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Potential to Kinetic

The Big Ideas:

The Earth is a Dynamic Structure

Change is evident in all the spheres of the Earth.

Changes are the result of internal and external energy sources and of energy transfer.

As an example in meteorology, different latitudes of the earth receive different amounts of solar energy, resulting in regional temperature differences.

The transfer of energy is responsible for many of the changes to the Earth’s surface.

One example is the change from potential energy to kinetic energy during the impact of an asteroid. Pictured here is the Barringer Crater in Arizona.

courtesy of the US Geological Survey

Landslides, earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, slumping, mass movement, erosion and deposition are the result of the transfer from potential to kinetic energy.

Here, a landslide shows the results of the transfer from potential to kinetic energy.

The physical processes at work today are evident in the past and can be seen in the fossil record.

Pictured here is an example of cross bedding from Zion National monument, which shows the movement of sand due to wind forces from millions of years ago.

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