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The Spring 2011 issue of The Earth Scientist is focused on modernizing seismology education. Thanks to IRIS, you can download this issue for free as a pdf. Print copies are available in our online store.
This animated image shows heat rising in convection currents from the outer boundary of the core and cooling at the surface.

Cooling History, part 2

The heat of a body has the power to control activity because energy must be transported from the warmest spots to the coolest spots by whatever means is possible. The process of cooling causes activities on a planet.

Planetary bodies cool by way of:

  • 1.) convection of material inside the body, which brings hot material from the deep interior closer to the surface
  • 2.) volcanism, which brings hot material to the surface
  • 3.) motions in the atmosphere and oceans, where air/water is carried from the warm equatorial regions to the cooler poles
  • 4.) radiation of infrared energy (heat) directly to space from the surface.
If a planet is small, it can cool much faster to space than can a body which is larger.

Earth has had a long a complicated cooling history. An understanding of the Earth's history might begin with the record of geologic time.

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