Lab 2. Formation of Earth NAME Materials: colored pencils, calculator, tape/glue, scissors, a water/soda bottle with cap, sand/small rocks, cooking oil, and water. Exercise 1. Solar System and Earth Formation – Important Events Organize the major events in the formation of our solar system and Earth in the table below. Cut out the event cards (attached) and glue/tape them in order from the first event (Event 1) to the last (Event 8). Event 1 Event 2 Event 3 Event 4 1 Event 5 Event 6 Event 7 Event 8 Table 1: Major Events in Solar System Formation. Exercise 2. Distribution of Planets Here we will look at the distribution of materials in the solar system in relation to planet types. To start, access the University of Colorado’s Laboratory of Space Physics website on The Outer Planets (http://lasp.colorado.edu/outerplanets/solsys_planets.php). Read the text in the link to answer the following questions (the simulation no longer works). Also, you can ignore the orbit simulator at the bottom of the page. 2 Figure 1. The image below is a screenshot from the simulation that no longer works. The image shows the rock/metal condensation line and frost line. 1. Click to enlarge the “Materials in the Solar Nebula” figure in the link provided. At what temperature range do metals condense? __________ 2. What about minerals (the building blocks of rocks)? __________ 3. Given your answers for questions 1 and 2, approximately what temperature should the rock/metal condensation line (0.3 AU from the Sun) be? __________ 4. Using Figure 1 above, what region/s would both rock and metal be solid in? (1, 2 and/or 3) __________ 5. What about hydrogen compounds like water? In which of the regions would they exist in the solid state? (1, 2 and/or 3) __________ 6. Using Figure 1 and your answers for questions 4 and 5, determine which region the rocky, terrestrial planets formed in and which region the gaseous, Jovian planets formed in. 7. Watch this short video on the frost line, which provides a plot of how temperature varied in the early solar system: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8N7VzHScNsE. Notice that the condensation temperature for hydrogen compounds and the distance to the frost line he provides are different from those in Figure 1. We’re going to ignore this since the study of early solar system formation is an evolving science J. The narrator states that the frost line was 4.5 AU (astronomical unit) from the Sun. One AU is the distance between the center Sun and the center of the Earth (149.6 million kilometers). Using this, what’s the distance between the Sun and the frost line (as represented in this video)? Report your answer in kilometers and in the appropriate number of significant figures. 3 Calculations for question 7: Exercise 3. Differentiation For many reasons, differentiation is one of the most important processes in planetary formation. Here we will outline what differentiation is, which will lead in to exercises on why it is important. We will do this by simulating differentiation of the Earth’s interior using some common household items: sand/small rocks, water, cooking oil and a transparent, empty bottle with a cap (16-20 ounce soda or water bottles work great). Here are instructions: • Pour 1 cup (8 fluid ounces or ~250 milliliters) of water into your bottle. • Next, pour ~1/4 cup (2 fluid ounces or ~70 milliliters) of cooking oil in. • Now pour your sand/small rocks in and screw the cap on the bottle (make sure it’s relatively tight!). 1. Shake the bottle and make sure the “ingredients” are well-mixed. Take a picture of your bottle with the materials mixed up. I realize this might be hard with the sand/rocks, but hopefully you can get a picture with the oil and water mixed together! You’ll post this picture to the Canvas quiz, so make sure you can get it on your computer. 2. Now let the bottle sit for ~5 minutes. What happens? Take an image of the layers in your bottle. Again, you’ll post this image to your Canvas quiz, so make sure you can get it on your computer. This is an exceedingly simple way to demonstrate differentiation in Earth’s interior during its formation. In Earth, differentiation produced a crust, mantle and core (based on chemistry) and lithosphere, asthenosphere, mesosphere, inner core and outer core (based on physical properties). Differentiation is an extremely important process – it is likely one of the reasons life can exist on Earth! 3. The Earth’s magnetic field, which protects life from solar wind, is a result of differentiation. Which layer is thought to generate the magnetic field? What process in this layer produces the magnetic field? Sometimes, even our magnetic field can’t protect us. See this short article: https://www.usgs.gov/naturalhazards/geomagnetism/science/electric-storm-november-1882?qt-science_center_objects=0#qtscience_center_objects. Reference the article to answer questions 4 & 5 below. 4. What strange phenomena were observed on November 17, 1882? 5. What is thought to be the cause of these phenomena? 4 What about magnetic fields on other planetary bodies? Good question! Let’s look at potential for plate tectonics on the Moon. Read the “Structure” section of NASA’s Moon info page to answer the questions below: https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/moons/earths-moon/in-depth/. 6. Calculate the proportion (in percent; %) that the Moon’s outer core is relative to its radius (1737 km). The thickness of the Moon’s outer core thickness can be found in the “Structure” section, where it’s described as a liquid outer shell. Remember to report your answer in the correct number of significant figures. 7. Complete the same calculation for Earth’ outer core, which has a thickness of 2200 kilometers. Earth’s radius is approximately 6378 km. Remember to report your answer in the correct number of significant figures and in percent (%). 8. Given your answer for questions 2 and 3, why does the Moon have a weaker magnetosphere compared to Earth’s? Exercise 4. Earth’s Interior and Plate Tectonics Here we will outline the processes thought to result in active plate tectonics on Earth. Convection in the asthenosphere is thought to have started plate tectonics (the movement of Earth’s lithospheric plates) on the Early Earth and partially drive plate tectonics today. 1. Figure 2 below shows the upper two layers of Earth’s interior as defined by physical properties. Draw convection cells in the asthenosphere – make hot currents red and cool currents blue. In black, draw arrows in the lithosphere to represent the resultant drag in the lithosphere. Figure 2. Upper two layers of Earth’s interior as defined by physical properties. 5 A. Formation of Earth’s oceans B. Formation of the Earth’s Moon C. Formation of the planets D. Collapse of nebula E. Differentiation of Earth’s interior F. Volcanic outgassing/atmos. formation G. Formation of the Sun H. Evolution of Life 6
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