Despite our propensity to take into consideration Earth together static, that is actually a dynamic and ever-changing planet. Wind, water, and ice erode and shape the land. Volcanic task and earthquakes change the landscape in a dramatic and often violent manner. And on a much much longer timescale, the motion of earth’s plates gradually reconfigures oceans and continents.

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Each among these processes plays a role in the Arctic and Antarctica. We’ll talk about each in general and also specifically in the polar regions.


EROSION

Wind, water, and ice are the 3 agents that erosion, or the transferring away the rock, sediment, and soil. Erosion is distinguished from weathering — the physics or chemical malfunction of the mineral in rock. However, weathering and also erosion can occur simultaneously. Erosion is a herbal process, despite it is often increased by humans’ usage of the land. Deforestation, overgrazing, construction, and road building often expose soil and sediments and also lead to boosted erosion. Excessive erosion leader to ns of soil, ecosystem damage, and a buildup of sediments in water sources. Building terraces and also planting trees can help reduce erosion.

GLACIERS

In the Arctic and sub-Arctic, glacial erosion has shaped lot of the landscape. Glaciers mainly erode through plucking and also abrasion. Plucking occurs together a glacier flows over bedrock, softening and lifting block of rock that are carried into the ice. The intense pressure at the basic of the glacier reasons some the the ice to melt, creating a thin layer of subglacial water. This water flows into cracks in the bedrock. As the water refreezes, the ice cream acts as a bar loosening the rock by lifting it. The fractured rock is thus incorporated right into the glacier’s load and also is lugged along together the glacier gradually moves.


Abrasion happens once the glacier’s ice and also rock fragments act as sandpaper, crushing the absent into carefully grained absent flour and also smoothing the rock below. Meltwater streams of plenty of glaciers are grayish in color due come high amounts of absent flour.
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Mt. Erebus lava lake in 1983. Photo courtesy of Mt. Erebus Volcano Observatory.


Mt. Erebus is also notable because that its persistent low-level eruptive activity (with almost daily eruptions). While the volcano has had some background of violent activity, most eruptions room passive lava flows comparable to the volcanoes of Hawaii.

EARTHQUAKES

Seismic task (earthquakes) is most often connected with tectonic bowl boundaries. Together plates slowly move, their jagged edges stick and suddenly slip, leading to an earthquake.

The Gakkel Ridge under the Arctic ocean experiences little earthquakes the accompany the volcanic activity found in the area. Antarctica, i m sorry lies in the facility of a tectonic plate, does not experience plenty of earthquakes. However, seismic task is linked with eruptions the Mt. Erebus.


RELATED RESOURCES

Use these sources to learn much more about erosion, volcanoes, earthquakes, and plate tectonics and also how these agents of change affect the polar regions.

All about GlaciersLearn just how glaciers form, move, and shape the landscape.

Katabatic WindsBasic information about the winds that Antarctica.

National Geographic: forces of NatureExplore volcanoes and earthquakes in this internet site. Don’t miss the interactive tasks that enable you to essentially erupt volcanoes and also trigger earthquakes!

Polar Discovery: Arctic Seafloor ExpeditionDuring summer 2007, a team the scientists offered autonomous underwater vehicles to explore the Gakkel Ridge. The Polar discovery web site papers the expedition and also provides background information, images, and video.

Mt. Erebus Volcano ObservatoryProvides basic information around Mt. Erebus, recurring research, video, and a picture gallery.


National Science education Standards: scientific research Content Standards

The entire National Science education and learning Standards record can be read online or download for complimentary from the national Academies Press web site. The complying with excerpt was taken from chapter 6.

A study of alters in the Earth’s surface ar aligns through the earth and room Science, and the scientific research in personal and society Perspectives content standards of the National Science education and learning Standards:

K-4 planet and room Science: alters in the Earth and also Sky

The surface ar of the earth changes. Some alters are because of slow processes, such as erosion and also weathering, and also some changes are because of rapid processes, such as landslides, volcano eruptions, and earthquakes.

5-8 earth and room Science: framework of the planet System

The solid earth is layered through a lithosphere; hot, convecting mantle; and dense, metallic core.Lithospheric key on the scales of continents and also oceans constantly relocate at rates of centimeters every year in response to movements in the mantle. Significant geological events, such together earthquakes, volcano eruptions, and also mountain building, result from this plate motions.Land creates are the result of a mix of constructive and destructive forces. Constructive forces include crustal deformation, volcanic eruption, and also deposition of sediment, while destructive forces encompass weathering and erosion.

5-8 earth and space Science: earth History

The planet processes we view today, consisting of erosion, motion of lithospheric plates, and changes in atmospheric composition, are similar to those that arisen in the past.Fossils provide important proof of just how life and also environmental problems have changed.

K-4 scientific research in an individual and society Perspectives: changes in Environments

Changes in settings can be herbal or affected by humans. Some transforms are good, some room bad, and also some space neither an excellent nor bad.Some environmental transforms occur slowly, and also others take place rapidly.

5-8 science in an individual and social Perspectives: natural Hazards

Internal and also external processes of the earth system cause natural hazards, events that change or ruin human and wildlife habitats, damages property, and harm or kill humans.

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This write-up was composed by Jessica Fries-Gaither. For more information, check out the Contributors page. Email Kimberly Lightle, principal Investigator, with any type of questions about the contents of this site.