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Introduction to the Earth

Chapter 1

Lesson Overview
Earth in the solar system Size and shape of the Earth The Geographic Grid Location: Latitudes and longitudes Latitudes Significant latitudes and regions of the World Longitudes the Prime Meridian; IDL Geographic coordinates

The Solar System

Solar System Formation
Animation (Solar System Formation)

Fig. 1-4

Solar System Planets Elliptical Orbits

Fig. 1-5

Planets of the Solar System

Fig. 1-6

The Size and Shape of Earth

3rd Rock from the Sun Size
Diameter - 8,000 miles (12,900 km) 5th largest diameter

Fig. 1-6 (cropped)

Size and Shape

Earth one of 8 planets! Radius of the earth 4000 miles (6400 kilometers) Highest point on the Earth 29000 feet (8800 meters) above sea level (Mt. Everest) Lowest point 36000 feet (11000 meters) below sea level (Mariana Trench) Vertical distance between these two points 12 miles (20 Km)

Earths Maximum relief (Highest point minus lowest point =12 Miles)

Some accepted descriptions of the Earths Shape

Sphere least accurate Oblate elliptical more accurate Geoid or oblate spheroid Most accurate takes into account all aspects

Earth almost but not quite spherical (sphere) Polar diameter 7900 miles (12,714 KM) Flattened at the poles by centripetal force Equatorial diameter 7927 miles (12,757KM) A bulge at the equator by centrifugal force Shape can thus be perfectly described as an OBLATE SPHEROID rather than a true sphere

Centripetal force (causes flattening at poles)

Centrifugal force (causes bulge at Equator)

Earths shape An Oblate Spheroid or Geoid

Not perfectly round:

Equatorial diameter > Polar diameter

Equatorial circumference is more round than polar

Earths shape: Imperfect sphere

Fig. 1-8

Earths Maximum relief (Highest point minus lowest point =12 Miles)

The Geographic Grid

Location of features, places, etc needs a standard system System of accurate location of features on earths surface Identifying lines that intersect at right angles Ball and needle example

The Geographic Grid

Grid System
Network of intersecting lines Coordinate system

Fig. 1-9

Spatial References
Equatorial plane North and South Poles

Fig. 1-10

Great and Small Circles

Great Circle: Largest circle that can be drawn on a sphere Only one great circle to connect any 2 points not diametrically opposite Arc joining 2 points represents shortest route Such routes on earth called great circle routes

Fig. 1-11

Geographic grid
The grid system of the Earth is called a graticule and consists of lines of latitudes and longitudes




Fig. 1-18

Location: Latitudes

a reference frame

Latitude: E-W line, (lines of parallel) Distance (angle) from Equator (N or S)

Lines of latitude and longitude intersect at 90



North-south location 0-90 Degrees, minutes, seconds Parallels

Fig. 1-12

Seven significant latitudes

Fig. 1-13 and 14

Seven significant latitudes (parallels)

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. North Pole (90N) Arctic Circle (66.5N) Tropic of Cancer (23.5N) Equator (0) Tropic of Capricorn (23.5S) Antarctic Circle (66.5S) South Pole (90S)


Regions on Earth (Latitude bands)

Low latitude 0 30 N and S Mid latitude 30 60 N and S High latitude 60 90 N and S Equatorial within a few degrees of the equator Tropical within the tropics between 23.5 N and 23.5 S Subtropical 25 30 N and S Polar within a few degrees of the North and South Pole

Location: Longitudes

Longitude: N-S line, Equal angles around globe, measured from 0 (prime meridian, Greenwich meridian) Range: 0-180E, 0-180W 180- International Date Line (I.D.L)

East-west location 0-180 Degrees, minutes, seconds Meridians

Fig. 1-16

Prime Meridian (0)

Fig. 1-17



PM 0o



The International Date Line (IDL) - (180)



IDL 180o



Geographic Coordinates
Specify a point: Latitude and Longitude E.g. Florence, AL: 34 49 40 N, 87 39 54 W Note: 1. N given first 2. 60 (minutes) = 1 3. 60 (seconds) = 1

EX: Using Lat-Long to give location

Plot the coordinates of the following points: a) b) c) d) e) f) g) h) i) j)

a c e d f

g i j h

(Position of one thing from another)

No natural universal directions in space-no reference lines/surfaces Horizontal directions-based on the rotation of the Earth
Establishes the positions of North and South and equator Construct reference points to state horizontal directions

Vertical directions-Earth's gravitational force Such that :

North-Straight line direction from any point toward the North pole South-Straight line direction from any point toward the South pole East/West-direction perpendicular to the North or South or parallel to the Equator

Directional Systems
2 types:Azimuthal and Mariners compass

2 types: Azimuthal and Mariners compass 1. Azimuth: States direction in degrees progressing in a clockwise direction 0 and 360 being North; 180 - South 2. Mariners Compass: States directions as portions of the cardinal directions (N, E, S, W)
Used for:

Ship navigation Weather reports-wind direction

1. Azimuth System
360, 0
315 45






2. Mariners Compass NW WNW W





SI (Metric) units
Quantity Length Mass Name meter Kilogram Abbrev English m Kg C Ha L 3 feet 2.2 pounds 9/5F 2.5 acres 1 quart

Temperature (celsius) Area Volume Hectare Liter

Metric Scale of Units

10-9 10-6 10-3 10-2 10-0
1/1,000 1/100 1 1,000




nano micro mili

centi UNIT Kilo

Mega Giga

E.g. 1,000 m = 1 Kilometer = 1 Km 1/1,000 m = 1 milimeter = 1 mm 1/1,000 l = 1 mililiter = 1 ml

Useful relationships
1 cm3 (cubic centimeter) = 1 gram 1,000 cm3 water = 1 liter = 1 kilogram 1meter=100cm 1000m=1km 1ft=12inches 1mile=63,360inches (5280ft) 1mile=1.6km (How many meters?)

Lesson Review
Earth in the solar system Size and shape of the Earth The Geographic Grid Location: Latitudes and longitudes Latitudes Significant latitudes and regions of the World Longitudes the Prime Meridian; IDL Geographic coordinates Direction

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