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Syllabus and daily outline for the "evolution of Earth" unit
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• Develop the concept of the earth system existing in a state of dynamic equilibrium. While certain properties of the earth system may fluctuate on short or long time scales, the earth system will generally stay within a certain narrow range for millions of years.
• This long-term stability can be understood through the working of planetary geochemical cycles and the feedback processes that help to maintain or modify those cycles.
• The sun, the earth, and the rest of the solar system formed from a nebular cloud of dust and gas 4.6 billion years ago. The early earth was very different from the planet we live on today.
• Observing rock sequences and using fossils to correlate the sequences at various locations can estimate geologic time. Current methods include using the known decay rates of radioactive isotopes present in rocks to measure the time since the rock was formed.
• Interactions among the solid earth, the oceans, the atmosphere, and organisms have resulted in the ongoing evolution of the earth system.
• We can observe some changes such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions on a human time scale, but many processes such as mountain building and plate movements take place over hundreds of millions of years.