Main Aspects of Earth's Structure & Dynamics

Earth Science Literacy Principles

Solid Earth:

Earth's Spin Axis & Rotation

Milankovitch Cycles

Earth's Core, Mantle, Crust, Continents, Ocean Basins, Plumes & Plate Tectonics

The solid Earth is made up from multiple layers - each layer exhibiting its own set of characteristics and physical processes: the Inner Core, Outer Core, Mantle, Crust, Continents & Ocean Basins. Our understanding of the interaction between these layers is however, embryonic. Read more...


Mountain Ranges: Himalayas, Rockies, Andes, Alps, Atlas


Ring of Fire

Earthquakes & Seismic Waves

The Critical Zone

The Critical Zone (CZ) is a dynamic region where rock, soil, water, air, and living biota interact to shape Earth’s surface. The Critical Zone ranges from the tops of the trees to the bottom of groundwater. The field of hydrogeophysics employs geophysical methods to determine parameters and monitor processes associated with water resources, the water cycle, and contaminant transport to inform hydrogeological studies. All of CZ science could benefit from the temporal and spatial information provided by hydrogeophysics; however, to date the two fields have evolved largely in parallel. Read more...

Landscape formations

The land and soil beneath our feet has been either laid down, built up, or exuded over millions of years. The mapping and naming of its main formations, and a description of the processes involved is covered by the articles below: Read more...

Soil Science

Soil is the bridge between geology and biology

Science of Rocks

Nature's Magnificent Crystals

Impact Craters

Arid Lands & Deserts

Salt Flats

Grasslands & Meadows

Lakes, Rivers, Deltas and Groundwater

Water exists in many forms and plays a multitude of different roles in the on-going evolution of the planet. The totality of all water is known as the hydrosphere. Hydrology is the science of water. Read more...


Wetlands, Peatlands & Marshes

The Oceans:

Coastal Zones

Where land meets water there are a multitude of dynamics that carve out unique and interesting features, all of which enrich the complexity of Earth's surface structure. The never ending impact of water on rock and sand creates a complex dynamic, rich in special phenomena. Read more...

Oceans & Seas

The oceans cover more than 70% of the Earth's surface. They are critical to all life, and differentiate the Earth from most other planets in the known universe. The oceans are connected by a continuous flowing circulation current which plays a major role in driving Earth's climate. Read more...

Ocean Ridges & Rises

Deap Sea Hydrothermal Vents & Methane Gas Craters

Coral Reefs

The Cryosphere:

Dynamics of the Cryosphere

Permafrost & Tundra

The Arctic Region




The Atmosphere

Structure & Dynamics of the Atmosphere

Atmospheric scientists study the atmosphere's physical characteristics, motions, and processes, and the way in which these factors affect the rest of our environment. Knowledge of the atmosphere, its chemistry, structure and behavior is becoming increasingly relevant to the development of a safe and secure society. Read more...

Winds: Trade, Horse Latitudes, the Doldrums, other

Solar radiation warms the air over the equator, causing it to rise. The rising air then proceeds south and north toward the poles. From approximately 20° to 30° North and South latitude, the air sinks. Then, the air flows along the surface of the earth back toward the equator. Read more...

Clouds & Contrails

Although clouds play an important role in the Earth's Water Cycle and in modulating the amount of radiation from the Sun striking the Earth's surface, much has yet to be discovered as to how clouds form and evolve, and precisely how they contribute to the Earth's weather and climate. Accurate cloud data is missing from most climate models. Read more...

Lightning & Sprites

Atmospheric electricity - Global Electric Circuit (GEC)

The GEC extends throughout Earth’s atmosphere, creating a potential drop of 200,000 to 500,000 volts between the ground and the ionosphere. The circuit courses through the atmosphere even on fair-weather days when a slight current of 2 picoamps (or 0.0000000000002 A) flows from every square meter of ground upward. Read more...

Ozone Hole

Weather Forecasting

Earth's Thermosphere:

Earth's Albedo (reflectance)

Earth's Energy Budget

Solar Irradiance

Earth's Plasmasphere:

The Ionosphere

Van Allen Radiation Belts

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