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Changing Earth

In this worksheet, students will study the movement of tectonic plates and the changes on the surface and atmosphere of the Earth over millions of years.

'Changing Earth' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 4

Curriculum topic:  Chemistry: Earth and Atmospheric Science

Curriculum subtopic:  Evidence for Composition and Evolution on the Earth's Atmosphere

Difficulty level:  

down

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

It feels "like a sudden large jolt followed quickly by more strong shaking that may last a few seconds or up to a couple of minutes if it's a rare great event. The shaking will feel violent and it will be difficult to stand up." US Department of the interior - how to spot an earthquake. 

One of the biggest fault lines lies on the west coast of America - going right through the cities of Los Angles and San Diago. It is called the San Andras fault and is quite a popular earthquake site. Geologists have been studying it for a really long time trying to predict when a large earthquake will happen, but how do we know what the indie fo the earth look like? This activity will show us how. 

 

The Earth has an iron (inner and outer) core surrounded by a mantle. The outside is a thin, rocky crust. You can see the Earth's structure in the diagram below:

 

An image of the inside of the earth.


The outer layer of the Earth is called the lithosphere. It is made of the crust and the upper part of the mantle. The Earth's crust is made of tectonic plates (see diagram below) that are less dense than the mantle, so they float on it. There are two types of plates: continental, which carry the continents, and oceanic, which lie underneath the oceans. Continental plates are less dense than oceanic ones. Tectonic plates move slowly apart or collide and even scrape sideways past each other. When plates collide, the denser oceanic plate slips below the continental one; this is called subduction and the vibration causes earthquakes.

 

An image of a reverse fault forming a trench.

 

Image of the tectonic plates of the earth.


The Earth's atmosphere is also changing due to pollution. Carbon dioxide in air has increased, because more fossil fuels are being burnt, as the world's population increases and deforestation means there are fewer trees to release oxygen into the atmosphere by photosynthesis.


Pollutant gases are carbon monoxide (poisonous), oxides of nitrogen (photochemical smog, acid rain) and sulfur dioxide (acid rain). Cars are now fitted with catalytic converters to reduce the amount of these pollutants.

What do we call the layer underneath the Earth's crust?

What makes the Earth’s crust?

Air

Water

Rock

What makes the Earth’s lithosphere?

Crust

Core

The whole of mantle

Upper mantle

What are the two types of tectonic plates?

Continental

Oceans

Oceanic

Continents

What describes the movement of the tectonic plates? Tick three options.

They move apart

They go up and down

They collide

They move sideways

Is the following statement true or false?

 

Continental plates are denser than oceanic plates.

True

False

What is subduction?

When the denser continental plate slips below the oceanic plate.

When the denser oceanic plate slips below the continental one.

When the two plates collide.

What causes less oxygen to be released into the atmosphere?

Deforestation

Global warming

Fractional distillation

What does sulfur oxide cause in the atmosphere?

Deforestation

The ozone layer

Acid rain

Select the poisonous gas.

Sulfur dioxide

Carbon monoxide

Carbon dioxide

  • Question 1

What do we call the layer underneath the Earth's crust?

CORRECT ANSWER
mantle
EDDIE SAYS
The layer underneath the Earth's crust is called the mantle. It is made of a semi-liquid rock that is flowing all of the time and moving the crust.
  • Question 2

What makes the Earth’s crust?

CORRECT ANSWER
Rock
EDDIE SAYS
The Earth’s crust is made of rocks. That is why it is solid. If it was not a solid then we would not be able to stand on it.
  • Question 3

What makes the Earth’s lithosphere?

CORRECT ANSWER
Crust
Upper mantle
EDDIE SAYS
The Earth’s lithosphere is made of the crust and the upper mantle.
  • Question 4

What are the two types of tectonic plates?

CORRECT ANSWER
Continental
Oceanic
EDDIE SAYS
The two types of tectonic plates are continental and oceanic. They are always the strange version of the words you know - because scientists used to love using Latin and Greek words to describe thigs - it made them sound smart.
  • Question 5

What describes the movement of the tectonic plates? Tick three options.

CORRECT ANSWER
They move apart
They collide
They move sideways
EDDIE SAYS
Tectonic plates move apart, collide and move sideways. All three of these will cause earthquakes, but each one will be slightly different.
  • Question 6

Is the following statement true or false?

 

Continental plates are denser than oceanic plates.

CORRECT ANSWER
False
EDDIE SAYS
Continental plates are less dense than oceanic plates. This is why you will find them floating. Oceanic plates are denser because the weight of the water has crushed them down.
  • Question 7

What is subduction?

CORRECT ANSWER
When the denser oceanic plate slips below the continental one.
EDDIE SAYS
Subduction is when the denser oceanic plate slips below the continental one. This normally happens when an oceanic plate meets a continental plate.
  • Question 8

What causes less oxygen to be released into the atmosphere?

CORRECT ANSWER
Deforestation
EDDIE SAYS
Deforestation causes less oxygen to be released into the atmosphere, as trees release oxygen through the process of photosynthesis. So cutting them down means less oxygen.
  • Question 9

What does sulfur oxide cause in the atmosphere?

CORRECT ANSWER
Acid rain
EDDIE SAYS
Sulfur oxide causes acid rain. This happens when it combines with water and makes sulphuric acid. This water in the clouds then rains down with the sulphuric acid in it.
  • Question 10

Select the poisonous gas.

CORRECT ANSWER
Carbon monoxide
EDDIE SAYS
Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas.
sulfur dioxide is an acid, and carbon dioxide is not poisonous but is expelled from our bodies.
---- OR ----

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