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The Origins of the Earth.

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Introduction

Lena Tran 11A

The Origins of the Earth

Introduction

Since ancient times, the Earth’s age has been estimated many times, which vary with great length – some from 6000 to millions of years. It wasn’t until 1953 when two scientists, Clair C. Patterson and F.G. Houtermans found evidence which proved the Earth’s age to be approximately 4.6 billion years. I will concentrate on how the Earth was created, the atmospheric changes and other important factors relating to the origins of the Earth.

The Beginning

There are many theories on how the universe, made up of many solar systems, stars and planets, was created. There is the religious belief, claiming that God was the one who created the Universe and there is the scientific belief of “The Big Bang”. This was the theory that billions of years ago, all matter was compressed into one extremely dense spot which suddenly “exploded” and caused it to expand. Evidence for this is that scientists have observed the movements of the planets and galaxies, and they have found that they are moving away from each other. This means that there must have been some force at the centre of the universe – like a big bang. This was approximately 15 billion years ago.

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Middle

Most of the carbon from the carbon dioxide in the air became locked up in sedimentary rocks as carbonates and fossil fuels. Carbon also dissolved into the oceans. This, along with the photosynthesis, slowly reduced the levels of carbon dioxide.

The ammonia and methane (from the eruptions of the volcanoes) were now in the atmosphere and reacted with the oxygen to create nitrogen.

The oxygen from the photosynthesis was taken out again as soon as it had been produced. This was because of the reactions with other elements, such as iron. This continued until about 2.1 billion years ago when the concentration of oxygen increased markedly.

The oxygen levels built up until it created the ozone layer. The ozone layer filtered out the harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun which allowed the evolution of new living organisms to develop.

The Earth’s atmosphere now is:

  • 21% Oxygen
  • 78% Nitrogen
  • 0.04% Carbon Dioxide
  • 0.9% Argon

Underneath the Earth

As the Earth condensed, it heated up and began to melt. The impacts from meteorites added to the increasing heat. Molten rocks separated to form a crust, mantle, outer core and inner core.

The crust is the surface layer.

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Conclusion

At transform–fault boundaries, the plates move horizontally past each other. This causes

the plates to scrape across each other which then creates earthquakes.

This is the reason why earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are more likely to be found at the boundaries of the plates.image04.png

This picture shows the boundaries of the plates. England is on the Eurasian plate.

Evidence for this theory is the shape of the world itself. Some parts (such as Africa and South America) look like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle – they look like they were once joined. We have also found the same fossils on the coast of West Africa and East South–America.

Conclusion

In this piece of writing, I have learnt how the earth was created 4.6 billion years ago and how it was formed. I have also learnt the evolution of the Earth’s atmosphere, from being toxic to habitable. I now know the structure of the Earth in more detail and that the movements of the Tectonic plates. 250 million years later, The Earth will be a very different place from how it is now. Because the tectonic plates are moving away from each other, they will eventually collide once again and cause another pangea. This is an image of how it may look like.

image05.png

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