1. You should be familiar with the formation of the Earth and Solar System. What evidence is used to support the contention that the solar system formed from a rotating nebular dust cloud?
2. How does the earth become compositionally zone?
You should have knowledge of the 6 evolutionary stages that show how the earth could evolve from a "homogeneous mixture of primordial dust (planetesimals) to the compositionally zoned planet containing an Fe-Ni core, Fe-Mg silicate mantle and Fe-Mg-Al Crust. Compositional zonation based on density.
3. Physical properties of aesthnosphere and lithosphere.
You should have knowledge of the composition and physical properties of the lithosphere and asthenosphere. Asthenosphere-lithosphere relationship is important to understanding plate tectionics.
4. Evidence of compositional characteristics of the internal structure of the earth.
-meteorites are inferred to be composed of same material that earth was derived
-overall densisty of earth is 5.5 gm/cm3 density of crust 2.6-3.0 gm/cm3 provides some information regarding the density of the interior zones.
-earth has a magnetic field supports the argument for the core being metallic and the outer core being liquid (i.e., convecting electrons surrounding metallic solid inner core will generate magnetic field).
-seismic properties (velocities, absorption of S-waves by outer core).
-Why do P-wave and S-wave shadow zones form? Why is the S-wave shadow zone larger?
5. What is Isostasy?
-think about lower density continental versus denser ocean crust “floating” on the asthenosphere. Why do the continents possess high topography relative to the ocean basins?
6. Melting temperature versus geothermal gradient.
-Why is the outer core liquid and inner core solid when the outer core’s actual temperature is lower than the inner core’s? Melting temp dependent upon composition and pressure. Actual temperature (geothermal gradient)