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Solar System Presentation

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  • The solar system is an interesting and controversial subject. This presentation will cover the formation of the solar system, Earth’s geology, atmosphere, comparison of Earth to terrestrial, minor, and exo-planets; including the other objects that can be detected in the vast universe. Visual reference: Visual reference: (Logotypes101, 2011).
  • The Solar system was formed around 4.55 to 4.56 billion years ago. The explosion of a Supernova created shock waves in space which disturbed the density pattern of a giant molecular cloud of gas and dust. Thus regions of over-density were formed within this cloud of gas and dust or nebula, which underwent gravitational collapse. Due to this gravitational collapse, the pressure and density increased further and the nebula started spinning more rapidly in accordance with the law of conservation of angular momentum. Owing to the forces associated with gravity, gas pressure, and rotation, the contracting nebula began to flatten into a spinning pancake shape with a bulge at the center. Eventually, the nebula grew hotter and denser in the center with a disc of gas and dust surrounding it. Most of the collapsing mass collected in the center formed the Sun, while the rest flattened into a protoplanetary disc, out of which the planets, moons, meteorites etc were gradually formed.
  • hotos above were taken by and are property of Marli Bryant Miller, Eugene, Oregon Brittle Structures: According to "Introduction To Earth Movements And Structures" (2006-2009), “Brittle Deformation of the Crust Brittle deformation results in fracturing of the rocks. There are two principal kinds of fractures: Joints involve fracturing without movement Faults are fractures where rocks on one side of the fracture move relative to the other side. Joints A lot of different types of fractures are lumped together as joints but really are unrelated phenomena: Tectonic joints are caused by regional stresses in the crust and tend to occur in systematic orientations over fairly broad areas. Columnar jointing is the tendency of sheets of igneous rock, usually lava flows but sometimes dikes or sills, to break into polygonal columns due to stresses as the rock cools and shrinks. Exfoliation joints often occur in intrusive rocks. They are most likely due to the rocks forming deep in the crust under pressure. As the rocks are brought to the surface by uplift and erosion, they expand and fracture. Faults Faults are classified according to the kind of motion that occurs on them Strike-Slip Faults are those where the motion is mostly horizontal. They are also sometimes called transcurrent or wrench faults. Left-Lateral  or Sinistral faults are those where the opposite side of the fault appears to move to the left Right-Lateral or Dextral faults are those where the opposite side of the fault appears to move to the right Dip-Slip Faults are those where the motion is mostly vertical. Normal Faults are those where the fault motion results in extension of the crust. Reverse Faults are those where the fault motion results in shortening or compression of the crust. These faults are often called thrust faults. Oblique-Slip Faults are those with both horizontal and vertical movement.” (Brittle Deformation of the Crust). Active Tectonics: According to University of California Riverside  (2010), “Active tectonics is the study of how tectonic processes are occurring at the present day. We seek to investigate how the motions of the plates are accommodated by faults, earthquakes and other structures on the edges and interiors of continents, and in so doing develop an understanding of the processes and rheologies involved in continental deformation. We pursue these aims using various complementary datasets, such as space geodesy (InSAR and GPS), remote sensing, seismology, geomorphology and field geology. Current study areas include northern and southern California, Tibet, Iran (e.g. the area surrounding the 2003 Bam earthquake, see right) and Central America. The Active Tectonics group is very closely related to other groups working on the mechanics of faulting and earthquakes. We participate in the wider program of Earthquake Processes and Geophysics within the Earth Sciences department at UC Riverside.” (The Hills are Alive). Unconformities: According to "Cliffsnotes" (2000-2011), “An unconformity is a contact between two rock units in which the upper unit is usually much younger than the lower unit. Unconformities are typically buried erosional surfaces that can represent a break in the geologic record of hundreds of millions of years or more. For example, the contact between a 400-million-year-old sandstone that was deposited by a rising sea on a weathered bedrock surface that is 600 million years old is an unconformity that represents a time hiatus of 200 million years. The sediment and/or rock that was deposited directly on the bedrock during that 200-million-year span was eroded away, leaving the “basement” surface exposed. There are three kinds of unconformities: disconformities, nonconformities, and angular unconformities.” (Unconformities). Ductile Structures: According to "Introduction To Earth Movements And Structures" (2006-2009), “Ductile Deformation of the Crust Important effects of ductile deformation in the crust include: Folds Shear Zones. These are probably the deep levels of faults, where ductile rather than brittle deformation occurs. Diapirs. These are formed when especially ductile rocks force their way through adjacent rocks. Salt very commonly forms diapirs, but many intrusive rocks are intruded this way as well. Diapirs can rise because of buoyancy or they can be pushed by tectonic forces Minor Structures. These occur on scales from microscopic to a few meters, and are useful because they provide clues to larger structures. Important structures include: Foliation: sheetlike texture due to flattening of the rock Lineation: elongation of the rock in one direction resulting in a linear structure Small folds: especially asymmetric folds produced by shearing Boudinage: tensional breakup of rock layers Deformed structures of known original shape, like fossils or concretions Rotation and shear-sense indicators Strain shadows: gaps produced when the surrounding rock pulls away from a rigid object like a pyrite crystal.” (Ductile Deformation of the Crust).
  • According to "Clouds R Features" (2011) “Atmosphere... The Earth is surrounded by a blanket of air called the atmosphere. The atmosphere is made up of various gases that act as a protective shield for the Earth and allow life to exist. Without it, we would be burned by the intense heat of the sun during the day or frozen by the very low temperatures at night. Composition... More than three quarters of the atmosphere is made up of nitrogen and most of the rest is oxygen.  However it is the remaining 1%, a mixture of carbon dioxide, water vapour and ozone, that not only produces important weather features such as cloud and rain, but also has considerable influence on the overall climate of the Earth,through mechanisms such as the greenhouse effect and global warming.  (Stay with us and we'll learn more about the changing climate in a later section!) Pressure... The atmosphere consists of five layers, held around the planet by the force of gravity. As you move upwards through the layers, atmospheric pressure decreases rapidly with height and the air temperature also changes. It is these, more complicated, changes in temperature which are used to divide the atmosphere into the layers described below. Exosphere…   Above a height of about 500km is the exosphere, a layer where the atmosphere merges into space. Satellites are stationed in this area, 500km to 1000km from Earth. Thermosphere…   The thermosphere is the fourth layer in the atmosphere, between 80km and 110km above the Earth. Space shuttles fly in this area and it is also where the aurora lights are found. Auroras are wispy curtains of light caused when the sun strikes gases in the atmosphere above the Poles. Mesosphere…   Beyond the stratosphere the air is very thin and cold. This area is known as the mesosphere, and is found between 50km and 80km above the Earth’s surface. Stratosphere…   The stratosphere is the second layer of air above the Earth’s surface and extends to a height of 50km. It is here that we find the ozone layer. The ozone layer absorbs much of the sun’s harmful radiation that would otherwise be dangerous to plant and animal life. Troposphere…   The troposphere is the layer closest to the Earth, approximately 11km high. Weather occurs only in the troposphere because it is this layer that contains most of the water vapour. Weather is the way water changes in the air, and so without water there would be no clouds, rain, snow or other weather features. The troposphere is an unstable layer where the air is constantly moving. As a result, aircraft flying through the troposphere may have a very bumpy ride – what we know as turbulence. You may have experienced this when flying before! Because of this turbulence, most jet airlines fly higher above the Earth in the stratosphere. Here the air is more still and clear as they can fly above the clouds.   Although the atmosphere extends to a height of 1000km, it is nevertheless still very important for life on the surface of the Earth.  This is because of something known as air pressure, which we will learn more about on the next page.”  (The Earth's Atmosphere).
  • Terrestrial planets are those that are rocky and could actually support an astronaut standing on them. Other planets are made of gas and simply could not do this. The terrestrial planets are similar to earth in this regard and all have features like earth. Mountains Valleys Volcanos Metals Etc.
  • Comets, asteroids, and meteors are often grouped together as the objects are composed from similar materials such as small pieces of rock and ice that are not part of a major planet; however, comets, asteroids, and meteor’s are differently categorized objects that can be found in the solar system. Comets are bodies the consist of hard rock, ice, and frozen gases referred to as nucleus. Comets are formed and orbit Oort Cloud and Kuiper Belt; however, the bodies have highly elliptical orbits that bring them close to the Sun (Nine Planets, 2011). Each time the comet comes into contact with the Sun it loses its volatiles and eventually becomes a rocky mass in the solar system, which cause comets to have a short life span. Similar to the comet are asteroid. Asteroids are small rocky objects that consist of a diverse population based on the various sizes and shapes. The asteroids can also be referred to as minor planets or planetoids, which mainly orbit between Mars and Jupiter (Nine Planets, 2011). The largest asteroid is Ceres, which is 933 kilometers across, whereas the smallest asteroids observed are only tens of meters in size (Nine Planets, 2011). Meteorites can be classified in four main categories that include iron, silicated iron, stony-iron, and stone. Iron meteorites are the most rare in the family with a population of about 10%, which are thought to originate from the metallic cores of planets or planetoids (Novaspace, 2011). Silicated iron meteorites possess metal patterns inside due to the clumps and veins of metal and other materials (Novaspace, 2011). Stony-iron meteorites are rare and can be classified of two kinds referred to as mesosiderites and pallasites (Novespace, 2011). Mesosiderites are a conglomeration of stone and metal, whereas pallasites are nickel-iron intersperesed with large crystals of olivine, yellow-green igneous rock, and polished tones (Novaspace, 2011). Stone meteorites are the most common bread and can be classified as two types referred to as chondrites and achondrites (Novaspace, 2011). Meteors are commonly called shooting stars as they are the white tails seen across the sky, which are caused by small pea-sized pieces of inner-planetary dust that burn up when they slam into the Earth’s atmosphere at high speeds (Novespace, 2011). Satellites are man-made objects that can be detected in the solar system. The satellites are sent into the solar system for several purposes such as civilian and military observation, communication, navigation, weather, and research. Per the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), there are approximately 3,000 satellites operating in Earth’s orbit out of roughly 8,000 man-made objects in total (Conjecture Corporation, 2011, p. 1). The largest satellite currently orbiting around the Earth is the International Space Station; the typical satellite operating life span is between 5 to 20 years (Conjecture Corporation, 2011, p. 1).
  • What is a minor-planet? This also includes a minor-planet not being a dwarf planet. Minor-planets are found in asteroids, trojans, centaurs, Kuiper belt objects, and other trans-Neptunian objects. When was minor-plant Shakespeare discovered? He named it after William Shakespeare who was the English dramatist and poet. General Information on Shakespeare. The Koronis Family is a family of asteroids in the main belt between Mars and Jupiter. Contrast to Earth Even though we do not know the dimensions of Shakespeare it is still much smaller than Earth.
  • What is an exo-plant? There are a total of 708 such plants that have been identified. It is now know that some stars have planets, specially half of all Sun-like stars. They were first confirmed in 1995, when a giant planet was found in a four-day orbit around the nearby start 51 Pegasi. General Information on Kepler-22b. There is a very rough estimates to the mass and surface composition which is; It probably is a “Neptunian” gas planet, but it could also be an ocean world with only 10 earth masses. Since it is substantially larger than Earth, its likely to have different compositions. So if it is mostly ocean with a small rocky core, than there is a possibility that life could exist. The temperature depends on if this plant has an atmosphere or not. If it does not they estimate it to be the -11C. If it does have an atmosphere than it is estimate to be the 22C
  • The references provided were used to prepare this presentation. Reference continued Koronis family. (2011). Retrieved December 8, 2011, from Minor Planet. (2011). Retrieved December 8, 2011, from Nine Planets. (2011). Small solar-system bodies. Retrieved December 9, 2011, from Novaspace. (2011). Meteorites types and facts. Retrieved December 9, 2011, from Solar System Formation. (2011). Solar system formations. (CH. 8). Retrieved December 8, 2011, from Terrestrial Planets (2011) Retrieved from: University of California Riverside. (2010). Earth Science: Active Tectonics. Retrieved from


  • 1. Team C: Candy Wungnema, Katrina Fernandez, Ryan Collamore, Brock Hamper and Stacy Spoolstra SCI/151 Piotr Hebda December 12, 2012
  • 2.
    • Today’s best hypothesis: Planet formation in a nutshell
      • Earth, Sun, and rest of Solar System formed from cloud of gas and dust ~ 4.6 billion years ago
      • Properties of individual planets reflect their proximity to the hot proto-sun
      • Some planets have experienced major perturbations and/or collisions
      • Comets and asteroids are debris left over from Solar System formation
    December 12, 2012
  • 3. December 12, 2012 Brittle Structures Active Tectonics Unconformities Ductile Structure
  • 4. December 12, 2012
  • 5. December 12, 2012 There are four terrestrial planets in our Solar System: Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars. The terrestrial planets are also referred to as the inner planets as these planets are the four closest to the Sun. Terrestrial planets are rocky planets. They differ from gas giants, which are the outer most planets. Terrestrial planets are rock and heavy metals. These planets have a cores which is typically iron. Outside the core is a mantle of silicate rock. Terrestrial planets are smaller than the outer planets. Terrestrial planets have varied terrain such as volcanoes, canyons, mountains, and craters. The atmosphere of a terrestrial planet can vary from carbon dioxide atmosphere to almost nothing. The most complex atmosphere is our own and a primary reason our planet supports life Photo: Terrestrial Planets (2011) Retrieved from: /
  • 6.
    • Comets
      • Composed of frozen gases, ice, and dust
      • Forms from and orbits the Oort Cloud and Kuiper Bel t
    • Asteroids
      • Small rocky objects
      • Diverse population
      • Also referred to as minor planets or planetoids
    • Meteorites
      • Four main categories of compositions
      • Meteors can be referred to as “shooting stars
    • Satellites
      • Man-made
      • Approximately 3,000 operating in Earth’s orbit
    December 12, 2012
  • 7.
    • What is a minor-planet?
      • A minor-planet is an object in direct orbit around the Sun that is neither a dominant planet nor a comet.
    • When was minor-plant Shakespeare discovered?
      • Edward L. G. Bowell discovered this minor-planet in 1983.
    • General information on Shakespeare.
      • Shakespeare is a small main belt asteroid.
      • It belongs to the Koronis family
      • It’s temperature is -165k (Kevin scale)
      • Dimensions unknown
    • Contrast to Earth
      • Earth has a climate
      • Earth can sustain life
      • Earth is also much larger than Shakespeare
    • Contrast to other asteroids
      • All asteroids are different in size, shape, color, and distance. When compared to Shakespeare they can be different or some may be the same in some aspects.
      • Asteroids can be rocky or metallic.
    • Contrast to other object
      • Satellites are man made where Shakespeare is not
      • Meteors are consider more of a shooting star and don’t always orbit
    December 12, 2012
  • 8.
    • What is an exo-planet?
      • Exo-planet or extrasolar planet is a planet outside of our Solar System.
    • When was Kepler-22b discovered?
      • It was discovered by NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope in 2009 and announced December 5, 2011.
    • General information on Kepler-22b.
      • Its radius is 2.4 times that of Earth
      • Its mass and surface composition remain unknown.
      • The temperature on the planet is only an estimate of either -11C or 22C.
      • Its parent star is Kepler-22, which is in the constellation Cygnus.
    • Contrast to Earth
      • It is 2.4 times the size of Earth
      • It looks more green in color where as Earth looks blue.
      • It has been said it is the closes resemblance of Earth, but still is speculation.
    • Contrast to asteroids
      • Asteroids are much smaller compared to Kepler-22b or Earth.
      • Asteroids are rocky and metallic. Kepler-22b may be a gas planet or a ocean planet.
    • Contrast to other objects.
      • Comets are made up of frozen gas, ice, and dust
      • Moons are like small planets that orbit the main planet.
    December 12, 2012
  • 9.
    • 2985 Shakespeare. (2011). Retrieved December 8, 2011, from
    • Astronomy. (2011). Solar system formation. Retrieved December 8, 2011, from
    • Cliffsnotes. (2000-2011). Retrieved from,articleId-9497.html
    • Clouds R Features. (2011). Retrieved from
    • Conjecture Corporation. (2011). How many satellites are orbiting the earth? Retrieved December 9, 2011, from
    • Extrasolar planet. (2011). Retrieved December 8, 2011, from
    • Introduction to Earth Movements and Structures. (2006-2009). Retrieved from
    • Kepler-22b. (2011). Retrieved December 8, 2011, from
    December 12, 2012