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Chapter 8

Earth System Evolution


Section Learning Outcomes
Section 1
  • Describe the formation and development of Earth’s geosphere.
  • Analyze the spatial distribution of major regions of the geosphere.
  • Identify processes that are of primary importance to the operation of the geosphere.
Section 2
  • Design an experiment that measures the volume of gas dissolved in a liquid.
  • Describe how Earth’s fluid spheres formed and have changed through time.
  • Examine interactions between Earth’s geosphere and its fluid spheres.
Section 3
  • Consider a hypothesis about how life may have originated on Earth.
  • Examine models of the development of compounds necessary for life on Earth.
  • Examine evidence of the oldest forms of life on Earth.
  • Infer how ancient organisms lived by comparing them to modern ones.
Section 4
  • Conduct an experiment that shows how iron reacts with oxygen in a solution.
  • Understand how early life forms contributed oxygen to the atmosphere.
  • Examine the rock record for evidence of the development of the atmosphere.
Section 5
  • Use mathematics to explore the duration of geologic time.
  • Recognize the major events in Earth’s past that define parts of the geologic time scale.
  • Examine the use of radioactive elements to date rocks.
Section 6
  • Understand the process of fossilization.
  • Determine which plant and animal parts have the highest and lowest potential for becoming fossilized, and understand why this is the case.
  • Determine which organisms in your community are most likely to become preserved in the fossil record.
  • Determine where fossils may be forming within your community.
  • Understand the hierarchy of a food chain and how this affects the likelihood that an organism will be preserved in the fossil record.
Section 7
  • Consider various kinds of evolutionary processes.
  • Analyze how natural selection favors the best-adapted organism in a population.
  • Understand how fossils provide important clues about change through time.
  • Develop ideas from fossils about rates of evolutionary change.
Section 8
  • Define the major biomes of North America and identify your community’s biome.
  • Understand that organisms on land and in the ocean have physical and chemical limits to where they live.
  • Recognize the most common plants and animals in your community.
  • Explore how a change in physical and chemical conditions within your community could alter its biome.
  • Understand that there are predictable relationships between where the different biomes occur in North America.
Section 9
  • Understand how changes in Earth’s climate have affected organisms throughout geologic time.
  • Understand that the organisms that dominate the continents today differ from the organisms that dominated Earth in the deep geologic past.
  • Understand that severe ecological disruptions alter the history of life, resulting in extinction followed by the evolution and appearance of new organisms.
  • Understand that newly evolved organisms develop similar body features that allow them to use the same resources as those organisms that became extinct.

Use the navigation on the left to find materials that support the relevant sections of this chapter.