Ecosphere (planetary)

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"The Blue Marble" photograph of Earth, taken by the Apollo 17 lunar mission. The Arabian peninsula, Africa and Madagascar lie in the upper half of the disc, whereas Antarctica is at the bottom.
A view of the Earth's ecosphere

An ecosphere is a planetary closed ecological system. In this global ecosystem, the various forms of energy and matter that constitute a given planet interact on a continual basis. The forces of the four Fundamental interactions cause the various forms of matter to settle into identifiable layers. These layers are referred to as component spheres with the type and extent of each component sphere varying significantly from one particular ecosphere to another. Component spheres that represent a significant portion of an ecosphere are referred to as a primary component spheres. For instance, Earth's ecosphere[1][2] consists of five primary component spheres which are the Geosphere, Hydrosphere, Biosphere, Atmosphere, and Magnetosphere.

Types of component spheres[edit]


The layer of an ecosphere that exists at a Terrestrial planet's Center of mass and which extends radially outward until ending in a solid and spherical layer known as the Crust (geology).


The total mass of water, regardless of phase (e.g. liquid, solid, gas), that exists within an ecosphere. It's possible for the hydrosphere to be highly distributed throughout other component spheres such as the geosphere and atmosphere.


All living organisms that exist within a given ecosphere.


The layer of an ecosphere that exists as a gas. The atmosphere is the most distant component sphere of matter from the planet's Center of mass, beyond which is Outer space.


The magnetic field of an ecosphere along with the charged particles that are being controlled by that magnetic field.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "A Lexicon of the Spheres" (PDF). Oregon State University.
  2. ^ "ESO 2 Science 11: The Ecosphere and the Ecosystems". Science Helpdesk.