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evolution of the atmosphere

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The Evolution of the Atmosphere

The present composition of the atmosphere is 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen and the remaining 1% is made up of Nobel gases and also 0.04 carbon dioxide. As well as these there is also lots of water vapour. Here is how the atmosphere evolved:

  • About 4.5 billion years ago the earth was just evolving and the volcanoes gave out four things: steam, carbon dioxide, ammonia and methane. There was no oxygen around at this time.
  • Two billion years on from this oxygen was produced due to the green plants, which were evolving. The covered most of the earth and removed the carbon dioxide and produced oxygen. Also much of the carbon dioxide dissolved in to the oceans. More nitrogen was also produced from the methane and ammonia reacting with oxygen.
  • During the last billion years or so a lot has changed. The build up of oxygen has taken place and more complex organisms are around to make use of the oxygen the ozone layer has been created which blocks the suns harmful raise. The most important change would be how the amount of carbon dioxide has decrease and there is virtually none left.
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   Acid rain is mainly sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. The nitrogen oxides created from reactions between the nitrogen and oxygen in the air also the heat from burning. These gases then mix with clouds and from two substances: nitric acid and sulphuric acid and the acid rain is produce. The main ways of this damage happen when we use power station and cars.

    The burning of fossil fuels causes the greenhouse effect, which is causing the earth to warm up. Carbon dioxide is produced and is increasing in the atmosphere. In the last 100 years a massive amount of fossil fuels have been burned. Carbon dioxide and a few other gases are trapping heat that is produced by the sun. This means there is an increasing temperature change which is affecting the climate in various ways.flooding and the melting of ice caps are just some of the problems.

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Mountain formation

When the lates move sometimes mountains are formed due to the pressue involved and the rock near the edge of the plates being squashed together. This is also known as folding Example iof this happening are the Alps or the Himalayes. The mountain ranges take many years to form and can be worn down by weathering and erosion.

The oceans were originally made from the condensation of steam billions of years ago. The oceans hold a lot of carbon because large amounts of carbon were absorbed fromm the atmosphere. tHere are three main form of carbon in the oceans

  • Carbon dioxide dissolved in the water
  • Insoluble carbonates eg calcium carbonate
  • Soluble compounds like hydrogen carbonates

The oceans are also becoming saltier however some salts are removed by chemical and biological processes and dropped as sediment. This then turns into rocks. And eventually after millions of years there are washed back into the sea.

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Response to the question

The candidate answers the question to a limited degree. They include good information about the way the early atmosphere formed, but only limited information of the effects of the different rising gas levels today and the reasons for it. ...

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Response to the question

The candidate answers the question to a limited degree. They include good information about the way the early atmosphere formed, but only limited information of the effects of the different rising gas levels today and the reasons for it.

Level of analysis

The candidate starts with a good introduction in the composition of the atmosphere. The candidate outlines the different stages of the evolution of the atmosphere well with the early atmosphere. To improve they should have improved concentrations or possible concentrations of the gases at this time, and diagrams. They explain the concepts of how gases are changing now only to a limited degree, and expansion is needed in places. I'm not sure why the earths structure as been discussed as this is not related to the question at all.

Quality of writing

Minor grammatical errors seen in some places. Otherwise, spelling, grammar and punctuation to a good level. Format of the essay is good but large paragraph spaces between paragraphs should be removed as they are un-necessary.

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Reviewed by skatealexia 14/09/2012

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