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Portal:Earth sciences

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The Earth Sciences Portal

Introduction

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Earth science or geoscience is a widely embraced term for the fields of natural science related to the planet Earth. It is the branch of science dealing with the physical constitution of the earth and its atmosphere. Earth science is the study of our planet’s physical characteristics, from earthquakes to raindrops, and floods to fossils. Earth science can be considered to be a branch of planetary science, but with a much older history. “Earth science” is a broad term that encompasses four main branches of study, each of which is further broken down into more specialized fields.

There are both reductionist and holistic approaches to Earth sciences. It is also the study of the Earth and its neighbors in space. Some Earth scientists use their knowledge of the Earth to locate and develop energy and mineral resources. Others study the impact of human activity on Earth's environment, and design methods to protect the planet. Some use their knowledge about Earth processes such as volcanoes, earthquakes, and hurricanes to plan communities that will not expose people to these dangerous events.

The Earth sciences can include the study of geology, the lithosphere, and the large-scale structure of the Earth's interior, as well as the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere. Typically, Earth scientists use tools from geography, chronology, physics, chemistry, biology, and mathematics to build a quantitative understanding of how the Earth works and evolves. Earth science affects our everyday lives. For example, meteorologists study the weather and watch for dangerous storms. Hydrologists study water and warn of floods. Seismologists study earthquakes and try to predict where they will strike. Geologists study rocks and help to locate useful minerals. Earth scientists mainly work “in the field”—climbing mountains, exploring the seabed, crawling through caves, or wading in swamps. They measure and collect samples (such as rocks or river water), then they record their findings on charts and maps. Read more...

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A geyser (/ˈɡzər/, UK also /ˈɡ-/) is a spring characterized by intermittent discharge of water ejected turbulently and accompanied by steam. As a fairly rare phenomenon, the formation of geysers is due to particular hydrogeological conditions that exist only in a few places on Earth. Generally all geyser field sites are located near active volcanic areas, and the geyser effect is due to the proximity of magma. Generally, surface water works its way down to an average depth of around 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) where it contacts hot rocks. The resultant boiling of the pressurized water results in the geyser effect of hot water and steam spraying out of the geyser's surface vent (a hydrothermal explosion).

A geyser's eruptive activity may change or cease due to ongoing mineral deposition within the geyser plumbing, exchange of functions with nearby hot springs, earthquake influences, and human intervention. Like many other natural phenomena, geysers are not unique to planet Earth. Jet-like eruptions, often referred to as cryogeysers, have been observed on several of the moons of the outer solar system. Due to the low ambient pressures, these eruptions consist of vapor without liquid; they are made more easily visible by particles of dust and ice carried aloft by the gas. Water vapor jets have been observed near the south pole of Saturn's moon Enceladus, while nitrogen eruptions have been observed on Neptune's moon Triton. There are also signs of carbon dioxide eruptions from the southern polar ice cap of Mars. In the latter two cases, instead of being driven by geothermal energy, the eruptions seem to rely on solar heating via a solid-state greenhouse effect. Read more...

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Antarctica
Credit: NASA

Antarctica, the continent surrounding the Earth's South Pole, is the coldest place on earth and is almost entirely covered by ice. Antarctica was discovered in late January 1820. Too cold and dry to support virtually any vascular plants, Antarctica's flora presently consists of around 250 lichens, 100 mosses, 25-30 liverworts, and around 700 terrestrial and aquatic algal species.

In the news

20 July 2018 – 2018 Gaza border protests
Three rockets are fired at Israeli communities from Gaza. Two of them are intercepted by the Iron Dome. (CNN)
17 July 2018 – Gaza–Israel conflict, 2018 Gaza border protests
The Israel Defense Forces are instructed to prepare for a large-scale military offensive in Gaza if demands for Hamas to halt the launches of flaming kites, incendiary devices and rocket attacks are not met by Friday. (The Times of Israel)
16 July 2018 – 2018 lower Puna eruption
23 passengers on a tour boat in Hawaii are injured after a lava bomb from the Kīlauea volcano punctures the roof of the vessel. (KABC-TV)
15 July 2018 – 2018 lower Puna eruption
A tiny island of lava forms north of the Kapoho ocean entry on Hawaii island. (Star Advertiser)
10 July 2018 – Tham Luang cave rescue
Divers in Thailand rescue the remaining four boys and their coach from the Tham Luang Nang Non cave. (Channel NewsAsia)
9 July 2018 – Tham Luang cave rescue
Divers in Thailand rescue four more boys from the cave Tham Luang Nang Non bringing the total to 8 rescued. (ABC News)

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Climate change (More...)

Global warming · Rachel Carson · Retreat of glaciers since 1850

Earthquakes (More...)

1949 Ambato earthquake · 1968 Illinois earthquake · 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens · 1997 Qayen earthquake · 2002 Bou'in-Zahra earthquake · 2005 Qeshm earthquake · 2007–2008 Nazko earthquakes

Volcanoes (More...)

1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens · 2007–2008 Nazko earthquakes · Amchitka · Armero tragedy · Calabozos · Cerro Azul (Chile volcano) · Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve · David A. Johnston · Geology of the Lassen volcanic area · Loihi Seamount · Mauna Kea · Mauna Loa · Metacomet Ridge · Mono–Inyo Craters · Mount Cayley volcanic field · Mount St. Helens · Mount Tambora · Nevado del Ruiz · Surtsey · The Volcano (British Columbia) · Upper and Lower Table Rock · Volcano (South Park) · Yellowstone National Park

Other geology (More...)

Mary Anning · Archaea · Archaeopteryx · Cerro Azul (Chile volcano) · Bryce Canyon National Park · Calabozos · Chicxulub crater · Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event · Charles Darwin · Earth · Ediacara biota · Geology of the Bryce Canyon area · Geology of the Capitol Reef area · Geology of the Death Valley area · Geology of the Grand Canyon area · Geology of the Lassen volcanic area · Geology of the Zion and Kolob canyons area · Global warming · Iridium · Oil shale · The Volcano (British Columbia) · Toronto Magnetic and Meteorological Observatory · Volcanology of Io · Yellowstone National Park

Geography (More...)

Antarctica · Australia · Bryce Canyon National Park · Carlsbad Caverns National Park · Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve · Death Valley National Park · Geography of India · Geography of Ireland · National parks of England and Wales · Niagara Falls · Rondane National Park · Shoshone National Forest · Yellowstone National Park · Yosemite National Park · Zion National Park

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For a more comprehensive treatment of topics, see Outline of earth science and Index of earth science articles

Atmosphere Hydrosphere Lithosphere
Biosphere Systems Others
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