS—Q1 –Notebook

The following notes should be entered into your notebooks (a spiral notebook or loose leaf paper in a 3-ring binder), in chronological order and will be collected and graded on November 10th.  Any information that appears in brackets “[xxxx]” is information that should have been entered by each student and will vary for each student.

--Ms. Milligan



“Words that describe what Earth Scientists do and study”

[ record the words generated by class]






1.      Astronomy                                                             2. Geology



[pictures from magazines pertaining to each of the 4 branches]

[answers will vary, depending on individual student response]





3.      Meteorology                                              4. Oceanography




[pictures from magazines pertaining to each of the 4 branches]

[answers will vary, depending on individual student response]



Learning Log:


Pick a branch of Earth Science and explain why you feel this would be a neat branch to study and what types of things would be studied.


[answers will vary, depending on individual student response]





Observations, Inferences, and Predictions


includes using one or more of the senses to determine attributes, properties, similarities, differences and changes in natural phenomena and objects. Observation can be made directly with the senses or indirectly through the use of simple or complex instruments.


includes the use of observations and past experiences to reach a conclusion about a probable cause or about future outcomes. Inferring from a set of data may lead to several nonconclusive inferences. Only further investigations and additional data may validate an inference.

includes suggesting what will occur in the future based on observations, measurements and inferences about the relationships between or among observed variable. Predictions may be used to generalize that under a certain set of circumstances a certain outcome may be expected, or they may be used to describe outcomes beyond the observed data. The accuracy of a prediction is closely related to the accuracy of the observations.






Title: Scientific Measurement



            UNIT                           METRIC                                  ENGLISH




[answers will vary, depending on individual student response]



Results Table     [answers will vary, depending on individual student response]




Accepted Value

Your Value

Percent Error

Floor tile








Teacher’s desk




Book bag







How far “off” from the real thing are you?

 accepted value – measured value     x  100    =   % error

            accepted value                          




[answers will vary, depending on individual student response]






How long would it take to dig to China?    Students come up with an agreeable rate for digging and set up the calculation.

   1 day      x    _5,280 feet.    x  1 mile        x      ????km Equatorial Diameter  =  time it would

????feet              1 mile            1.6 km                                                                    take to dig to



Earth's Planetary Size

·         Speaking from the perspective of the solar system, the Earth is rather small.

·         Equatorial diameter 12,756 km

·         4 planets in our solar system are smaller (Pluto, Mercury, Mars, and Venus)

·         remaining 4 planets (Neptune, Uranus, Saturn, and Jupiter) are much larger

Eratosthenes (Greek scientist) measured the circumference of the Earth

·         250 BC

·         Used geometry and ingenuity

·         He calculated the circumference to be about 46,250 km

·         Actual  is 40,000 km!

What is the percent error/deviation of his calculation?


Oblate Spheroid


The Earth's True Shape

·         The Earth is not a perfect sphere

·         has a slightly distorted shape

Oblate Spheroid

·         true shape of the Earth called an Oblate Spheroid

·         slightly oblong appearance

·          The term "Spheroid" means that it is almost a sphere, but not quite

·         it is only very slightly oblate

·         The diameter from the North Pole to the South Pole (the shortest diameter) is approximately 12,714 km.

·         The equatorial diameter (the longest diameter) is approximately 12,756 km.

Evidence of the Earth's True Shape
Three examples of such evidence are:

  • pictures taken from space
  • position of the stars (and Sun) appear to change as we move over great distances on the earth's surface. Example: changing positions of the North Star (Polaris)

·         Precise gravity measurements


·         Earth's surface has many different elevations

·         changing elevations of the land (mountains, canyons, etc.) are called relief.

·         But the surface is mostly smooth

·         Even the tallest mountain, Mount Everest, has a height that is only about .07% the diameter of the Earth!

Models of the Earth
Models are representations of objects that aid in our understanding. If we were to choose a scale model of the Earth, what objects would make a good miniature Earth?

·         the best scale models of the Earth would actually be very round and very smooth

·         Billiard balls, marbles, ping pong balls, and other smooth spheres are the best models



Three Spheres of the Earth


1. Lithosphere

  • the solid portion of the Earth
  • dense shell of material that surrounds the entire planet
  • includes soil, rocks, sand, etc.


·    see page 11 of the Earth Science Reference Tables --chart which provides you with all of the information you will need concerning the makeup of the different parts of the Earth.


  • The section under "crust" refers to the Earth's lithosphere
  • no need to memorize them –all on the chart in ESRT
  • Oxygen is by far the most abundant element in the Earth's crust.
  • Remember that this refers to Oxygen in compounds, not Oxygen as a gas!



2. Hydrosphere






3. Atmosphere



  • composed of a shell of gases that surrounds the Earth
  • shell is remarkably thin, only about several hundred kilometers thick
  • contains many gases, but the 2 most abundant by far are Nitrogen and Oxygen. Together, these 2 gases make up approximately 99% of the air.
  • page 11 of the ESRT  shows this.
  • The chart refers to the "Troposphere", which is the bottom layer of the atmosphere.


Layers of the Atmosphere

As you travel upward from sea level:

  • Troposphere
    • all of the water vapor is contained in the Troposphere.
    • This is where all weather also occurs
  • Tropopause- marks the end of this layer and the beginning of the next layer




  • Stratosphere

-the temperature rises with altitude

-caused mainly by the presence of the ozone layer, which absorbs ultraviolet radiation

  • Stratopause

-marks the end of the




  • Mesosphere

- the temperature again decreases with altitude

  • Mesopause

-marks the end of the



  • Thermosphere

-characterized by temperatures that rise dramatically


  • There is no "Thermopause", the Thermosphere simply blends gradually into outer space.


Other Properties of the Atmosphere
Atmospheric Pressure and Water Vapor:

  • Right side of pg 14 ESRT
  • both decrease with altitude (inverse relationships)
  • pressure drops dramatically with altitude


  •  all of the water vapor is contained in the Troposphere.
  • This is where all weather also occurs




[copy & label diagram of Earth’s layers from pg 10 of Textbook, “Structure of the Solid Earth”]

[Name and define/describe the four layers]

[answers will vary, depending on individual student response]