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Sioux Falls Scientists endorse How the Earth Works for showing
all the processes that change the earth itself and
make it an ever changing "living" world.

How the Earth Works
Lectures by Professor Michael E. Wysession

How the Earth Works (2008) - 48 lectures, 24 hours
How the Earth Works at TheGreatCourses.com

Continents move. Glacial cycles come and go. Mountains spring up and erode away. We live on a planet that is constantly in motion - except we see it in extreme slow motion. In this exciting course of 48 half-hour lectures, you effectively speed up the action to witness the history of our planet unfold in spectacular detail, learning what the Earth is made of, where it came from, and, above all, how it works.

An Astonishing Journey

How the Earth Works takes you on an astonishing journey through time and space. You will look at what went into making our planet-from the big bang, to the formation of the solar system, to the gradual evolution of the planet into what it is today. You will travel to the center of the Earth and out again, charting the geological forces that are constantly reshaping the continents and seafloor.

Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis are byproducts of our planet's ceaseless activity, and you will focus on specific examples of each to learn why and when they occur. Earth's surface is mostly water, and you will explore the cycling of this vital substance throughout the planet, along with its role in climate, erosion, plate tectonics, and biology.

Not only are humans at the mercy of our planet's natural forces, but we ourselves have become agents of change. We are altering the Earth's land, water, and air faster than any geologic process, and this will be another theme of your journey.

Professor Michael E. Wysession is Professor of Geophysics at Washington University in St. Louis. He earned his Sc.B. in Geophysics from Brown University and his Ph.D. from Northwestern University. Professor Wysession has received many honors and recognitions for his teaching and scholarship, including a National Science Foundation Presidential Faculty Fellowship, the Innovation Award of the St. Louis Science Academy, and the Distinguished Faculty Award of Washington University.

48 Lectures - 30 minutes each

1: Geology's Impact on History 25: Anatomy of an Earthquake - Sumatra
2: Geologic History - Dating the Earth 26: History of Plate Motions - Where and Why
3: Earth's Structure - Journey to Earth's Center 27: Assembling North America
4: Earth's Heat - Conduction and Convection 28: The Sun-Driven Hydrologic Cycle
5: The Basics of Plate Tectonics 29: Water on Earth - The Blue Planet
6: Making Matter - The Big Bang and Big Bangs 30: Earth's Atmosphere - Air and Weather
7: Creating Earth - Recipe for a Planet 31: Erosion - Weathering and Land Removal
8: The Rock Cycle - Matter in Motion 32: Jungles and Deserts - Feast or Famine
9: Minerals - The Building Blocks of Rocks 33: Mass Wasting - Rocks Fall Downhill
10: Magma - The Building Mush of Rocks 34: Streams - Shaping the Land
11: Crystallization - The Rock Cycle Starts 35: Groundwater - The Invisible Reservoir
12: Volcanoes - Lava and Ash 36: Shorelines - Factories of Sedimentary Rocks
13: Folding - Bending Blocks, Flowing Rocks 37: Glaciers - The Power of Ice
14: Earthquakes - Examining Earth's Faults 38: Planetary Wobbles and the Last Ice Age
15: Plate Tectonics - Why Continents Move 39: Long-Term Climate Change
16: The Ocean Seafloor - Unseen Lands 40: Short-Term Climate Change
17: Rifts and Ridges - The Creation of Plates 41: Climate Change and Human History
18: Transform Faults - Tears of a Crust 42: Plate Tectonics and Natural Resources
19: Subduction Zones - Recycling Oceans 43: Nonrenewable Energy Sources
20: Continents Collide and Mountains Are Made 44: Renewable Energy Sources
21: Intraplate Volcanoes - Finding the Hot Spots 45: Humans - Dominating Geologic Change
22: Destruction from Volcanoes and Earthquakes 46: History of Life - Complexity and Diversity
23: Predicting Natural Disasters 47: The Solar System - Earth's Neighborhood
24: Anatomy of a Volcano - Mount St. Helens 48: The Lonely Planet - Fermi's Paradox

6-6-18 Why are there so many devastating volcanic eruptions right now?
High-profile volcanic eruptions in Hawaii and Guatemala are grabbing the headlines, but geophysics isn't responsible for connecting the two disasters. First Hawaii, where the Kilauea volcano has been spewing lava and ash for more than a month. Then Guatemala, where the Volcan del Fuego volcano erupted with huge and lethal force on Sunday. But did one cause the other? At least 75 deaths have been confirmed in Guatemala and 200 remain missing, while at least 80 houses have been destroyed in Hawaii. Given the scenes of devastation, people could be forgiven for thinking that a chain reaction of catastrophic volcanic activity is upon us. But volcanologists say that the truth is more prosaic. Volcanoes happen all the time in unpopulated areas without us noticing, but when two highly devastating eruptions happen at once, we automatically clutch for a common cause. “For instance, who noticed there was one in Vanautu in April?” says Jess Johnson, a volcanologist at the University of East Anglia who recently spent two years studying Kilauea in Hawaii. “There are so many volcanoes in the world, and there’s always something happening.” Historic data on volcanic eruptions catalogued by the US Smithsonian Institution’s Global Volcanism Program show that the numbers of eruptions has been fairly constant since 2000, hovering between around 65 and 80 per year. There are also solid geological reasons why eruptions tend to be isolated events. “They are fairly local phenomena,” says Johnson. Eruptions happen when rock beneath a volcanic summit melts to form magma, but the cause of this melting is usually local in nature, within just tens of kilometres. In Guatemala, one tectonic plate sliding over another is to blame. In Hawaii, Kilauea erupted after the floor of a lava lake at the summit collapsed, draining the material into the plumbing beneath. Different places, different geology, different causes. “If erupting volcanoes are more than 100 kilometres apart, there’s no connection,” says Johnson.

7-1-17 The rock that records how we all got here
The rock that records how we all got here
You're going to want to touch it; you're definitely going to want to run your fingers over its wavy lines. This 2.5-tonne lump of rock will be one of the new star exhibits when London's Natural History Museum re-opens its front entrance-space in a couple of weeks' time. The Hintze Hall has been closed for most of this year to allow the South Kensington attraction to remodel its welcome to visitors. Out has gone "Dippy" the diplodocus dinosaur, and in its place has come a massive skeleton of a blue whale. From 14 July, as you go into the NHM, you'll be confronted by the largest animal on the planet diving down at you from the ceiling. Your correspondent has had a sneak peek, and it's spectacular. Earth's early oceans would have been full of reduced iron in solution that had been washed off the continents, and when it combined with the nascent oxygen being produced by photosynthetic bacteria, the resulting oxides would have precipitated to settle on the seafloor. The different layers incorporated into the rock probably mark cycles of bacterial boom and bust. Ultimately, all of the right type of iron in the ancient waters was consumed and the free oxygen had nowhere else to go but up and out into the atmosphere. Earth had become a different place. "The rock tells a fantastic story," says Prof Richard Herrington, the head of Earth sciences at the NHM. "This is the prelude to complex life. We're oxygen breathers. An organism needs an energy source and the burning of carbon in the presence of oxygen is largely where we get our energy from. It still took two billion years from this rock to get to multicellular organisms, but that's another story," he told BBC News.

How the Earth Works
Lectures by Professor Michael E. Wysession

Sioux Falls Scientists endorse How the Earth Works for showing
all the processes that change the earth itself and
make it an ever changing "living" world.