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Hydrosphere, Biosphere, and Lithosphere Essay

Describe the paths of water through the hydrologic cycle

The hydrologic cycle is a term that refers to the continuous movement of water on, above, and below the surface of the earth. This movement is occasioned by various processes; evaporation, condensation, and precipitation. All the aforementioned processes involve energy gains and losses that facilitate the transformation of water from one state to another. Evaporation is a process that facilitates the change of state from liquid to gas. During this process, the water molecules gain energy and move further from one another. Condensation involves loss of energy whereby the water particles lose energy resulting in a change of state from liquid to solid. Precipitation, just like condensation, results from a loss of energy and leads to a change of state from gas to liquid (Tomecek, 2010). The water table is the uppermost part of the saturation zone and groundwater describes the water that is found within this zone. Finally, a cone of depression is the space left after water has been pumped out of the groundwater well (Hess, 2011).

Give an example of a specific food chain, labeling the various levels of the food chain.

Describe the paths of water through the hydrologic cycle.

The food chain above has four animals; a grasshopper, frog, snake, and a hawk. The frog eats the grasshopper and in turn, the frog is eaten by the snake. finally, the snake is eaten by the hawk. The grasshopper is on the lowest stage of the food chain, followed by the frog, the snake, and then the hawk, which is at the top of the food chain. A geographer’s study of organisms usually focuses on establishing the geographical distribution of such organisms while a biologist focuses on the biological aspects of the organism such as its anatomy, reproductive system, and any other aspect that will enable the biologist gain insight regarding the biological functioning of the organism (Tomecek, 2010). The term biome or ecosystem refers to locations with similar climatic conditions. Zooegraphical region refers to locations with similar fauna characteristics. Tundra refers to extremely cold biomes with little plant life. On the other hand, deserts are much warmer than tundra and support various plant lives that are adapted to these climatic conditions (Tomecek, 2010).

Explain the importance of the nature of the parent material to soil formation and type

Various factors affect soil development including the time taken for the soil to develop, type of parent material forming the soil, and the topology of the earth’s surface on which the soil is formed. Soil formed while developing on a forested sloped area will be rich in nutrient content because it is accorded adequate time to develop. On the other hand, soil developed on a flat area will be prone to erosion and this will affect its development. The nature of parent material is an important aspect as far as the solid form is concerned. The parent material determines whether the soil formed is sandy or clay (Tomecek, 2010). As much as the parent material is important in soil development, other factors might outweigh their impact as far as soil formation is concerned. One of the factors is the topography of the land. A good example is the formation of clay soil, which cannot be formed on a flat surface even if the parent material favors its formation. Internal processes are responsible for the formation of internal structures while external processes are responsible for shaping the external structure of the earth (Tomecek, 2010). The soil content is different as a result of various processes taking place within the surface such as soil erosion.

Describe the general sequence of events in continental drift since the time of 5 separate continents 450 million years ago

The sequence of continental drifts since the time of 5 separate continents (450 million years ago) started with the closing of the Tethys basin. This was then followed by the breakup of Pangea (supercontinent). The older continental drift theory by Wegener argues that the formation of the seven continents resulted from a drift of the singular original continent to form the seven continents. According to Wegener, the single continent consisted of lighter rocky material that was on top of heavier crustal rocks (Drever, 2010). Wegener asserts that this drift is not over but there is still a gradual drift of the continents. The plate tectonics theory asserts that the earth is made up of several plates lying on top of one another and the movement of the continents was occasioned by relative movement of the plates. Volcanic activity also occurs along plate boundaries as a result of the movement of divergent and convergent plate margins. The viability of plate tectonics can be underscored by the nature of the Pacific Ocean basin that helps to contain several plates’ boundaries and as a result, experience active volcanic activity (Drever, 2010).

Provide a reason why some scientists believe the Pleistocene is over and a reason why other scientists believe we are now in an interglacial stage

Some scientists believe that Pleistocene is over because of the current nature of the earth’s surface where glacial material is significantly less compared to the earlier years. On the other hand, the second group of scientists believes that we are in an interglacial age where there is reduced glacial material on the earth’s surface. The assertion that we are in an interglacial age explains the existence of ice (Drever, 2010). This difference in opinion can be occasioned by the fact that there no scientific methods that can be used to verify the assertions (Drever, 2010).


Drever, J. (2005). Surface and Ground Water, Weathering, and Soils. Elsevier. New York.

Hess, D. (2011). McKnight’s Physical Geography: A Landscape Appreciation (10th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.

Tomecek, S. (2010). Plate Tectonics. New York: Infobase.

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