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Flashcards in Origin of the Earth and Oceans Deck (25)
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Primary elements composing the sun

Hydrogen (H)
Helium (He)


Primary elements composing Earth

Iron (Fe)
Oxygen (O)
Silicon (Si)
Magnesium (Mg)


Secondary elements composing Earth

Nickel (Ni)
Calcium (Ca)
Sulfur (S)
Aluminum (Al)


Primary elements composing the oceans

Oxygen (O)
Hydrogen (H)


Secondary elements composing oceans

Chlorine (Cl)
Sodium (Na)
Magnesium (Mg)
Sulfur (S)
Calcium (Ca)
Potassium (K)


Primary elements composing the atmosphere

Nitrogen (N)
Oxygen (O)


Secondary elements composing the atmosphere

Argon (Ar)
Hydrogen and oxygen (H20)
Carbon and oxygen (CO2)


Primary elements composing life

Hydrogen and oxygen (H2O)
Carbon (C)


Secondary elements composing life

Nitrogen (N)
Phosphorus (P)


Chemical differentiation

Large-scale separation of chemical elements on the basis if their physical and chemical properties by a variety of processes


Solar system

1) Sun
2) Inner rocky planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, asteroid belt)
3) Outer gas-giants (Jupiter, Saturn)
4) Outer ice-giants (Uranus, Neptune)


Earth: basic composition

1) Core of iron
2) Mantle and crust of rock
3) Oceans
4) Atmosphere


Bulk elemental composition of Earth (percent by mass)

Iron (Fe) 32.0 wt%
Oxygen (O) 29.7 wt%
Silicon (Si) 16.1 wt%
Magnesium (Mg) 15.4 wt%
Nickel (Ni) 1.8 wt%
Calcium (Ca) 1.7 wt%
Aluminum (Al) 1.6 wt%
Sulfur (S) 0.6 wt%


The eight most abundant elements on Earth account for what percent of its total mass?



Bulk elemental composition of the sun (percent by mass)

Hydrogen (H) 75 wt%
Helium (He) 23 wt%


What is Earth's main fuel source today?

Hydrogen (in its hydrogen-burning stage)


First stage of solar system formation

1) A nebula contracts under gravity. As it contracts, the nebula heats, flattens, and spins faster, becoming a spinning disk of dust and gas.
2) Star born at the center
3) Planets form in the disk


Secondary stage of solar system formation

1) H and He remain gaseous but other materials can condense into solid "seeds" for building planets
2) Warm temperatures (inner disk) allow only metal/rock "seeds" to condense in the inner solar system
3) Cold temperatures (outer disk) allow "seeds" to contain abundant ice in the outer solar system


Third stage of solar system formation

1) Solid "seeds" collide and stick together. Larger ones attract others with their gravity, growing bigger still
2) Terrestrial planets are built from metal and rock (inner disk)
3) The seeds if gas giants grow large enough to attract H and He gas, making them into giant, mostly gaseous planets (outer disk); moons form in disks of dust and has that surround the planets


Fate of our sun

Will shine for ~5 billion more years. After it burns through its H, it will begin burning He, creating heavier elements (C and O) becoming a Red Giant. Will eventually cool and contract becoming a white dwarf.


Volatile elements/compounds

Those elements/compounds that tend to form gases, even at relatively now temperatures.

Enriched in the gas giants (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune)


Examples of volatile elements

Hydrogen (H)
Helium (He)
Oxygen (O)
Nitrogen (N)
Neon (Ne)
Argon (Ar)
Krypton (Kr)
Xenon (Xe)
Radon (Rn)


Examples of volatile compounds

Water (H2O)
Carbon dioxide (CO2)
Methane (CH4)
Ammonia (NH3)


Refractory elements

Elements that tend to form solids, even at relatively high temperature.

Enriched in the rocky, or terrestrial, planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars)


Examples if refractory elements

Calcium (Ca)
Aluminum (Al)
Titanium (Ti)
Iron (Fe)
Nickel (Ni)
Cobalt (Co)
Silicon (Si)