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Geomorphology - Coursework Example

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Work on the following questions with your classmates, in and out of class.  You are required to lead classroom discussion using the following questions.  Dr. Stinchcomb will serve as your guide and mentor as you teach your classmates.
Isostacy refers to the equilibrium that…
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Face-to-face time questions for led discussion Chapter Earth’s Dynamic Surface   Work on the following questions with your classmates, in and out of class.  You are required to lead classroom discussion using the following questions.  Dr. Stinchcomb will serve as your guide and mentor as you teach your classmates.
1. What are the two key components of the geosphere that create large-scale topography on Earth’s surface?
Asthenosphere and lithosphere
2. Can you define Isostasy?  Explain to your classmates the process of Isostasy using an iceberg and then relate it to mountain building. 
Isostacy refers to the equilibrium that exists between parts of the earths crust, which behaves as if it consists of blocks floating on the underlying mantle, rising if material such as an ice cap is removed and sinking if material is deposited.
Isostacy is seen in areas in which ice bergs have melted since the formation of ice bergs can lead to sinking of the earth’s surface. Retreating of the ice bergs leads to the reduction of the load on the lithosphere and the asthenosphere and they move back to their equilibrium levels.
3. Why do the erosion of mountains eventually expose the underlying basement rocks?
Continuous erosion of mountains washes away all the soil and rock particles that forms the mountains. They are washed to the lower valleys leading to exposure of the underlying basement as the mountains are gradually reduced.
4. Can you draw a cross-section of Earth on the board that shows all key geosphere features (e.g., plate boundaries, volcanoes, faults)?
5. How do lithology and structure influence topography?
Lithology relates to the process of formation of rocks. This affects the topography of the earth surface through altering the texture, color and the fabric. It defines the natural arrangement of rocks and other particles on the earth surface.
6. How does the hydrosphere influence topography?
Hydrosphere influences the topography of a given earth surface by determining the vegetation of the place as well as the landscape.
7. Can you compare and contrast Earth’s surface in an arid setting and humid setting?
The earth’s surface in an arid setting is marked by sand and rock covering with small shrubs and herbs while the earth surface in the humid setting is covered by green grass as well as tall trees. The soil texture in arid areas is rough and dry while that in humid areas is soft and watery.
8. In simple terms, can you explain the conservation of mass and the mass-balance equation?
Conservation of mass relates to the fact that any given system that is closed to all forms of matter and energy must remain constant over time unless added or removed. On the other hand, mass-balance equation confirms the view that mass can never be destroyed nor created. All rock particles or sediments displaced in a given region will be found in another location.
9. What is material routing?  Can you draw a diagram on the board that explains this concept?
Material routing is the process by which rock sediments on the mountains and hills forms routes or paths along which they run as they are pushed down to the valleys and the running waters.
10. Can you explain the unifying concept of driving vs. resisting forces using the “boulder on a hillslope” example?
The driving forces are responsible for the smoothening of rock surfaces on a slope of a hill or a mountain while the resisting forces are the forces opposing the erosion of rocks on a hillslope resulting into formation of steady rocks on the sides of hills. The resisting forces prevents complete erosion of rocks by the driving forces.
11. Can you explain the unifying concepts, equilibrium, steady-state and thresholds graphically using an example of anthropogenic impact on the landscape?
Anthropogenic activities refers to unnatural factors that affect the environmental conditions such as human activities.
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