The biosphere is connected to the lithosphere, or the Earth’s crust, and there are important geological cycles that connect these two systems together.

We’ve learnt that living systems have, over the last 3.5 billion years, created the conditions necessary for life in the biosphere. These processes have removed many chemicals – like carbon and heavy metals – from the atmosphere and biosphere and buried them deep in the Earth’s crust through slow processes of sedimentation. These slow geological processes have stored many materials, like carbon rich oil and heavy metals, deep inside the Earth outside of the biosphere.

The Earth has natural systems that sometimes returns some of these materials to the biosphere. Volcanos dramatically release large quantities of materials from deep inside the Earth to the surface. Weathering, erosion and tectonic movements also release materials back into the biosphere. However, over periods of time these very slow processes are balanced out by the natural sedimentation and mineralisation processes. During the evolution of humans, these processes have maintained a relative chemical balance in which life has blossomed and prospered in ideal conditions.


WEnotes activity

  1. Read this article published in the UK Independent newspaper on 16th October 2014.
  2. Consider the following questions:
    • Do you agree that the current global epoch should be renamed as the Anthropocene?
    • What are the arguments for and against, that support your opinion?
  3. Write a WEnote with your thoughts.

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