The Earth Sciences Portal

Introduction

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Earth science or geoscience includes all 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” encompasses four main branches of study, the lithosphere, the hydrosphere, the atmosphere, and the biosphere, 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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The Cretaceous–Paleogene (K–Pg) extinction event, also known as the Cretaceous–Tertiary (K–T) extinction, was a sudden mass extinction of some three-quarters of the plant and animal species on Earth, approximately 66 million years ago. With the exception of some ectothermic species such as the leatherback sea turtle and crocodiles, no tetrapods weighing more than 25 kilograms (55 lb) survived. It marked the end of the Cretaceous period and with it, the entire Mesozoic Era, opening the Cenozoic Era that continues today.

In the geologic record, the K–Pg event is marked by a thin layer of sediment called the K–Pg boundary, which can be found throughout the world in marine and terrestrial rocks. The boundary clay shows high levels of the metal iridium, which is rare in the Earth's crust, but abundant in asteroids. Read more...

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Pterosaur portrayed as spawn of Satan
Pterosaur portrayed as spawn of Satan

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Glacial lakes, Bhutan
Credit: NASA & USGS

Glacier retreat is a type of glacial motion in which more material ablates from its terminus of the glacier than is replenished by flow into that region. In this region of the Bhutan-Himalaya, glacial lakes have been rapidly forming on the surface of the debris-covered glaciers and researchers have found a strong correlation between increasing temperatures and glacial retreat.

In the news

15 October 2018 – Hydraulic fracturing in the United Kingdom
Fracking for shale gas begins in the United Kingdom for the first time since it was suspended in 2011 after being linked to a series of earthquakes. Cuadrilla Resources say they will spend at least three months fracking two horizontal wells in Lancashire. (BBC)
10 October 2018 – 2018 Haiti earthquake
The death toll of a magnitude 5.9 earthquake that struck Haiti rises to 17. (Otago Daily Times)
8 October 2018 – 2018 Haiti earthquake
The death toll of a magnitude 5.9 earthquake that struck Haiti rises to 15. At least 333 others are injured. (The Punch)
8 October 2018 – 2018 Major League Baseball season
Boston Red Sox player Brock Holt becomes the first player in MLB history to hit for the cycle during a postseason game. (ESPN) (Bleacher Report)
7 October 2018 – 2018 Sulawesi earthquake and tsunami
The Indonesia's disaster agency confirms the deaths of 1,944 people in the double earthquake and tsunami. 5,000 people are still missing and presumed dead. (ABS-CBN News)
6 October 2018 – 2018 Sulawesi earthquake and tsunami
The death toll of the earthquake and tsunami that struck Sulawesi, Indonesia, rises to 1,649. More than 265 are missing. (The New York Times)

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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

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