Chapter 3: The Origin and Structure of Earth

Learning Objectives

After reading this chapter you should be able to:

  • recall the age of the universe, the solar system, and Earth
  • explain the processes responsible for the early formation of Earth
  • identify the names and composition of the various layers of the Earth
  • explain the differences between oceanic and continental crust
  • explain the difference between lithosphere and asthenosphere
  • define the concept of isostasy
  • explain how indirect methods can be used to investigate the interior of Earth

To understand the geological processes occurring in the ocean, it is important to recognize some of the phenomena that led to the formation and structure of the Earth. In this chapter we will start at the very beginning, with a discussion of the Big Bang and the origin of the universe and our solar system. From there, we will investigate the formation of the Earth, and the reasons behind its interior and exterior structure. Finally, we will end the chapter by attempting to answer the question of how we can know what is happening deep within the Earth’s interior.



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Introduction to Oceanography Copyright © by Paul Webb is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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