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    Earth

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    GODOF
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    تاريخ التسجيل : 08/04/2009
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    Earth

    مُساهمة من طرف GODOF في الجمعة 5 مارس - 10:38

    Earth (or the Earth) is the third planet from the Sun, and the fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest, most massive, and densest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets. It is sometimes referred to as the World, the Blue Planet,[note 3] or Terra.[note 4]

    Home to millions of species,[11] including humans, Earth is the only place in the Universe where life is known to exist. The planet formed 4.54 billion years ago,[12] and life appeared on its surface within a billion years. Since then, Earth's biosphere has significantly altered the atmosphere and other abiotic conditions on the planet, enabling the proliferation of aerobic organisms as well as the formation of the ozone layer which, together with Earth's magnetic field, blocks harmful radiation, permitting life on land.[13] The physical properties of the Earth, as well as its geological history and orbit, have allowed life to persist during this period. The world is expected to continue supporting life for another 1.5 billion years, after which the rising luminosity of the Sun will eliminate the biosphere.[14]

    Earth's outer surface is divided into several rigid segments, or tectonic plates, that gradually migrate across the surface over periods of many millions of years. About 71% of the surface is covered with salt-water oceans, the remainder consisting of continents and islands; liquid water, necessary for all known life, is not known to exist on any other planet's surface.[note 5][note 6] Earth's interior remains active, with a thick layer of relatively solid mantle, a liquid outer core that generates a magnetic field, and a solid iron inner core.

    Earth interacts with other objects in outer space, including the Sun and the Moon. At present, Earth orbits the Sun once for every roughly 366.26 times it rotates about its axis. This is a sidereal year, which is equal to 365.26 solar days.[note 7] The Earth's axis of rotation is tilted 23.4° away from the perpendicular to its orbital plane,[15] producing seasonal variations on the planet's surface with a period of one tropical year (365.24 solar days). Earth's only known natural satellite, the Moon, which began orbiting it about 4.53 billion years ago, provides ocean tides, stabilizes the axial tilt and gradually slows the planet's rotation. Between approximately 4.1 and 3.8 billion years ago, asteroid impacts during the Late Heavy Bombardment caused significant changes to the surface environment.

    Both the mineral resources of the planet, as well as the products of the biosphere, contribute resources that are used to support a global human population. The inhabitants are grouped into about 200 independent sovereign states, which interact through diplomacy, travel, trade and military action. Human cultures have developed many views of the planet, including personification as a deity, a belief in a flat Earth or in Earth as the center of the universe, and a modern perspective of the world as an integrated environment that requires stewardship


    Scientists have been able to reconstruct detailed information about the planet's past. The earliest dated Solar System material is dated to 4.5672 ± 0.0006 billion years ago,[16] and by 4.54 billion years ago (within an uncertainty of 1%)[12] the Earth and the other planets in the Solar System formed out of the solar nebula—a disk-shaped mass of dust and gas left over from the formation of the Sun. This assembly of the Earth through accretion was largely completed within 10–20 million years.[17] Initially molten, the outer layer of the planet Earth cooled to form a solid crust when water began accumulating in the atmosphere. The Moon formed shortly thereafter, 4.53 billion years ago.[18]

    The current consensus model[19] for the formation of the Moon is the giant impact hypothesis, in which the Moon formed as a result of a Mars-sized object (sometimes called Theia) with about 10% of the Earth's mass[20] impacting the Earth in a glancing blow.[21] In this model, some of this object's mass would have merged with the Earth and a portion would have been ejected into space, but enough material would have been sent into orbit to form the Moon.

    Outgassing and volcanic activity produced the primordial atmosphere. Condensing water vapor, augmented by ice and liquid water delivered by asteroids and the larger proto-planets, comets, and trans-Neptunian objects produced the oceans.[22] The newly-formed Sun was only 70% of its present luminosity, yet evidence shows that the early oceans remained liquid—a contradiction dubbed the faint young Sun paradox. A combination of greenhouse gases and higher levels of solar activity served to raise the Earth's surface temperature, preventing the oceans from freezing over.[23]

    Two major models have been proposed for the rate of continental growth:[24] steady growth to the present-day[25] and rapid growth early in Earth history.[26] Current research shows that the second option is most likely, with rapid initial growth of continental crust[27] followed by a long-term steady continental area.[28][29][30] On time scales lasting hundreds of millions of years, the surface continually reshaped as continents formed and broke up. The continents migrated across the surface, occasionally combining to form a supercontinent. Roughly 750 million years ago (Ma), one of the earliest known supercontinents, Rodinia, began to break apart. The continents later recombined to form Pannotia, 600–540 Ma, then finally Pangaea, which broke apart 180 Ma


    At present, Earth provides the only example of an environment that has given rise to the evolution of life.[32] Highly energetic chemistry is believed to have produced a self-replicating molecule around 4 billion years ago, and half a billion years later the last common ancestor of all life existed.[33] The development of photosynthesis allowed the Sun's energy to be harvested directly by life forms; the resultant oxygen accumulated in the atmosphere and formed in a layer of ozone (a form of molecular oxygen [O3]) in the upper atmosphere. The incorporation of smaller cells within larger ones resulted in the development of complex cells called eukaryotes.[34] True multicellular organisms formed as cells within colonies became increasingly specialized. Aided by the absorption of harmful ultraviolet radiation by the ozone layer, life colonized the surface of Earth.[35]

    Since the 1960s, it has been hypothesized that severe glacial action between 750 and 580 Ma, during the Neoproterozoic, covered much of the planet in a sheet of ice. This hypothesis has been termed "Snowball Earth", and is of particular interest because it preceded the Cambrian explosion, when multicellular life forms began to proliferate.[36]

    Following the Cambrian explosion, about 535 Ma, there have been five mass extinctions.[37] The last extinction event was 65 Ma, when a meteorite collision probably triggered the extinction of the (non-avian) dinosaurs and other large reptiles, but spared small animals such as mammals, which then resembled shrews. Over the past 65 million years, mammalian life has diversified, and several million years ago, an African ape-like animal such as Orrorin tugenensis gained the ability to stand upright.[38] This enabled tool use and encouraged communication that provided the nutrition and stimulation needed for a larger brain. The development of agriculture, and then civilization, allowed humans to influence the Earth in a short time span as no other life form had,[39] affecting both the nature and quantity of other life forms.

    The present pattern of ice ages began about 40 Ma and then intensified during the Pleistocene about 3 Ma. The polar regions have since undergone repeated cycles of glaciation and thaw, repeating every 40–100,000 years. The last ice age ended 10,000 years ago


    The future of the planet is closely tied to that of the Sun. As a result of the steady accumulation of helium at the Sun's core, the star's total luminosity will slowly increase. The luminosity of the Sun will grow by 10% over the next 1.1 Gyr (1.1 billion years) and by 40% over the next 3.5 Gyr.[41] Climate models indicate that the rise in radiation reaching the Earth is likely to have dire consequences, including the possible loss of the planet's oceans.[42]

    The Earth's increasing surface temperature will accelerate the inorganic CO2 cycle, reducing its concentration to lethal levels for plants (10 ppm for C4 photosynthesis) in approximately 900 million years. The lack of vegetation will result in the loss of oxygen in the atmosphere, so animal life will become extinct within several million more years.[43] After another billion years all surface water will have disappeared[14] and the mean global temperature will reach 70 °C[43](158 °F). The Earth is expected to be effectively habitable for about another 500 million years,[44] although this may be extended up to 2.3 billion years if the nitrogen is removed from the atmosphere.[45] Even if the Sun were eternal and stable, the continued internal cooling of the Earth would result in a loss of much of its CO2 due to reduced volcanism,[46] and 35% of the water in the oceans would descend to the mantle due to reduced steam venting from mid-ocean ridges.[47]

    The Sun, as part of its evolution, will become a red giant in about 5 Gyr. Models predict that the Sun will expand out to about 250 times its present radius, roughly 1 AU (150,000,000 km).[41][48] Earth's fate is less clear. As a red giant, the Sun will lose roughly 30% of its mass, so, without tidal effects, the Earth will move to an orbit 1.7 AU (250,000,000 km) from the Sun when the star reaches it maximum radius. Therefore, the planet is expected to escape envelopment by the expanded Sun's sparse outer atmosphere, though most, if not all, remaining life will be destroyed because of the Sun's increased luminosity.[41] However, a more recent simulation indicates that Earth's orbit will decay due to tidal effects and drag, causing it to enter the red giant Sun's atmosphere and be destroyed

    The shape of the Earth is very close to that of an oblate spheroid, a sphere squished along the orientation from pole to pole such that there is a bulge around the equator.[51] This bulge results from the rotation of the Earth, and causes the diameter at the equator to be 43 km larger than the pole to pole diameter.[52] The average diameter of the reference spheroid is about 12,742 km, which is approximately 40,000 km/π, as the meter was originally defined as 1/10,000,000 of the distance from the equator to the North Pole through Paris, France.[53]

    Local topography deviates from this idealized spheroid, though on a global scale, these deviations are very small: Earth has a tolerance of about one part in about 584, or 0.17%, from the reference spheroid, which is less than the 0.22% tolerance allowed in billiard balls.[54] The largest local deviations in the rocky surface of the Earth are Mount Everest (8,848 m above local sea level) and the Mariana Trench (10,911 m below local sea level). Because of the equatorial bulge, the feature farthest from the center of the Earth is Mount Chimborazo in Ecuador.


    The mass of the Earth is approximately 5.98 × 1024 kg. It is composed mostly of iron (32.1%), oxygen (30.1%), silicon (15.1%), magnesium (13.9%), sulfur (2.9%), nickel (1.8%), calcium (1.5%), and aluminium (1.4%); with the remaining 1.2% consisting of trace amounts of other elements. Due to mass segregation, the core region is believed to be primarily composed of iron (88.8%), with smaller amounts of nickel (5.8%), sulfur (4.5%), and less than 1% trace elements.[58]

    The geochemist F. W. Clarke calculated that a little more than 47% of the Earth's crust consists of oxygen. The more common rock constituents of the Earth's crust are nearly all oxides; chlorine, sulfur and fluorine are the only important exceptions to this and their total amount in any rock is usually much less than 1%. The principal oxides are silica, alumina, iron oxides, lime, magnesia, potash and soda. The silica functions principally as an acid, forming silicates, and all the commonest minerals of igneous rocks are of this nature. From a computation based on 1,672 analyses of all kinds of rocks, Clarke deduced that 99.22% were composed of 11 oxides (see the table at right). All the other constituents occur only in very small quantities


    The interior of the Earth, like that of the other terrestrial planets, is divided into layers by their chemical or physical (rheological) properties. The outer layer of the Earth is a chemically distinct silicate solid crust, which is underlain by a highly viscous solid mantle. The crust is separated from the mantle by the Mohorovičić discontinuity, and the thickness of the crust varies: averaging 6 km under the oceans and 30–50 km on the continents. The crust and the cold, rigid, top of the upper mantle are collectively known as the lithosphere, and it is of the lithosphere that the tectonic plates are comprised. Beneath the lithosphere is the asthenosphere, a relatively low-viscosity layer on which the lithosphere rides. Important changes in crystal structure within the mantle occur at 410 and 660 kilometers below the surface, spanning a transition zone that separates the upper and lower mantle. Beneath the mantle, an extremely low viscosity liquid outer core lies above a solid inner core.[59] The inner core may rotate at a slightly higher angular velocity than the remainder of the planet, advancing by 0.1–0.5° per year

    The mechanically rigid outer layer of the Earth, the lithosphere, is broken into pieces called tectonic plates. These plates are rigid segments that move in relation to one another at one of three types of plate boundaries: Convergent boundaries, at which two plates come together, Divergent boundaries, at which two plates are pulled apart, and Transform boundaries, in which two plates slide past one another laterally. Earthquakes, volcanic activity, mountain-building, and oceanic trench formation can occur along these plate boundaries.[71] The tectonic plates ride on top of the asthenosphere, the solid but less-viscous part of the upper mantle that can flow and move along with the plates,[72] and their motion is strongly coupled with patterns convection inside the Earth's mantle.

    As the tectonic plates migrate across the planet, the ocean floor is subducted under the leading edges of the plates at convergent boundaries. At the same time, the upwelling of mantle material at divergent boundaries creates mid-ocean ridges. The combination of these processes continually recycles the oceanic crust back into the mantle. Because of this recycling, most of the ocean floor is less than 100 million years in age. The oldest oceanic crust is located in the Western Pacific, and has an estimated age of about 200 million years.[73][74] By comparison, the oldest dated continental crust is 4030 million years old.[75]

    Other notable plates include the Indian Plate, the Arabian Plate, the Caribbean Plate, the Nazca Plate off the west coast of South America and the Scotia Plate in the southern Atlantic Ocean. The Australian Plate fused with Indian Plate between 50 and 55 million years ago. The fastest-moving plates are the oceanic plates, with the Cocos Plate advancing at a rate of 75 mm/yr[76] and the Pacific Plate moving 52–69 mm/yr. At the other extreme, the slowest-moving plate is the Eurasian Plate, progressing at a typical rate of about 21 mm/yr


    The abundance of water on Earth's surface is a unique feature that distinguishes the "Blue Planet" from others in the Solar System. The Earth's hydrosphere consists chiefly of the oceans, but technically includes all water surfaces in the world, including inland seas, lakes, rivers, and underground waters down to a depth of 2,000 m. The deepest underwater location is Challenger Deep of the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean with a depth of −10,911.4 m.[note 12][86] The average depth of the oceans is 3,800 m, more than four times the average height of the continents.[85]

    The mass of the oceans is approximately 1.35 × 1018 metric tons, or about 1/4400 of the total mass of the Earth, and occupies a volume of 1.386 × 109 km3. If all the land on Earth were spread evenly, water would rise to an altitude of more than 2.7 km.[note 13] About 97.5% of the water is saline, while the remaining 2.5% is fresh water. Most fresh water, about 68.7%, is currently ice.[87]

    About 3.5% of the total mass of the oceans consists of salt. Most of this salt was released from volcanic activity or extracted from cool, igneous rocks.[88] The oceans are also a reservoir of dissolved atmospheric gases, which are essential for the survival of many aquatic life forms.[89] Sea water has an important influence on the world's climate, with the oceans acting as a large heat reservoir.[90] Shifts in the oceanic temperature distribution can cause significant weather shifts, such as the El Niño-Southern Oscillation

      الوقت/التاريخ الآن هو السبت 18 نوفمبر - 2:41