YEAR END PROJECT: ATLAS OF GEO
EVOLUTION AND ANATOMY THE EARTH
-Big bang hypotheses and Steady state:
-Astronomers generally agree that time and the universe began approximate 15 to 20 billion years ago when unimaginably dense matter ripped apart in a “big
-This explosion sent matter speeding outward in all directions at enormous speeds. As it hurled outwards during the birth of the universe, this matter clustered
together to form up to 100 billion galaxies
-To this very day, these galaxies continue to speed away from one another, enlarging the universe
-The Big bang hypothesis suggests that there are two possibilities for the future of the universe. It could continue to expand forever, or , it could eventually slow
down and stop expanding. If the second possibility were to occur, the universe would being to fall back into its centre, recreating the dense “cosmic egg”
from which it began, and then would restart the Big Bang Theory.
-Based on present knowledge, astronomers believe that the Big bang hypothesis has a 90 percent certainty rating
-The Steady-State hypothesis is the only other explanation of the origin of the universe that has gathered any significant acceptance by astronomers
-This hypothesis suggests that fresh hydrogen is created steadily in the voids of space from nothing. This hydrogen becomes the raw material that creates new
starts which replace old, dying ones. These new stars fill the spaces left by the steadily expanding universe
-The Steady-State hypothesis suggests a universe without a beginning and without a end
-Origins of the Earth:
-The young earth formed from the accretion of dust particles and gases
-After the solar wind swept away the remaining interplanetary dust and gases, accretion continued as meteorites and planetesimals collided with the
earth, adding to its mass
-The materials that fell to earth were mainly made up of oxides of silicon, iron, magnesium, and metallic iron, with small amounts of radioactive elements also
-The melting of the interior occurred as a result of the accumulated heat of gravitational energy and, more importantly, due to heat from the decay of radioactive
isotopes of elements such as uranium, thorium, and potassium within the earth’s interior
-Once the earth’s interior melted, the heavier elements of iron and nickel were attracted inward to form a very dense core
-The lighter elements and compounds such as silicon, magnesium, and aluminum moved outward to make up the mantle and crust of the young planet
-Differentiation of this type, which led to layers within the earth’s interior, could only occur in a liquid or semi-liquid body
-The earliest signs of life on earth are rocks 3.5 to 3.8 billion years old
-Early life forms had to adapt to a world with little or no free oxygen and the oceans provided the most favorable conditions
-PANGEA = once when the world’s continent would all fit together until they cracked and drifted apart
EVOLUTION AND ANATOMY THE EARTH
Big Bang Theory
ANATOMY OF THE EARTH
The lithosphere is the rigid outer crust of the earth. The rocks of this area are less dense and more rigid than those of the
asthenosphere (upper part of the mantle)
The name given to the continental crust. Less dense than oceanic crust. The most common rocks of the Sial are the granitic rocks
The name given to the oceanic crust. More dense than the continental crust. The most common rocks in the Sima are the basaltic
Extends from the bottom of the lithosphere to a depth of 2900 kilometers and makes up approximately 83% of the earth’s volume.
Rocks of the mantle are predominately periotite, a rock high in iron, silicon, and magnesium. On the ocean floor, the mantle
may be as little as 7 kilos below the surface of the earth but under the continents the average depth is 32 kilometers. The
density of the mantle increases as you near the core of the earth. Temperatures in the lower regions of the mantle are very
high but the intense pressure prevents the rocks from melting
-Mohorovicic Discontinuity (Moho):
Boundary between the lithosphere and mantel
A weak, plastic-like, partly molten layer of the upper mantel directily below the lithosphere
-Centrosphere (core-includes inner and outer core)
Consists of iron and nickel and is thought to be permanently molten
A solid ball of iron and nickle. The pressure is so great the core cannot melt
5 THEMES OF GEOGRAPHY & CAREERS
Location may be relative or absolute. Relative location would tell you approx where the place is located. Absolute gives you the exact global position of an area
in latitude and longitude
There are no two places exactly the same in the world, each has its own unique characteristics. Both physical and human characteristics are included in this
Includes landforms, vegetation, water, soil, climate and the animals that inhabit a place
A place includes what people have done to change the place by building homes and making a living
The physical environment in all places creates challenges. People modify it for their advantage, often with negative impacts
Today’s technology has transformed movement into a web of global interaction. The ease and speed of travel today takes people to all parts of the world on
business and pleasure. Resources and manufactured goods also move easily around the world. Animals move to find food sources and migrate with the
seasons. Birds that fly or swim can travel tremendous distances. But the scope of this theme is far more diverse than the local and international movement
of people, animals and goods around the global community. Wind patterns, ocean currents and tides, tectonic plate movement, landslides, lava flows and
moving glaciers are all common movements of our dynamically active planet. These all fall under geographic theme of movement.
There are many different types of regions but in the study of physical geography, mountain ranges, biomes such as world deserts or rain forests, and specific
climate types are a few that come to mind. Agricultural regions are often defined by a specific crop that is grown. Studying regions allows geographers to
better understand how humans have adapted to living in varied conditions around the world.
5 THEMES OF GEOGRAPHY & CAREERS
The Geographer by Johannes
Location Marsh: A
By the 1960’s the theory of plate tectonics emerged. Evidence of continental drift began to surface and scientists generally
believed that the rigid plates of the earth were traveling on a weak, plastic-like zone in the upper part of the mantle.
This partly molten zone became known as the asthenosphere.
-Mid-Ocean ridge and transform faults
- Consists of a number of segments that are offset from one another. A crack appears in the ocean floor between one
section of the mid-ocean ridge and another. They form special faults known as transform faults
-African Rift Valley
- The African rift valley is the greatest continental crack in the earth’s crust
- The rift runs from Turkey along the Dead and Red seas through eastern Africa south to the Zambezi River
-Converging Plates (coming together)
- Where two plates of different density move toward each other, one plate will eventually be forced down under the
- As plates come together a great deal of pressure is generated between the two plates, and finally one plate is forced
to slide under the other plate
- At this zone, known as the subduction zone, the land that is reclaimed by the mantle is some of the oldest land on
- Millions of years earlier this land was formed at the mid-ocean ridge
- This area of collision between the two plates is commonly marked by an ocean trench, as the diving plate pulls down
the leading edge of the plate it has come up against
- These trenches are the deepest part s of our oceans. This type of plate boundary is sometimes referred to as
destructive or converging plate boundry
-Faulting and Folding:
- forces of compression and tension play a key role in folding and faulting of rock layers
- upfolds referred to as anticlines and downfolds synclines
- Fissure eruptions are volcanic eruptions that do not involve a volcanic cone. Fissure refers to a simple crack in the
lithosphere, from which molten volcanic rock may spew.
- Shield cone volcanoes occur predominately on ocean floors, have gentle slopes, and may be many kilometers in diameter.
These volcanoes are made of fluid basaltic lava, which tends to flow like wet concrete, therefore violent eruptions
characteristic of continental volcanoes do not occur in shield eruptions
-Cinder cone volcanoes
- Cinder cone volcanoes are predominantly found on continents, they have steep sides, and consist of layers of cinders and
ash. Violent explosive eruptions ensue
- volcanoes, andesitic ones especially, erupt different materials at different times. They are built up layer-cake fashion out of
lava and ash. Most of the volcanoes formed over subduction zones are composite volcanoes
- Stress deformed rocks break or release pressure by elastic rebound and suddenly shift position, sever shaking of the ground
may occur. This shaking is caused by seismic waves, which origin at at the location where the fracture and resulting sudden
shift in the rock occurred
- The exact point where a rock fracture occurs is known as the focus. The focus may vary in depth and can be as deep as
about 700 kilometers at locations where a plate is diving into the mantel
- The epicenter is locate on the surface of the earth directly above the focus point
- The distance between the focus and epicenter is the focal depth, which varies greatly from one quake to another
- Surface of the earth is divided into seven major plates and several smaller ones. As plates move and grind against one
another, enormous stress is put on the earth’s crust often resulting in additional cracks or faults forming. Movement at these
faults is not always smooth, and the fault may even become locked. When this occurs pressure may build for a long time,
deforming the rock surface at the locked location. A time will come when pressure is too great and rock suddenly moves,
releasing the stored up energy. This is elastic rebound
EARTH UNDER THE SEA
-Sea Floor spreading
- New land continuously being created at mid-ocean ridges as evidenced
by the slow movement of the plates in opposite directions
- As plates move, new magma pushing up from the asthenosphere
- The rock solidifies, and becomes part of the spreading plate. It is
interesting to note that the two plates moving in opposite directions from
the rift zone are mirror images of each other
- shallow, flat areas which extend from the shoreline to the drop-off at the
trench are referred to as continental shelves. Continental shelves are
generally sedimentary rock created from sediment carried down to the
ocean by rivers. Along shorelines where there are no subduction
zones, as along the east coast of North America, the continental shelves
extend far out to sea. The entire Pacific Ocean shoreline from south
America up to Alaska and south past Japan and the Philippines is lined
with subduction zones, therefore, continental shelves are not very wide
because of the deep ocean trench located a short distance offshore
- Island of coral that encircles a lagoon
EARTH UNDER THE SEA
Atafu atoll in Tokelau in the Pacific
Sea Floor Spreading
- Water covers approximately 75% of the surface of our planet and 97% of that water is salt water
- The ocean conveyer, consisting of many ocean currents around the globe, regulates world temperatures by transporting heat from equatorial regions
towards the poles. If there were no ocean currents to transfer heat away from the equator, some temperate climates such as found in parts of Europe
would be more like central Russia in the winter months where temperatures commonly fall as low as -50c. Oceans are also the starting point for the
- Water evaporating from the oceans enter the atmosphere as water vapor, which condenses to form clouds, and rain or snow falls back to earth
- Oceans also act as enormous carbon sinks and producers of oxygen
- Microscopic plants living near the surface of the ocean, called phytoplankton, are responsible for the production of aprox. 25% of the world’s oxygen
- Subsurface water includes all water below the surface, but ground water is thought of as the water in the saturated zone
- In this location the rock is 100% saturated so it will not accept any more water
- Permeability refers to how fast water can pass through rock layers.
- Rocks such as sandstone readily absorb water but other rocks are totally impermeable and allow no water though.
- Porosity refers to the proportion of open spaces in the soil material. Soil porosity can change over time as water transported sediment accumulates in the
empty spaces. Often these spaces are not filled completely with water but with a combo of air and water
- The continual movement of water from the oceans into the atmosphere, back to earth, and into the ocean again is referred to as the water or hydrologic
cycle. As water is evaporated from the oceans it leaves behind the salt so the entire water cycle involves fresh water
- The oceans supply the greatest amount of water vapor to the atmosphere but some also comes from continental sources
- Evaporation from lakes and rivers and transpiration from vegetation adds considerable water vapor and atmosphere
- When moist air rises, it cools and the water vapor condenses to form clouds
- Wind carries clouds over the continents and some of the moisture comes down as rain or snow
- Much of the rain falls into the lakes rivers or infiltrates into the ground
- Runoff from lakes and rivers returns water back to the ocean in a reasonably short time, but water that enters underground aquifers will take much longer
to complete the water cycle
-Denudation is a term used to describe the process by which material is removed through the means of
erosion and weathering
-Physical Weathering refers to the break up of rocks into small particles without changing its chemical
- Examples of physical weathering are:
- Frost shatter (water freezes in cracks, expands)
- Thermal expansion (fluctuations in temperatures cause expansion and contraction)
- Exfoliation (upper layers of sediments are removed allowing pressure release)
-Chemical Weathering refers to the decay of rock so that the chemical composition of the rock is
-Examples of Chemical Weathering are:
-Solution (water absorbs CO2, mildly acidic)
-Hydrolysis (ions of water replace ions of silicate)
-Oxidization (oxygen dissolved in water changes iron into iron oxide)
-Ways to stabilize slopes: long bolts into ground, concrete spray, terracing
-Types of Mass Wasting:
-Scree (frost shattering causes particles to fall off cliffs accumulating at bottom)
-Soil Creep (soil slowly moves downhill)
-Landslide (a rapid movement of soil down slope)
-Mud flow (form of mass wasting where a soil absorbs to much water and flows down as liquid would)
- Rivers and Valleys
-Humid Landscapes are regions located mostly around the flood plains of major rivers.
-A flood plain is the total area of where a river may erode, whether it be through meanders or river flow from a youth
river to an old age one.
-A river erodes through traction, saltation, and suspension
-Karst Landscapes are regions containing highly water soluble rock.
-Water running beneath is very common creating underground caves and rivers
-Water can create indentations in the ground called sinkholes, uvulas, or poljes
-Stalagmites and stalactites form on the inside of the caves from droplets of limestone when the droplet solidifies.
- Coastal landscapes are situated on the boundaries of continents and islands.
- Erosion causes bays, headlands, arches, stacks, and pillars
-Arid landscapes are similar to karst landscapes but without the vulnerable soluble rocks.
-Wind and water play a major role of erosion in arid landscapes creating alluvial fans , playas, ergs, buttes, and other
-Changing winds create four different kinds of sand dunes in the desert known as, barchan, parabolic, transverse, and
- Glacial landscapes erode the most land out of the natural landscapes
-Glaciers themselves advance and retreat creating formations such as cirques, arêtes, horns, crevasses, cols, and
-glaciers also leave remnants called an outwash plain with formations such as eskers, drumlins, erratics, and terminal
-Periglacial landscapes are features resulting from the action of intense frost, often combined with the presence of
Periglacial landforms are restricted to areas that experience cold but essentially nonglacial climates
-Latitude plays a role in temperatures and temperature range
-Means winters will be colder the higher the altitude
Distribution of Land Masses and water can play a role as water and land heat and cool at different rates
-climates close to large bodies of waters have mild winters and cooler summers.
-Ocean Currents control how much precipitation and temperature
-Currents can influence a dew point to be reached and moisture released.
-Winds that are cold or warm can determine whether the climate is warm and dry or cold and wet depending on where they originate
-Cold climates come from ocean based winds and dry come from land based winds
-Mountain barriers block advancing barriers from reaching the other side of the mountains causing it to release its moisture on the
windward side. This produces rain more often on the windward side and rarely dropping precipitation on the leeward side
-Altitude affects temperatures the same as latitude…the higher the latitude the colder the temperature
- High and Low Pressure Belts create different kinds of weather, high pressure belts are associated with stable sunny weather whereas
low pressure is associated with unstable rainy weather
- Equator is an example of constant low pressure weather and the areas at 20 30 degrees north and south are continual high pressure.
-All of these changes and effects occur in the atmosphere.
- The atmosphere consists of the troposphere the stratosphere the mesosphere and the thermosphere
-The troposphere is where all weather occurs, the stratosphere is where strong currents of air called jet streams, the mesosphere is the
third layer and the temperatures drop as ultraviolet radiation can pass through without being absorbed, and the thermosphere
causes the temperature to rise again allowing incoming radiation to rapidly heating the thin air, this is the last layer of our
atmosphere before entering space.
- The atmosphere consists of a mixture of gasses whish is 78% nitrogen , 21% oxygen, a variety of other gasses making up the
remaining 1 %. Of this 1% argon nearly makes up all of it.
ATMOSPHERE: THE BIG THREE
- There are three major threats that are hazardous to our atmosphere they are
global warming, ozone depletion, and acid precipitation.
- The greenhouse effect is warming the world at a miniscule rate but will eventually
have a great effect on our weather.
- A few examples of the effects of global warming are threats to the lives of the
sockeye salmon in the Fraser river, Plant will die due to colder temperatures where
a temperature change has never been experienced, or higher sea levels.
- The ozone layer protects humans and other life forms from ultraviolet radiation
- The depletion of this protective layer presents great risk to the health o all life on
- Scientists have concluded that one of the major causes to the lack of ozone is the
amount of CO2 being emitted from cars, factories and any other means of
- Acid rain is the final threat to our atmosphere, it is created by the burning of fossil
fuels and has an effect on a large area
- Specifically the effects that are the greatest occur around lakes as the acid rain
falls and is absorbed into the lakes all the way to the extent where the lake
becomes to acidic to inhabit.
- A similar effect occurs to soil where the acidity of the rain leeches down deep into
the soil and it is possible for the soil to become completely infertile creating less
area available for agriulture.
ATMOSPHERE : THE BIG THREE
Acid Rain Global
- Weather refers to the short-term usually daily, characteristics of the atmosphere.
- A front is the leading edge of an advancing air mass.
- There are four kinds of weather fronts, cold front, warm front, stationary front, and occluded
- There are also different kinds of air masses such as Continental polar, Maritime polar, Maritime
tropical, and Continental tropical.
- For each air mass continental means the air mass originated from over land, and maritime
means the air mass originated over the ocean.
- Underneath the different fronts indications are lines called isobars, they show the common air
pressure of the area they are in
- The closer the isobars the greater the gradient and the stronger the wind
- Also on the maps are indicators called weather stations which show the temperature, dew
point, air pressure, and pressure tendency
- Air pressure can be measured in millibars or kilopascals
- There are three types of clouds, cirrus, stratus, and cumulus.
- Cirrus clouds are located at the highest altitude and produce no form of weather and are very
small and wispy
- Stratus clouds are considered to be middle clouds these also do not produce weather but are
larger than cirrus clouds and bluish grey in color.
- Cumulus clouds are the rainclouds which produce all the rain, snow, and sleet that we see
during the winter, they are usually dark in color and are the located at the lowest altitude out of
he three clouds.
- Weather in itself does not seem very dangerous at first
glance, the truth is weather can be lethal if not taken seriously.
- Fronts colliding with each can create very severe storms.
- Examples of these storms would be tornadoes, hurricanes,
thunder, and hailstorms.
- Tornadoes are very fast moving winds in the shape of a funnel
creating enough force to sometime lift a house out of its
- A hurricane is similar to a tornado in the sense of its power the
big difference is a hurricane forms over water picking up
precipitation as it goes along making itself look like an
enormous spinning cloud. Damage done by a hurricane is in
most cases greater than a tornado
- Hailstorms occur when warm moist air is forced upward, and
cold downdrafts create a violent circulation of air inside the
cumulus cloud. The air temperature atop the cloud can drop to
-50 degrees Celsius freezing the rain and creating hail
- are areas of the world where the ecosystem has evolved into its own unique place. Each biome has a variety of different animals, and plants that inhibit the area. There are several biomes in the world, and
each biome can be identified by temperature and precipitation differences. Differing biomes need varying amounts of temperature and precipitation to support the vegetation that has adapted to the conditions
of that biome. For example, a xerophyte in the desert can survive with very little precipitation, whereas rainforest vegetation needs a lot more.
- Found mainly in the northern hemisphere in a humid continental climate
- Acidic soil due to a layer of decaying needles therefore limited number of plant species thrive in this biome.
- Found in the Pacific Northwest, when westerly winds bring moisture from the ocean, and creates a long growing season.
- Contain large coniferous trees
- Wet year round and temperatures are high year round, causing year-round growing season and megatherms.
- Trees have large leaves, and are layered creating a canopy
- Little to no precipitation
- Only specially adapted xerophytes can survive in the desert.
- Found where rainfall is too low for trees to grow.
- Characterized by 6 wet months, then 6 dry months.
- Temperate grasslands exist in North America, Russia, and Argentina, and are called prairies, steppes, and pampas.
- Long cold winters, and short summers create short growing season.
- Little to no vegetation due to a layer of permafrost underneath the topsoil.
-Temperate Deciduous Forest
- Found along eastern shore, and in parts of Europe and Asia.
- Trees lose leaves in the winter, and remain dormant through the winter.
- Very dry, hot summers
- Small scattered trees, and thorny bushes covering hillsides
- is a large industry that involves extracting specific minerals from the ground. It plays a vital role in the economy of many countries around the world. There are two different types of mining, shaft mining, and
open pit mining and they both have their pros and cons.
-Open Pit Mines
- Easier to extract the ore
- Safer for Miners
- Very hazardous to the environment
- Less damage to surrounding environment
- Many deaths caused by collapsing walls
- Miners subjected to breathing coal dust, and develop lung disease.
- Mining is an especially important industry in Canada, as Canada is the world leader in producing uranium and potash. Also the Canadian Cordillera mountain belt contains a variety of different valuable
minerals such as zinc, lead, molybdenum, silver, and copper. Because of the ports that BC has, these minerals can easily be distributed to foreign markets, which means that BC is one the world leaders in
exporting mineral resources.
- While mining is a large part of the Canadian economy, the environmental impacts cannot be ignored.
-Environmental Impacts of Mining
- When rock is broken apart and exposed to air and water, acid can easily be produced as rainwater will mix with the metals, and permeate into the environment and poison surrounding vegetation.
- Cyanide is sometimes used to extract gold ore, but it is sometimes released into streams killing, and contaminating numerous amounts of fish
- When smokestacks are lit, many harmful emissions are released into the atmosphere
- Mines are often constructed in remote areas, and therefore roads must be paved through animal habitats, destroying them.
- Open pit mines completely destroy animal habitats, and heavy rainfall make the area very susceptible to soil erosion.
- Shaft mines are constructed below the water table, so pumps need to constantly remove water to keep it from flooding. Once the mine closes it rapidly fills with water and harmful chemicals left in the mine
dissolve into the water and enter into the ecosystem.
- Sinkholes often occur in areas where old mines once lay.
- Mines cause massive amounts of noise and dust pollution.
-As you can see from the chart the amount of minerals that Canada has exported has risen rapidly over the
last decade. This is due to the increased demand for raw materials. However if we are not careful
Canada’s mineral resources could be depleted, in which case the price of many items could dramatically
rise. Also, the economy would be severely affected, as nearly 400,000 people rely on mining for jobs.
- Much like mineral resources, the amount of energy resources a country possesses has a great impact on its
economic development. Most of these resources come in the form of fossil fuels, which are burned in a plant to
produce energy. These fossil fuels are the result of animal and plant fossils that have been subjected to years
and years of intense heat and pressure. This means that they are non-renewable, therefore we cannot replace
them. Also, they are a major contributor in the greenhouse gas’ effect. However, despite this they are being used
more and more nowadays because they are easy to transport, and are inexpensive.
- As you can see from the graph, energy use has risen exponentially over the last century, and nearly all of the
energy is produced from non-renewable resources such as:
- Most abundant of all fossil fuels
- Most Pollutive
- Found in many areas of the world
- Must be mined, causing habitat loss and other negative environmental factors
- Largest generator of electricity in the world
- Must be transported through pipelines, or tankers, where a rupture or spill could be devastating
to the environment
- There is much debate about whether BC should pursue off-shore drilling for oil deposits
- Often found with oil deposits.
- Burns methane, and releases it into the atmosphere
- Renewable resource, that is the leading source of energy in Canada
- Causes the loss of carbon sinks, release of methane gas, loss of farm land, and erosion of
flood plains and wetlands, increase in water evaporation, and effects fish habitats.
- These energy resources provide the world with almost all of its power, and therefore most of the
world is run off non-renewable, environmentally damaging sources of energy.
- Most of the resources that we rely on to produce our energy are non-renewable, and harmful to the environment. However, there are alternative energy
resources being produced, and although they aren’t as large scale as fossil fuels, they can provide an environmentally-friendly option to use energy. New
technologies are making these resources more viable, and practical.
- Using a structure called a barrage, which operates similar to a hydroelectric dam; it harnesses the predictable tides to produce energy. When the tides
come in, it flows through a tunnel spinning a turbine, therefore creating electricity. Tidal power is a low maintenance, renewable energy source, and once
the barrage has been built is completely free, and the amount of power produced is easily predictable. However, tidal power plants have been thought to
have the potential to raise the sea level by up to 13 cm, causing sensitive shorelines to be buried under water
- This works much like an underwater wind turbine, where the ocean currents, turn rotors, and create electricity. The blades rotate a speed of 20 revelations
per minute, slow enough to not be a danger to fish. Also, unlike wind power, marine power has predictable energy outcomes, and is not obtrusive to views
- Solar power harnesses the solar radiation of the sun to produce energy. A black, flat panel absorbs the sunlight, and stores it in batteries. Storing the
electricity in large amounts can be inefficient and expensive. However new ideas, and advances are making it possible to have solar power providing 69%
of the United States electricity in the future.
- Wind power is an environmentally friendly, renewable source of energy. Despite being cost-effective the initial building cost is high. Wind farms are where
there are many wind turbines in one area, and more are being built more due to government funding and incentives. Some people are concerned that wind
turbines are not reliable, and interfere with ocean or mountain views. If complimented with another energy resource, wind power can be very effective.
- This type of energy uses the heat below to earth to heat up water, and create steam to turn turbines and produce electricity. It is a renewable resource,
and doesn’t contribute to the greenhouse effect, however if the rock cool then the plant is useless.
- Wastes are incinerated and the gas is used to produce energy. Although it doesn’t produce that much energy, it plays a vital role in getting rid of waste that
would otherwise sit in landfills and release methane gas into the atmosphere.
- This source of energy involves splitting the uranium atom, and this causes a massive amount of energy. It is a clean, reliable, and low-cost method of
producing energy. The only downside to nuclear power is that uranium needs to be mined, and a facility meltdown can be a devastating and long-lasting
effect on the surrounding environment.
- Fuel cells combine oxygen in the air with hydrogen to create electricity. It is expensive, and difficult to store. Although it may be a good clean source of
energy in the future, it will probably be 50 years before real solutions to the obstacles that hydrogen energy face, come up.
PATHWAYS OF POLLUTION
-In our everyday lives we all consume energy, produce waste, and do various other things that contribute to pollution. There is also a lot of pollution caused by
- The ocean is probably the most affected by human pollution. Large, coastal cities dump pollution into the ocean, because they don’t realize, or consider
the dangers of ocean pollution. Shorelines are where much aquatic life lives, and incoming tides bring pollution to these shorelines, poisoning these
- Despite being filled with tons of oil, oil tanker spills only account for 5% of all oil spilled into the oceans. The other 95% comes from oil being flushed into
storm drains, poorly maintained vehicles dripping oil onto the road, poorly maintained recreational boat engines, offshore oil drilling, and ships flushing out
sludge into the ocean after a shipment.
-Other Types of Ocean Pollution
- Other than oil pollution, many other types of pollution take place in the Ocean. For example, cruise ships produce nearly 1,200,000 gallons of waste a
week, and are legally allowed to dump this waste into the ocean, provided they are 3 miles from shore. Not only that, but cruise ships have been known to
illegally dump all sorts of waste into to ocean. Also, farms use many fertilizers, and pesticides that are not biodegradable and rainwater will wash these
chemicals into streams, and cause excessive algae, and plant growth, and when these plants die, oxygen levels drop, making what is known as “dead
zones”. Another form of ocean pollution occurs where there are large cities near oceans or rivers that produce immense amounts of sewage and waste,
and not enough treatment plants to properly dispose of it; so much of it ends up on barges that dump it into the ocean. Industries are often located by
waterways for easy transportation, and also so that they can use them for cooling purposes. This causes the water temperature to rise, and kill much
marine life. Also, factories may discharge many chemicals, and heavy metals into water ways, poisoning the water and having a long-lasting effect on the
- It is important to be worried about ocean pollution because the ocean is a major factor in producing oxygen, and absorbing carbon dioxide, and if these
oceans are polluted they will not be able to do this as effectively, causing an acceleration of global warming. Also due to ocean pollution fish population is
decreasing at an alarming rate.
- Acid rain is the process by which chemicals fall from the atmosphere back to the earth. It mainly made up of sulphur dioxides, and nitrogen oxides, which
are by-products of fossil fuel burning. Also exhaust fumes from vehicles is a major factor in causing acid rain. Acid rain burns the leaves of trees, and
poisons the root systems, and over time this can cause vegetation subjected to acid rain to become weaker and not able to resist pests and diseases as
effectively. Acid rain has the potential to alter ecosystems, and disrupt food chains. Many objects such as cars, buildings, and even ancient monuments
such as the Sphinx in Egypt are affected by acid rain. Our very own health is affected by acid rain as well. Areas where high concentrations of acid rain are
present suffer from more allergies, colds, and respiratory ailments. Also from eating food that has been contaminated by acid rain humans may have
higher levels of toxic metals in their body.
- Much of the pollution that is created is simply due to the fact that wastes are not being disposed of properly. Although most landfills make an effort to
alleviate problems caused by storing waste in one place all at once the only solid way to help alleviate the problem is to produce less waste. As much as
80% of domestic waste can be recycled or put into compost, thus greatly reducing the amount of waste that goes into landfills, and/or the ocean. While
domestic waste poses a threat, hazardous waste poses a larger one. Toxic waste is a problem, because it is a risk to one’s health for thousands of years.
Consuming enough fish, or other products that contain toxic waste, can cause many life-threatening diseases.
- Newspapers are 100% recyclable
- We recycle all sorts of plastic but plastic wasn’t
designed for recycling and each time that it is melted
down it becomes weaker and the quality of the material
- and tin cans can be recycled to produce the same new
- Glass of all types is also recyclable and can be crushed
and melted down to produce new bottles and jars
- Hazardous Waste:
- Incineration seems to be a way that some toxic waste
can be eliminated with minimal environmental damage