Module 5: Surfaces & Interiors

WORLD CLASSIFICATION ACTIVITY


Select 3 terrestrial planets and 5 Jovian moons. Then complete the following:

1. For convenience (this is not a standard classification, but it's representative of how planetologists think), let's divide worlds with solid surfaces into four major classes:

a - worlds that never differentiated (no interior layers) -- call them "primitive"

b - worlds that differentiated partially or fully, but did little else, except for the effects of impacts -- call them "passive"

c - worlds that once had continuing interactions between their surfaces and interiors, such as tectonics (plate tectonics or other forms), volcanoes, etc., but don't anymore -- call them "once active"

d - worlds that still have continuing interactions, as above -- call them "currently active"

These are not truly clear, discrete groups, but the classification can be useful.

Classify each of the worlds you chose into one of these categories. If you do not have any worlds that fit each category, find one or more additional worlds so that you have at least one example for each classification type. Give a brief reason for your classification of each world; if there is a judgement call involved, you may give a more detailed justification.

2. Distinguish between evolutionary (progressive, one-direction) processes and cyclic (repeated - may be more a spiral than a cycle) processes. (a) Describe 1-2 examples of each, and why you classify them as cyclic or evolutionary. (b) Why are cyclic processes more common on Earth than on Moon?

SUBMIT your results for this activity.


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last updated 5/5/02