LC8. Highs and Lows Over the Past 750 Million Years

Chapter 8 { Life and Climate Contents } Volcanoes that occur near the edges of continents are called strato or ash volcanoes.  Volcanoes like Mount St. Helens were responsible for major changes in past climates because of the important role they played in the long-term carbon cycle.  While they sometimes produce lava, they are more […]

LC7.1. Observing Convection Currents

{ Life and Climate Contents } { All GSS Books } (This activity also appears in GSS Energy Use chapter 3) Model 1: Adapted from GEMS Convection Activity  This model uses water, food coloring as a marker of currents in the water, and a cup of very hot water as a heat source. Movie clips of […]

LC7. Earth’s Shifting Crust

Chapter 7 { Life and Climate Contents } I. Dinosaurs in Antarctica? In 1991, exploring just 400 miles from the present-day South Pole, geologists discovered the remains of dinosaurs! This discovery confirmed what many scientists had inferred—that 200 million years ago Antarctica had a warm climate, with forests and flowing rivers, giant fern trees, dinosaurs, […]

LC6. How and When Did Complex Life Begin?

Chapter 6 { Life and Climate Contents } I. Discovery of the Earliest Complex Life Forms For a long time it was thought that complex life forms, which can be seen without the aid of a microscope, started to evolve during the Cambrian period, which lasted from about 570 million years ago to about 505 […]

LC5. The Origin of Our Oxygen-Rich Atmosphere

Chapter 5 { Life and Climate Contents } Today our atmosphere consists mostly of nitrogen (about 78%) and oxygen (21%) plus carbon dioxide and other trace gases (about 1%).  The nitrogen is injected into the atmosphere during volcanic eruptions. The reason nitrogen is so plentiful in the atmosphere is that it does not easily combine […]

LC4. The Beginning of Life on Earth

Chapter 4 { Life and Climate Contents } One fundamental question that scientists have asked is: how did life on Earth begin?  Many theories have been suggested in answer to this important question; we will present two of them. First, however, we’ll describe the most ancient fossils discovered so far, and significant laboratory experiments that […]

LC3. How Do Scientists Play the Dating Game?

Chapter 3 { Life and Climate Contents } I. Kinds of Rocks Earth’s history is written in its rocks. But before the 1780s, no one had figured out how to read that history. In fact, the question of why there were different layers of rock in a variety of formations simply didn’t generate any interest. […]

LC2. Where Did Earth’s Atmosphere Come From?

Chapter 2 { Life and Climate Contents } Early Ideas About the Origin of the Solar System In 1755, Immanuel Kant, a German philosopher, published his theory of the origin of the solar system. Kant acknowledged in his essay that he first got his ideas from reading a detailed account of Thomas Wright’s theory of […]

LC1.1. Can You Observe The Effects of Air Pressure?

{ Life and Climate Contents } { All GSS Books } Air pressure is all around us. We live in a sea of air, but it’s hard to see its effects. Here’s an activity that will help you see the power of air pressure. You will need: an empty aluminum soda can a hot plate […]

LC1. Discovering the Atmosphere

Chapter 1 { Life and Climate Contents } What’s This Book About? The cartoon refers to global warming­—the theory that Earth’s average temperature is gradually increasing due to the burning of fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are coal, oil, and natural gas, which are burned primarily by cars and in factories. If Earth were a patient […]