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Major Domains of the Earth

Lithosphere

  • The solid portion of the earth on which we live—
  • Comprises the rocks of the earth’s crust and the thin layers of soil that contain nutrient elements which sustain organisms
  • Continents- large landmasses
  • Ocean basins- the huge water bodies

Atmosphere

  • The gaseous layers that surround the earth— where oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide and other gases are found and interact
  • Provides the air we breathe + Protects us from the harmful effects of sun’s rays
  • The changes in the atmosphere produce changes in the weather and climate
  • Extends up to a height of about 1,600 kilometres
  • Gravitational force of the earth holds the atmosphere around it
  • Divided into five layers based on composition, temperature and other properties— troposphere, the stratosphere, the mesosphere, the thermosphere and the exosphere.
  • Composed mainly of—

􏰂  Nitrogen and oxygen, which make up about 99 per cent of clean, dry air.

􏰂  Nitrogen (helps in the growth of living organisms) 78 percent, oxygen 21 per cent and other gases like carbon dioxide, argon and others comprise 1 per cent by volume

􏰂  Carbon dioxide: Present in minute amount but is important as it absorbs heat radiated by the earth, thereby keeping the planet warm and also essential for the growth of plants.

  • Density of the atmosphere: Maximum at the sea level and decreases rapidly as we go up
  • Wind: Moves from high pressure to low pressure
  • The temperature also decreases as we go upwards.
  • Air moves from high pressure to low pressure.
  • Moving air is known as wind.
  • NITROGEN helps in the growth of living organisms.

Hydrosphere

  • Water-covered regions of Earth; comprises water in all its forms, that is, ice, water and water vapour
  • Earth: A blue planet
  • More than 97% of the Earth’s water is found in the oceans and is too salty for human use
  • Oceans— Always mobile: the waves, the tides and the ocean currents

    Pacific Ocean:

    • 􏰂  Largest- spread over one-third of the earth
    • 􏰂  Deepest part of the earth: Mariana Trench
    • 􏰂  Circular in shape
    • 􏰂  Countries: Asia, Australia, North and South Americas Atlantic Ocean:
    • 􏰂  Second largest Ocean; S-shaped
    • 􏰂  North and South Americas on the eastern side
    • 􏰂  Europe and Africa on the western side
    • 􏰂  Coastline: highly indented; provides ideal location for natural harbours and ports
    • 􏰂  The busiest Ocean Indian Ocean:
    • 􏰂  Only ocean named after a country; triangular shaped
    • 􏰂  Bound by Asia in the north, in the west by Africa and in the east by Australia

      Arctic Ocean:

    • 􏰂  Located within the Arctic Circle and surrounds the North Pole Connected with the Pacific Ocean by a narrow stretch of shallow water known as Berring strait (Refer Map)
    • 􏰂  Bound by northern coasts of North America and Eurasia
    • The Southern Ocean encircles the continent of Antarctica and extends northward to 60 degrees south latitude. 

Biosphere

  • The narrow zone where we find land, water and air together, which contains all forms of life Division: Plant kingdom and the animal kingdom
  • The three domains of the earth interact with each other and affect each other in some way or the other
  • Need to limit the use of resources of the earth to maintain the balance of nature between the domains of the lithosphere, the atmosphere and the hydrosphere.

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