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124 Cards in this Set

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First Stage of Planetary Development
Differentiation: The separation of material according to density. Occurred early in Earth's life. Could have been caused by meteorites or the decay of radioactive materials inside Earth.
Different materials
Second Stage of Planetary Development
Cratering: Crushed by meteorites
Third Stage of Planetary Development
Flooding: Began while cratering was still intense. Flooding on Earth was both water and lava
Fourth Stage of Planetary Development
Slow Surface Evolution: Still continuing today, Earth's surface is still changing
Terrestrial Planets
Earth, Mercury, Venus, Mars
Similarities of Terrestrial Planets
All pass through 4 stages of planetary development. Rocky like Earth,made up of rock and metal. Has crust, mantle, core. No Atmosphere or thin atmosphere
How is Earth unique?
Large amounts of liquid water on surface: Causes Intense erosion unseen on other planets.
A strong magnetosphere
Very little carbon dioxide in atmosphere.
Three Ways
Earth's Core
Consists of Mantle, crust, central core
Three Parts
Central Core:
Hot as the Sun, liquid, pressure prevents liquid form vaporizing. Inner and Outer Core
Inner Core
Liquid, 1300km thick
Outer Core
Solid, Nickel and Iron, 2300 km thick
layer of dense rock between molten core and crust. Over 70% of Earth's volume. Temps vary between 500 to 4000 degrees Celsius.
Low density rocks that float on Earth's mantle. Thinnest part of Earth's structure.
The molten metallic core is highly conductive and helps contribute to the Earth's magnetosphere which is the area in which Earth's magnetic field dominates all others
Dominating magneto
Magnetic Field
Guides compasses and protects Earth from high energy particles in space
Natural compound formed through geological processes. Mineral refers to both chemical and physical composition
A soild substance that is a combination of one or more minerals
Igneous Rock
Rock formed from cool molten lava
Sedimentary Rock
Rock formed from deposition of material out of wind, water, ice due to heat and pressure
Oceanic Crust
Crust found underneath the ocean. 5 to 10 km thick. Denser than Continental Crust. Topmost part is thin layer of sedimentary rock. Then Basaltic Rock. Relatively short lived, lasting up to 200 million years.
Reason why oceanic crust is younger than continental.
Oceanic crust is continually being created at the oceanic ridges and pushed forward. It is pushed to the edge of the boundary where oceanic crust meets continental crust at which point (because it is denser than continental crust, it is forced downwards into the mantle.
Oceanic crust....PUSH
Continental Crust
Portion of crust that forms continents and seabeds close to shores. Much thicker than oceanic crust, ranges between 30 to 70 km thick. Made of granite, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks and is the least dense part of teh Earth's surface.
THICK but not dense
Rocky shell that comprises over 70% of the Earth's volume and is the largest componenet of Earth's internal structure. Lies between Core and Crust and is comprised of rocks that are somewhat denser than the crust. Differnces in chemical compositions results in a distinct boundry between the mantle and the crust.
Does the Crust Float on the mantle?
yes and nO. The mantle is made up of differnt materials than the crust and also at much higher pressures and temperatures. The mantle is also less dense than the crust and is less solid, However, it would appear solid to us.
appears no
Tectonic Plates
The plates contain pieces of the lithospheric mantle covered by continental or oceanic crust.
Lithospheric Mantle
The uppermost part of the mantle. It is cooler than the layers underneath and therefore more solid.
Plate Boundaries
Sections were differnt plates meet. The boundaries are associated with volcanoes and earthquakes. There are three types of boundaries; Transform, divergent, and convergent.
Three types
Transform Boundaries
Type of plate boundarie where the plates slide against each other. Known as transform fault.
Divergent Boundaries
Type of plate boundary where plates move away from each other. Known as mid ocean regions.
Convergent Boundary
Type of plate boundary where plates are sliding towards each other forming a subduction zone
Sub de duct
Continental Drift
Speed at which plates move in respect to each other. Slow for human standars but have dramatic affects.
Van Allen Belts
Areas where trapped high-energy particles oscillate back and forth along the field lines. These radiation belts affect sattelites and can be dangerous to humans.
field lines - oscilate
Configuration where the magnetic field has one north pole and one south pole. Lines run from the North to the South pole called field lines. If you were to place a magnet on on of those lines it would travel until it met the corresponding pole. This is how compasses work.
Flow of charged particles from Earth's magnetosphere collides with atoms in the upper reaches of the Earth's atmosphere. The atoms in the atmosphere go to excited states and emit auroral light as they fall down to normal states.
How is the age of the Earth determined?
By radiometric dating. This process can tell you how long since a particular rock or mineral solidified. Measures the concentration of the parent isotope and the half-life of that isotope to measure how long has gone by for the measured amount to remain.
Does the Moon have an atmosphere?
No, it is too small and has a low surface gravity. Since there is no atmosphere, the features are not tainted by erosion, plate tectonics, etc.
Maria (Lunar Mare)
Lowland plains formed by ancient lava flows covered by loose dust. The lava flows have covered the cratering that was once there.
Tidal Coupling
Synchronus rotation is because the Moon's rotation has been slowed by the tidal forces of Earth.
Dividing line between day and night.
Day and night
the border between the lunar surface and space. Because there is no atmosphere the limb is a sharp border.
Layers of dust and crushed rock lying on the Moon's surface
prominent round features covering the Moon and other bodies created by impacts of smaller bodies on larger bodies.
Are there mountain ranges on the Moon?
No, mountain ranges are created by the movement of tectonic plates. There are highly cratered highlenads however,
Is there geological activity on the Moon?
No evidence exists that there is currently geological activity on the Moon, however, there once was lava flows
Giant-Impact Theory
Most commonly accepted theory of the creation of the Moon. A large body collided with Earth and the resultant debris was ejcted into orbit to create the Moon
Does Mercury have an atmosphere?
No, it is too light to have one and has very low surface gravity. There is no weathering or erosion of the surface so it closely resembles our Moon.
Low surface gravity
What are temperatures like on Mercury?
It is very hot in the day because Mercury is so close to the Sun but since there is no atmosphere and since the rotation rate is so slow, night time temperatures drop down significantly
nooo atmosphere so heat....
Mercury Plains
Low lying plains on Mercury, most were created by craters, that were covered by ancient lava flows.
Mercury Craters
Craters are the most prominent feature on Mercury
Whats the most prominent feature on Mercury?
Mercury Mountains
These did not form by tectonic plates such as Earth, but rather are sections of walls of mammoth craters
How where they formed?
Mercury Scarps or Rupe
A transisiton zone between two distinctly different geological regions and involves a large change in evelation.
involves large change in elevation
How where Mercury Scarps formed?
Formed by the uneven shrinking of Mercury's core
The Core
Mercury Ridges or Mercury Dorsa
Raised regions that surround impact craters
Around craters
Mercury Valleys or Valles
Low regions of land surronded by hills or other high regions. They are either rilles or the result of a linked chain of impact craters.
A long, narrow depression in a body's surface, caused by a collapsed lava tube
Mercury's Density
Mercury has about the same density as Earth. This is because of Mercury's large dense core.
More dense than Moon, same size as Moon
Does Mercury have a magnetic field?
Yes, this is because of Mercury's metallic core. However, it is wondered how Mercury kept enough energy to keep the core molten
Properties of Venus
Second largest of planets and second closest to Sun.
Venus's Atmosphere
On teh surface, Venus's atmosphere is over 90 times taht of Earth Because of this, teh air is much denser. Someone walking on Venus would feel like they were walking trhrough liquid. It is completley opaque, so we can see very little of Venus
What is venus's atmosphere made up of?
Carbon Dioxide is the main ingredient in Venus' atmosphere. This is why Venus is so hot, ligh tis trapped by the Carbon Dioxide
Rotation of Venus
Venus and Uranus are the only planets that rotate clockwise. Becuase of this, there are much shorter days on Venus.
What is the majority of Venus's surface features?
Smooth volcanic plains.
Found on Venus, flat topped volcanic features reffered to as pancake domes, believed to be formed as viscous lava pushed up through the crust
A network of fractures that expand away from a central point
Venus' volcanos
More volcanos on surface than Earth,
Properties of Mars
Second smallest of terrestial planets and furthest form the SUn.
Mars's Atmosphere
It has a very thin atmosphere mostly made up of carbon dioxide. It has an atmosphere because it is much colder and the molecules cannot move faster enough to achieve the escape velocity.
Mar's Atmosphere
Mars has a relatively thin atmosphere. It is so thin that water would boil as soon as it was exposed to open air.
How has Mar's atmosphere changed?
It used to be very thick. But as volcanic activity decreased, the rate at which the air replenished itself decreased.
What is Mar's climate like?
It is a lot like Earth, its tilt is around the same so Mar's goes through distinct seasons like Earth. However, it's year, as well as it's seasons, is twice as long as Earth. Temperatures vary more than Earth, however, because of Mar's thin atmosphere.
What are volcanoes on Mars like?
They are 10 to 100x bigger than Earth volcanoes. This is due to higher eruption dates in the past as well as the lack of plate tectonics, so lava piles up on one volcano.
Is there water on Mars?
The current conditions on Mars do not allow for liquid water to be on the planet's surface. The atmospheric pressure is so low that water boils off as soon as it hits open air. However, there is a lot of water frozen at the poles.
The Jovian Planets
Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune
Characteristics of Jovian planets
"Gas Giants,"larger than terrestrial planets, Atmospheres are mostly hydrogen and helium. Lost of natural satellites
Why is Jupiter referred to as a failed star?
Because it has the material of a star but not massive enough to create nuclear fusion at the core
How many satellites does Jupiter have?
Does Venus have a magnetic field?
No spacecraft has detected one. because of this, it is often hit with solar winds
What is the main difference between Venus and Earth?
The lack of water on Venus. Studies show that both Earth and Venus most likely had an atmosphere of carbon dioxide when formed, but Earth's oceans dissolved the CO2 and converted it into sediments such as limestone. Because Venus was closer to the Sun, the small oceans it once had probably dried up.
Does Venus have plate tectonics?
No, the large size of volcanoes shows that the crust is not moving where the volcanoes are. Also, there are few moutain chains.
Does Mars have tectonic plates?
No, it is one big plate, as a result Mars has some of the biggest volcanoes in the world.
What is Mar's atmosphere like?
95% caron dioxide. It contains almost no water or oxygen.
Does Mars have a magnetic field?
No, for this reeason, the solar winds could have carried away some of Mars atmosphere.
What evidence is there that there is ice trapped in Earth's crust?
There are canyons where it seems as if water has drained away below the surface and the ground has collpased.
What is the biggest planet?
What would happen if you added more material to Jupiter?
It would shrink, the weight of any additional material would cause it to collapse
What is Jupiter's atmosphere like?
There is so much hydrogen and helium (100x more than Earth's mass) that the weight of them compresses the inner regions to liquid.
Cloud Layer
The top layer of Jupiter's atmosphere
Liquid Hydrogen
Beneath the cloud layer in Jupiter's atmosphere
Metallic Liquid Hydrogen
The layer of Jupiter's atmosphere after liquid hydrogen. It flows like a liquid but has conducts like a metal.
Rocky Core
Underneath all of Jupiters "atmosphere" it makes up about 3% of Jupiter
Jupiter's rings
The main rings start above teh cloud tops, then the Gossamer rings are the bright outer two rings and appear to be made out of dust.
Jupiter's Magnetic Field
Jupiter's magnetic field is the strongest planetary field in the solar system. It is believed to be created by swirling movements of conductive materials in the metallic hydrogen zone
Sheppard Sattelites
Small moons that orbit near the outer edges of the rings and help maintain a sharp edge to the rings.
IO Plasma Torus
A torus of particles from IO's volcanic eruptions that are trapped in Jupiter's magnetosphere
The closest of Jupiter's moons. Beacuase it is so close, Jupiter's tidal forces are, in essence, kneading Io and creating intense energy in Io. As a result, it is the most volcanically active body in the Solar System.
Io's internal structure
It is most likely a thin crust atop a huge mantle with an iron core.
The smallest of Jupiter's sattellites. Underneath the crust there is an ocean of salt water. This is kept liquid from the energy created by Jupiter's tidal forces.
Europa' internal structure
A thin crust, tehn the ocean, then a rocky interior and a solid metal core.
Largest of Jupiters moons and the largest in the Solar System.
Ganymede's internal structure
It has an ice crust, followed by a warmer ice mantle that possibly includes water, then a rocky mantle and a partially molten iron core
The furthest of Jupiter's satellites and has the oldest surface. Only impact craters have been found so there may be no geological activity.
Callisto's internal structure
Icy crust covering a liquid water ocean followed by a mix of rock and ice, and no core
Properties of Saturn
The sixth planet form the Sun and the second largest of the jovian planets.
What are Saturn's rings made of?
ice particles, rocky debris and dust
How many sattelites does Saturn have?
60 are known so far
Saturn's Rings
D ring: innermost ring, very faint, C ring: faint ring located inside B ring, B ring: the inner of the two brightest rings. Cassini Division: separates B and A ring. it is a gap filled with tiny rings. A ring: the outer most of the 2 brightest and largest rings
One of Saturn's moons and the only Moon with a dense atmosphere. It is the second largest satellite in the Solar System.
Titan's atmosphere
98.4% Nitrogen and 1.6% methane. It is 1.5x as thick as Earth's atmosphere.
Is Titan active?
Yes, most craters have been filled in and it has seas of liquid methane.
What is special about Titan?
It is believed to have aout the same composition as Earth did when it was first formed, However, Earth is closer to teh Sun so therefore it would have been warmer.
The seventh planet. 27 satellites. A faint ring system. A dense atmosphere.
What is Uranus's atmosphere like?
It of composed of hydrogen and helium.
What is Uranus's internal structure?
Ices, deep icey and rocky mantle, rocky core.
Why is Uranus blue-green?
Because the red light is absorbed by the methane in it's atmosphere.
Does Uranus have a magnetic field?
Yes, it is believed to be caused by water-methane-ammonium solution in the icy mantle.
Does Uranus have rings?
Yes, they are dark faint rings that are maintained by shepherd satellites. Debris from collisions on the sheppard satellites replenish the rings
One of Uranus's main moons. It is mostly made of ice and 30% silicate rock. It is thought to be geologically active because it does not have many craters
The darkest of Uranus's moons. It is thought not to be geologically active because of the many craters and lack of fault lines.
One of Uranus's moons. It has a giant canyon
The second largest of Uranus's satellites. There is little evidence of geological activity.
One of Uranus's moons. Its surface looks as if it was patch worked together from different types of terrain.
13 satellites so far. Very faint ring system. Dense atmosphere of Helium and Hydrogen
What is the internal structure of Neptune?
Upper atosphere (cloud tops), atmosphere (hydrogen, helium, methane), water, ammonia, methane ices mantle, a core of rock and ice.
One of Neptune's moons-has a nitrogen dominated atmosphere. It is the coldest body anywhere in the solar system. elieved to have intense geological activity.