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Portal:Earth sciences

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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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Crater Lake
Crater Lake is a caldera lake located in the U.S. state of Oregon. It is the main feature of Crater Lake National Park and famous for its deep blue color and water clarity. The lake partly fills a nearly 4,000 feet (1,220 m) deep caldera that was formed around 5,677 (± 150) BC by the collapse of the volcano Mount Mazama. On June 12, 1853, John Wesley Hillman was reportedly the first European American to see what he named "Deep Blue Lake" in Oregon. The lake was renamed at least three times, as Blue Lake, Lake Majesty, and finally Crater Lake. Crater Lake is known for its famous piece of driftwood named the "Old Man of the Lake." It is a full-sized tree that has been bobbing vertically in the lake for more than a century. Due to the cold water of the lake, the tree has been rather well preserved. While having no indigenous fish population, the lake was stocked from 1888 to 1941 with a variety of fish. Several species have formed self sustaining populations. The commemorative Oregon State Quarter, which was released by the United States Mint in 2005, features an image of Crater Lake on its reverse side.

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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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