BGR Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe

Giraf

 

Coming soon: GIRAF 2011 Workshop

5. - 9. December 2011
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Organised by the IUGS-CGI and UNESCO
Hosting Organisation: SEAMIC

GIRAF: Geoscience InfoRmation AFrica. Logo

The aims of GIRAF are:

  • Build a pan-African geoscience information knowledge network of Geological Surveys, Universities and Companies
  • Exchange and share geoscience information and good practice
  • Bring together relevant African authorities, national experts and stakeholders in geoscience information
  • Make Africa a more active part of the international geoscience information community
  • Stimulate and support cross-border geoscience information projects in Africa
  • Gather and review up-to-date feedback on the actual situation of geoscience information status and progress in Africa
  • Review the progress of the GIRAF network as set up at the 1st workshop in Namibia 2009
  • In the long run improve the way geoscience information contributes to improve the health and prosperity of the people in Africa

Coming soon: 34th International Geological Congress (IGC)

Brisbane, Australia (5-10 August 2012)

A GeoHost scheme will provide financial support to a limited number of

Young Earth Scientists and scientists who live and work or study

in low income countries to participate in the 34th IGC.

The Sustainable Mining in Africa Workshop (TW1)

is likely to be of specific interest to GIRAF members.

Earth science

Earth science or geoscience includes all fields of natural science related to the planet Earth. This is a branch of science dealing with the physical constitution of the Earth and its atmosphere. Earth science is the study of our planet's physical characteristics, from earthquakes to raindrops, and floods to fossils. Earth science can be considered to be a branch of planetary science, but with a much older history. Earth science encompasses four main branches of study, the lithosphere, the hydrosphere, the atmosphere, and the biosphere, each of which is further broken down into more specialized fields.

There are both reductionist and holistic approaches to earth sciences. It is also the study of Earth and its neighbors in space. Some earth scientists use their knowledge of the planet to locate and develop energy and mineral resources. Others study the impact of human activity on Earth's environment, and design methods to protect the planet. Some use their knowledge about earth processes such as volcanoes, earthquakes, and hurricanes to plan communities that will not expose people to these dangerous events.

The Earth sciences can include the study of geology, the lithosphere, and the large-scale structure of the Earth's interior, as well as the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere. Typically, Earth scientists use tools from geography, chronology, physics, chemistry, biology, and mathematics to build a quantitative understanding of how the Earth works and evolves. Earth science affects our everyday lives. For example, meteorologists study the weather and watch for dangerous storms. Hydrologists study water and warn of floods. Seismologists study earthquakes and try to predict where they will strike. Geologists study rocks and help to locate useful minerals. Earth scientists often work in the fieldperhaps climbing mountains, exploring the seabed, crawling through caves, or wading in swamps. They measure and collect samples (such as rocks or river water), then they record their findings on charts and maps.

Beneath the Earth's crust lies the mantle which is heated by the radioactive decay of heavy elements. The mantle is not quite solid and consists of magma which is in a state of semi-perpetual convection. This convection process causes the lithospheric plates to move, albeit slowly. The resulting process is known as plate tectonics.

Plate tectonics might be thought of as the process by which the Earth is resurfaced. As the result of seafloor spreading, new crust and lithosphere is created by the flow of magma from the mantle to the near surface, through fissures, where it cools and solidifies. Through subduction, oceanic crust and lithosphere returns to the convecting mantle.

The troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, thermosphere, and exosphere are the five layers which make up Earth's atmosphere. 75% of the gases in the atmosphere are located within the troposphere, the lowest layer. In all, the atmosphere is made up of about 78.0% nitrogen, 20.9% oxygen, and 0.92% argon. In addition to the nitrogen, oxygen, and argon there are small amounts of other gases including CO2 and water vapor. Water vapor and CO2 allow the earth's atmosphere to catch and hold the Sun's energy through a phenomenon called the greenhouse effect. This allows Earth's surface to be warm enough to have liquid water and support life. In addition to storing heat, the atmosphere also protects living organisms by shielding the Earth's surface from cosmic rayswhich are often incorrectly thought to be deflected by the magnetic field. The magnetic fieldcreated by the internal motions of the coreproduces the magnetosphere which protects Earth's atmosphere from the solar wind. As the earth is 4.5 billion years old, it would have lost its atmosphere by now if there were no protective magnetosphere.

An electromagnet is a magnet that is created by an electric current. The Earth has a solid iron inner core surrounded by a fluid outer core that convects; therefore, Earth is an electromagnet. The motion of fluid convection sustains the Earth's magnetic field.

Earth science generally recognizes four spheres, the lithosphere, the hydrosphere, the atmosphere, and the biosphere; these correspond to rocks, water, air and life. Also included by some are the cryosphere (corresponding to ice) as a distinct portion of the hydrosphere and the pedosphere (corresponding to soil) as an active and intermixed sphere.

Contact

    
Dr. Kristine Asch
Phone: +49-(0)511-643-3324
Fax: +49-(0)511-643-3782
books about travels here