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Portal:Earth sciences

The Earth Sciences Portal

Introduction

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Earth Science is the branch that deals with physical constitution of the Earth and its atmosphere. Earth sciences (also known as geoscience, the geosciences or Earth Science) is an all-embracing term for the sciences related to the planet Earth. They are a special type of planetary sciences which deal with the structure and composition of the Earth, its origins, physical features, changing aspects, and all of its natural phenomena. Earth is the only planet known to have life, and hence the only planet with biological processes and a biosphere.

The major disciplines of Earth sciences use physics, mathematics, and chemistry to build a quantitative understanding of the principal areas or spheres of the Earth system. As in many sciences, the Earth can be studied both experimentally and theoretically. Also, there are both reductionist and holistic approaches to Earth Science.

Although mining and precious stones have been in human interests throughout the history of civilization, their development into the sciences of economic geology and mineralogy did not occur until the 18th century. The study of the earth, particularly palaeontology, blossomed in the 19th century and the growth of other disciplines like geophysics in the 20th century led to the development of the theory of plate tectonics in the 1960s, which has had a similar impact on the Earth sciences as the theory of evolution had on biology. Earth sciences today are closely linked to climate research and the petroleum and mineral exploration industries.

Applications of Earth sciences include the exploration and exploitation of mineral and hydrocarbon resources, cartography, weather forecasting patterns, and warning of volcanic eruptions. Earth sciences are related to the environmental sciences as well as the other subfields of planetary astronomy.

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India climatic zone
The climate of India comprises a wide range of weather conditions across a large geographic scale and varied topography, making generalisations difficult. Analysed according to the Köppen system, India hosts six major climatic subtypes, ranging from desert in the west, to alpine tundra and glaciers in the north, to humid tropical regions supporting rainforests in the southwest and the island territories. Many regions have starkly different microclimates. The nation has four seasons: winter (January and February), summer (March to May), a monsoon (rainy) season (June to September), and a post-monsoon period (October to December). India's unique geography and geology strongly influence its climate; this is particularly true of the Himalayas in the north and the Thar Desert in the northwest. The Himalayas act as a barrier to the frigid katabatic winds flowing down from Central Asia. Thus, North India is kept warm or only mildly cold during winter; in summer, the same phenomenon makes India relatively hot. Although the Tropic of Cancer—the boundary between the tropics and subtropics—passes through the middle of India, the whole country is considered to be tropical. As in much of the tropics, monsoonal and other weather conditions in India are unstable: major droughts, floods, cyclones and other natural disasters are sporadic, but have killed or displaced millions. India's long-term climatic stability is further threatened by global warming. Climatic diversity in India makes the analysis of these issues complex.

Did you know?

Photograph of volcano
  • ...that a tuya (pictured) is a type of flat-topped, steep-sided volcano formed when lava erupts through a thick glacier or ice sheet?
  • ...that in the United States, on average tornadoes are around 500 feet (150 m) across, and stay on the ground for 5 miles (8 km)?
  • ...that dust storms can carry large amounts of dust, so much so that the leading edge of one can appear as a solid wall of dust as much as 1.6 km (1 mile) high?
  • ...that the area of the world Ocean is 361 million square  kilometers, its volume is approximately 1.3 billion cubic kilometers, and its average depth is 3,790 meters?
  • ...that three quarters of the earth's atmosphere lies within the troposphere, and the depth of this layer varies between 17 km at the equator and 7 km at the poles?
  • ...that the Mariana Trench is the deepest point in the ocean?

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Cirrus cloud
Credit: Piccolo Namek

Cirrus clouds are composed of ice crystals and shaped like hairlike filaments. They are formed at an altitudes above 5000 metres (16,500 feet). The streaks are made of snowflakes that are falling from the cloud and being caught by the high level winds. The streaks point in the direction of the wind and may appear straight giving the clouds the appearance of a comma (cirrus uncinus), or may by seem tangled, an indication of high level turbulence.

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For a more comprehensive treatment of topics, see Outline of earth science and Index of earth science articles

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