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Earth Structure and Composition
 

About The Earth

The Earth The third planet from the Sun is your home. The Earth is the only known planet where life can survive. As far as we know, there is no other planet in the Universe like Earth. We have a very narrow temperature range that allows water to remain a liquid. Life has developed over millions of years because of that liquid. What else makes us special? We have an atmosphere made up of nitrogen (N2), a relatively inert gas. If we had clouds of sulfuric acid or methane, life may never have developed.

The Plates

There are also huge landmasses on our planet. The rock plates that float across the surface are called tectonic plates. Those plates float on the mantle. The mantle is an area between the core and the crust. That mantle is basically filled with molten rock. It is kept in a liquid state because of the energy given off by the center (core) of the Earth. Scientists have also discovered that the pressure increases as you move towards the center of the planet. The core of the Earth has extreme temperatures and pressures that keep the iron and metals liquid and flowing.

Aurora borealis as seen from international space station

And A Liquid In The Core

The flowing metal in our planet helps create something called a dynamo effect. Dynamos create large magnetic fields. In the case of the Earth, the magnetic field protects our planet from space. The region of magnetic protection is called the magnetosphere and protects us from the solar winds and solar radiation. You can see where solar winds and the magnetosphere collide in the aurora borealis.

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- Composition
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- Structure
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MORE EARTH SCIENCE TOPICS



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Lynn Carter, Planetary Scientist (NASA/GSFC Video)
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Earth Science Quiz

Structure of Earth Quiz

Useful Reference Materials

Encyclopedia.com (Geology):
http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/geology.aspx
Wikipedia (Earth):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth
Encyclopædia Britannica (Development of the Earth):
http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/175962/Earth/242082/Accretion-of-the-early-Earth


 
RELATED LINKS
- Geography4Kids: Earth Composition
- Chem4Kids: Solids
- Chem4Kids: Environmental Chemistry
- Chem4Kids: Elements
- Cosmos4Kids: Earth
- Cosmos4Kids: Mars
- Cosmos4Kids: Space Exploration
- Physics4Kids: Magnetic Fields
- Physics4Kids: Gravity

- NASA: Kennedy Space Center
- NASA: Goddard Spaceflight Center

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