ENCYCLOPEDIC ENTRY

Earth is the planet we live on, the third of eight planets in our solar system and the only known place in the universe to support life.

Earth Science, Astronomy, Geology, Geography, Physical Geography

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  • The active outer shell of Earth is dominated by tectonic plates, whose interactions result in volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and geysers. Click to visit MapMaker Interactive's layer on Earth's tectonic plates.

Earth is the planet we live on, one of eight planets in our solar system and the only known place in the universe to support life.

Earth is the third planet from the sun , after Mercury and Venus, and before Mars. It is about 150 million kilometers (about 93 million miles) from the sun. This distance, called an astronomical unit (AU), is a standard unit of measurement in astronomy . Earth is one AU from the sun. The planet Jupiter is about 5.2 AU from the sun—about 778 million kilometers (483.5 million miles).

Earth is the largest and most massive of the rocky inner planets , although it is dwarfed by the gas giants beyond the Asteroid Belt . Its diameter is about 12,700 kilometers (7,900 miles), and its mass is about 5.97×1024 kilograms (6.58×1021 tons). In contrast, Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system, has a diameter of 143,000 kilometers (88,850 miles), and its mass is about 1,898×1024 kilograms (2093×1021 tons).

Earth is an oblate spheroid . This means it is spherical in shape, but not perfectly round. It has a slightly greater radius at the Equator , the imaginary line running horizontally around the middle of the planet. In addition to bulging in the middle, Earth’s poles are slightly flattened. The geoid describes the model shape of Earth, and is used to calculate precise surface locations.

Earth has one natural satellite , the moon . Earth is the only planet in the solar system to have one moon. Venus and Mercury do not have any moons, for example, while Jupiter and Saturn each have more than a dozen.

Planet Earth  

Earth’s interior is a complex structure of superheated rocks. Most geologists recognize three major layers: the dense core , the bulky mantle , and the brittle crust . No one has ever ventured below Earth’s crust.

Earth’s core is mostly made of iron and nickel . It consists of a solid center surrounded by an outer layer of liquid . The core is found about 2,900 kilometers (1,802 miles) below Earth’s surface, and has a radius of about 3,485 kilometers (2,165 miles).

A mantle of heavy rock (mostly silicates ) surrounds the core. The mantle is about 2,900 kilometers (1,802 miles) thick, and makes up a whopping 84 percent of Earth’s total volume . Parts of the mantle are molten , meaning they are composed of partly melted rock. The mantle’s molten rock is constantly in motion. It is forced to the surface during volcanic eruptions and at mid-ocean ridges .

Earth’s crust is the planet’s thinnest layer, accounting for just one percent of Earth’s mass. There are two kinds of crust: thin, dense oceanic crust and thick, less-dense continental crust . Oceanic crust extends about five to 10 kilometers (three to six miles) beneath the ocean floor. Continental crust is about 35 to 70 kilometers (22 to 44 miles) thick.

Exterior: Tectonic Activity

The crust is covered by a series of constantly moving tectonic plates . New crust is created along mid-ocean ridges and rift valleys , where plates pull apart from each other in a process called rifting . Plates slide above and below each other in a process called subduction . They crash against each other in a process called faulting .

Tectonic activity such as subduction and faulting has shaped the crust into a variety of landscapes . Earth’s highest point is Mount Everest, Nepal, which soars 8,850 kilometers (29,035 feet) in the Himalaya Mountains in Asia. Mount Everest continues to grow every year, as subduction drives the Indo-Australian tectonic plate below the Eurasian tectonic plate. Subduction also creates Earth’s deepest point, the Mariana Trench, about 11 kilometers (6.9 miles) below the surface of the Pacific Ocean. The heavy Pacific plate is being subducted beneath the small Mariana plate.

Plate tectonics are also responsible for landforms such as geysers , earthquakes , and volcanoes . Tectonic activity around the Pacific plate, for instance, creates the Ring of Fire . This tectonically active area includes volcanoes such as Mount Fuji, Japan, and earthquake-prone fault zones such as the west coast of the United States.

Revolution and Rotation

Earth is a rocky body constantly moving around the sun in a path called an orbit . Earth and the moon follow a slightly oval-shaped orbit around the sun every year.

Each journey around the sun, a trip of about 940 million kilometers (584 million miles), is called a revolution. A year on Earth is the time it takes to complete one revolution, about 365.25 days. Earth orbits the sun at a speedy rate of about 30 kilometers per second (18.5 miles per second).

At the same time that it revolves around the sun, Earth rotates on its own axis . Rotation is when an object, such as a planet, turns around an invisible line running down its center. Earth’s axis is vertical, running from the North Pole to the South Pole. Earth makes one complete rotation about every 24 hours. Earth rotates unevenly, spinning faster at the Equator than at the poles. At the Equator, Earth rotates at about 1,670 kilometers per hour (1,040 miles per hour), while at 45° north, for example, (the approximate latitude of Green Bay, Wisconsin, United States) Earth rotates at 1,180 kilometers per hour (733 miles per hour).

Earth’s rotation causes the periods of light and darkness we call day and night. The part of Earth facing the sun is in daylight; the part facing away from the sun is in darkness. If Earth did not rotate, one-half of Earth would always be too hot to support life, and the other half would be frozen. Earth rotates from west to east, so the sun appears to rise in the east and set in the west. 

In addition to Earth’s revolution and rotation periods, we experience light and darkness due to Earth’s axis not being straight up-and-down. Earth’s axis of rotation is tilted 23.5°. This tilt influences temperature changes and other weather patterns from season to season. 

The Spheres

Earth’s physical environment is often described in terms of spheres: the magnetosphere , the atmosphere , the hydrosphere , and the lithosphere . Parts of these spheres make up the biosphere , the area of Earth where life exists.

Magnetosphere

Earth’s magnetosphere describes the pocket of space surrounding our planet where charged particles are controlled by Earth’s magnetic field .

The charged particles that int eract with Earth’s magnetosphere are called the solar wind . The pressure of the solar wind compresses the magnetosphere on the “dayside” of Earth to about 10 Earth radii. The long tail of the magnetosphere on the “nightside” of Earth stretches to hundreds of Earth radii. The most well-known aspect of the magnetosphere are the charged particles that sometimes interact over its poles—the auroras , or Northern and Southern Lights.

Earth’s atmosphere is a blanket of gases enveloping Earth and retained by our planet’s gravity . Atmospheric gases include nitrogen, water vapor , oxygen , and carbon dioxide .

The atmosphere is responsible for temperature and other weather patterns on Earth. It blocks most of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation (UV), conducts solar radiation and precipitation through constantly moving air masses , and keeps our planet’s average surface temperature to about 15° Celsius (59° Fahrenheit).

The atmosphere has a layered structure. From the ground toward the sky, the layers are the troposphere , stratosphere , mesosphere , thermosphere , and exosphere . Up to 75 percent of the total mass of the atmosphere is in the troposphere, where most weather occurs. The boundaries between the layers are not clearly defined, and change depending on latitude and season.

Hydrosphere

The hydrosphere is composed of all the water on Earth. Nearly three-fourths of Earth is covered in water, most of it in the ocean. Less than three percent of the hydrosphere is made up of freshwater . Most freshwater is frozen in ice sheets and glaciers in Antarctica, the North American island of Greenland, and the Arctic. Freshwater can also be found underground, in chambers called aquifers , as well as rivers , lakes , and springs .

Water also circulates around the world as vapor. Water vapor can condense into clouds and fall back to Earth as precipitation.

The hydrosphere helps regulate Earth’s temperature and climate . The ocean absorbs heat from the sun and interacts with the atmosphere to move it around Earth in air currents .

Lithosphere

The lithosphere is Earth’s solid shell. The crust and the upper portion of the mantle form the lithosphere. It extends from Earth’s surface to between 50 and 280 kilometers (31 to 174 miles) below it. The difference in thickness accounts for both thin oceanic and thicker continental crust.

The rocks and minerals in Earth’s lithosphere are made of many elements . Rocks with oxygen and silicon , the most abundant elements in the lithosphere, are called silicates. Quartz is the most common silicate in the lithosphere—and the most common type of rock on Earth.

Cycles on Earth

Almost all materials on Earth are constantly being recycled . The three most common cycles are the water cycle , the carbon cycle , and the rock cycle .

Water Cycle

The water cycle involves three main phases, related to the three states of water: solid, liquid, and gas. Ice , or solid water, is most common near the poles and at high altitudes . Ice sheets and glaciers hold the most solid water.

Ice sheets and glaciers melt, transforming into liquid water. The most abundant liquid water on the planet is in the ocean, although lakes, rivers, and underground aquifers also hold liquid water. Life on Earth is dependent on a supply of liquid water. Most organisms, in fact, are made up mostly of liquid water, called body water . The human body is about 50 percent to 60 percent body water. In addition to survival and hygiene , people use liquid water for energy and transportation .

The third phase of the water cycle occurs as liquid water evaporates. Evaporation is the process of a liquid turning into a gas, or vapor. Water vapor is invisible and makes up part of the atmosphere. As water vapor condenses, or turns back into liquid, pockets of vapor become visible as clouds and fog . Eventually, clouds and fog become saturated , or full of liquid water. This liquid water falls to Earth as precipitation. It can then enter a body of water, such as an ocean or lake, or freeze and become part of a glacier or ice sheet. The water cycle starts again.

Carbon Cycle

The carbon cycle involves the exchange of the element carbon through Earth’s atmosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere. Carbon, essential for all life on Earth, enters the biosphere many ways. Carbon is one of the gases that make up the atmosphere. It is also ejected during the eruption of volcanoes and ocean vents .

All living or once-living materials contain carbon. These materials are organic . Plants and other autotrophs depend on carbon dioxide to create nutrients in a process called photosynthesis . These nutrients contain carbon. Animals and other organisms that consume autotrophs obtain carbon. Fossil fuels , the remains of ancient plants and animals, contain very high amounts of carbon.

As organisms die and decompose , they release carbon into the ocean, soil , or atmosphere. Plants and other autotrophs use this carbon for photosynthesis, starting the carbon cycle again.

The rock cycle is a process that explains the relationship between the three main types of rocks: igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic. Unlike water in the water cycle and or carbon in the carbon cycle, not all rocks are recycled in different forms. There are some rocks that have been in their present form since soon after Earth cooled. These stable rock formations are called cratons .

Igneous rocks are formed as lava hardens. Lava is molten rock ejected by volcanoes during eruptions. Granite and basalt are common types of igneous rocks. Igneous rocks can be broken apart by the forces of erosion and weathering . Winds or ocean currents may then transport these tiny rocks ( sand and dust ) to a different location.

Sedimentary rocks are created from millions of tiny particles slowly building up over time. Igneous rocks can become sedimentary by collecting with other rocks into layers. Sedimentary rocks include sandstone and limestone .

Metamorphic rocks are formed when rocks are subjected to intense heat and pressure. The rocks change (undergo metamorphosis ) to become a new type of rock. Marble , for example, is a metamorphic rock created from rock that was once limestone, a sedimentary rock.

Earth’s Evolution

Earth and the rest of the solar system formed about 4.6 billion years ago from a huge, spinning cloud of gas and dust.

Over a period of about 10 million years, the dense center of the cloud grew very hot. This massive center became the sun. The rest of the particles and objects continued to revolve around the sun, colliding with each other in clumps. Eventually, these clumps compressed into planets, asteroids , and moons. This process generated a lot of heat. 

Eventually, Earth began to cool and its materials began to separate. Lighter materials floated upward and formed a thin crust. Heavier materials sank toward Earth’s center. Eventually, three main layers formed: the core, the mantle, and the crust.

As Earth’s internal structure developed, gases released from the interior mixed together, forming a thick, steamy atmosphere around the planet. Water vapor condensed, and was augmented by water from asteroids and comets that continued to crash to Earth. Rain began to fall and liquid water slowly filled basins in Earth’s crust, forming a primitive ocean that covered most of the planet. Today, ocean waters continue to cover nearly three-quarters of our planet.

The end of Earth will come with the end of the sun. In a few billion years, the sun will no longer be able to sustain the nuclear reactions that keep its mass and luminosity consistent . First, the sun will lose more than a quarter of its mass, which will loosen its gravitational hold on Earth. Earth’s orbit will widen to about 1.7 AU. But the sun will also gain volume, expanding to about 250 times its current size. The sun in this red giant phase will drag Earth into its own fiery atmosphere, destroying the planet.

Eras on Earth

Paleontologists , geologists, and other scientists divide Earth’s history into time periods. The largest time period is the supereon , and only applies to one unit of time, the Precambrian . Eons , eras, and periods are smaller units of geologic time.

Most of Earth’s history took place in the Pre cambrian , which began when Earth was cooling and ended about 542 million years ago. Life began in the Precambrian, in the forms of bacteria and other single-celled organisms. Fossils from the Precambrian are rare and difficult to study. The Precambrian supereon is usually broken into three eons: the Hadean , the Archaean , and the Proterozoic .

We are currently living in the Phanerozoic eon.

The first major era of the Phanerozoic is called the Paleozoic, and the Cambrian is the first period of the Paleozoic era . “The Cambrian Explosion of Life ” was the rapid appearance of almost all forms of life. Paleontologists and geologists have studied fossils of archaea , bacteria, algae , fungi , plants, and animals that lived during the Cambrian period. The Cambrian was followed by the Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, Carboniferous, and Permian periods.

The Mesozoic era began about 251 million years ago. This was the era when dinosaurs flourished . The Mezozoic has three periods: the Triassic, the Jurassic, and the Cretaceous.

We currently live in the Cenozoic era, which began about 65 million years ago. The Cenozoic is generally marked by three periods: the Paleogene, the Neogene, and the Quaternary . We live in the Quaternary period, which began about 2.5 million years ago. All ancestors of Homo sapiens (modern humans) evolved during the Quaternary.

Earth by the Numbers

Surface Gravity: 1 (one kilogram on Earth)

Orbital Period: 365.256 days

Satellites: 1 (the Moon)

Atmosphere: nitrogen (78%), oxygen (21%), argon, carbon dioxide, neon

Average Temperature: 15° Celsius (77 Kelvin, 59° Fahrenheit)

Ingredients for Life Scientists have gathered enough information about other planets in our solar system to know that none can support life as we know it. Life is not possible without a stable atmosphere containing the right chemical ingredients for living organisms: hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon. These ingredients must be balanced—not too thick or too thin. Life also depends on the presence of water. Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune all have atmospheres made mostly of hydrogen and helium. These planets are called gas giants, because they are mostly made of gas and do not have a solid outer crust. Mercury and Mars have some of the right ingredients, but their atmospheres are far too thin to support life. The atmosphere of Venus is too thick—the planet's surface temperature is more than 460 degrees Celsius (860 degrees Fahrenheit). Jupiter's moon Europa has a thin atmosphere rich with oxygen. It is likely covered by a huge ocean of liquid water. Some astrobiologists think that if life exists elsewhere in the solar system, it will be near vents at the bottom of Europa's ocean.

Earth to Earth Earth is the only planet in the solar system not named for a Greek or Roman deity. "Earth" originally meant the soil and land of our planet. (This is still what it means when the word is lowercase.) Eventually, Earth came to mean the planet itself.

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  • Prof. Taylor Perron
  • Prof. Oliver Jagoutz

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  • Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences

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Earth Day free ppt and Google Slides template.

presentation on earth

Free Earth Day animated template for Google Slides and PowerPoint.

You can use this PowerPoint template and Google Slides theme to raise awareness of environmental issues. It features beautiful visuals and resources of planet Earth, which you can customize freely to make the presentation your own.

Earth Day is an annual global event celebrated on April 22nd to raise awareness about environmental protection’s importance, promote sustainable practices and encourages education, stewardship, and action for the planet’s natural resources and biodiversity.

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NASA Logo

Earth-Day Toolkit

NASA’s fleet of satellites see the whole Earth, every day. This year, you can celebrate Earth Day with NASA wherever you are! Host your own Earth Day event—supported by NASA science—with activities, demonstrations, handouts, posters, videos, and more. Whether you’re planning a formal presentation or are hosting a stand-alone exhibit, we have you covered.

In 2024, NASA is showcasing how NASA sees Earth’s oceans like no one else. NASA and its international partners have added two state of the art sensors to the satellite fleet that explore the complex connections between sea, air, land, climate, and more in ways never before possible at the global scale. Celebrate Earth’s oceans and waterways this Earth Day! Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/Reto Stöckli

Earth depiction from space centered over the Atlantic Ocean with scattered clouds. Europe and Africa are cast in shadow as night falls. The coast of the Mediterranean Sea is alight with human settlements with some light spots on the African continent and numerous bright spots in Europe. North and South America on left, with Greenland and the Arctic sea ice visible at the top of the Earth.

Engage your audience while they wait for their turn to participate in an activity or as part of a formal presentation. Check out these five videos from NASA. 

The new NASA global data set combines historical measurements with data from climate simulations using the best available computer models to provide forecasts of how global temperature (shown here) and precipitation might change up to 2100 under different greenhouse gas emissions scenarios. Credit: NASA. View larger image.

How NASA Satellites Help Model the Future of Climate

Engage your audience while they wait for their turn to participate in an activity or as part of a formal presentation. Check out these videos from NASA. 

The image is a satellite view, peering down on the ocean. The background of the image is the dark blue color of the ocean, but centered in the image is a swirling shape of light blue, milky substance – phytoplankton making up a bloom. In the foreground of the image are bright white clouds, seen in the top left corner and along the bottom of the image.

Ocean Color Countdown with PACE

This video explains how the color of our oceans, lakes and rivers can tell us a lot about what's going on just beneath the surface.  

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Tracking Carbon from Wildfires to Ocean Blooms

Explore how NASA’s satellite data allows scientists to get a clearer picture of how carbon as it links land use and fires, atmospheric aerosols, and marine communities, and ultimately improves those uncertain the data we put into climate models. 

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Guiding Farmers With NASA Satellites

Growing competition over finite water resources will have serious implications for Indian farmers, as well as India’s food security. 

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What's the Difference Between Weather and Climate?

Watch this video to find out--and to learn about how NASA satellites are keeping an eye on conditions on Earth!

Demonstrations

Involve your audience by showing science in action. These demonstrations can take place in front of an audience and be led by a presenter. Hands-on activities can be completed by your audience. 

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Clouds or Snow? A Satellite Mystery

Build your own cloud in a bottle activity and read about how satellite data is used to differentiate clouds from snow in satellite imagery.  

A big wave crashing over a pier in San Diego during the 2002 El Nino

Motion in the Ocean

Create your own ocean currents in a giant test tube using simple materials and recycled tennis ball tubes.  

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Sea Ice vs. Land Ice

What’s the difference between sea ice like in the Arctic and land ice in Antarctica? See what happens when sea ice and land ice melt in this DIY activity. 

A bright full moon in a blue daytime sky over snow-capped peaks.

Sipping Snow in the Sierras

Explore how snowmelt becomes water for you and for crops too in Sipping Snow in the Sierras. Plus, you can do a cool experiment and find out how much water snow leaves behind. 

Engage your audience. Download and print these hands-on activities for a variety of ages.

  • Meandering River Flip Book

Make a Stained Glass Earth!  

Eo kids: fresh water   , weather sats ar  , meandering river flip book  .

Best suited for ages 8+

Use the link above to make a flip book showing the change over time of two different rivers which we can observe using Landsat and other remote sensing instruments. 

Alaska’s Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge is a land of towering spruce trees, plentiful lakes and the branching rivers. Grasslands and deciduous trees could replace those iconic evergreen forests if current climate change projections continue and, in turn, open the door to new invasive species. Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. View larger image.

Best suited for ages 5+

Use the link above to create your own colorful “stained glass” window-style ornament of Earth that shows off its bright colors when light shines through. 

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Best suited for ages 9-14

Use the link above to dive into this diverse resource on fresh water with articles and hands-on activities about how NASA studies freshwater on Earth.  

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Best suited for ages 10-18

Use the link above to learn about the satellites that monitor extreme weather and climate change in this immersive augmented reality app and complete a series of missions, exploring weather satellites and their instruments.  

Graphic of three satellites that observe thunderstorms

Invite speakers in your local area. Need ideas? Reach out to any local colleges, universities, science centers or museum.  Want to find a NASA subject matter expert? Try these resources. 

  • Earth Observatory Gallery
  • NASA Science Visualization Studio

Image Galleries

Inspire your audience. Use these images and stories to show how NASA looks at Earth either in a presentation or as artwork around your event.  

Explore how NASA studies oceans on Earth and beyond. Display these posters to exhibit NASA’s connection to Earth Science. 

Earth Day Posters

View Earth Day posters past and present. Available to download and print for any event.

Details and Download

Viewing Water from Space

This poster features five beautiful natural-color images of US rivers meandering their way through the country’s varied landscape. On the reverse side, you will find a new game called “Rivers: Our National Water Resource.” 

Explore the Globe with NASA

This poster shows how NASA, from the vantage point of space, works to increase our understanding of our planet, improve lives, and safeguard our future. 

Ocean Worlds Infographic

Earth isn't the only ocean world in our solar system. The worlds depicted in this poster represent the best-known candidates in our search for life in the solar system - because where there is water, there is potential for life. 

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Print and provide resources for your audience to learn more. 

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A Guide to Climate Change for Kids

NASA Climate Kids

Seeing in the Dark

Calving of Larsen C Iceshelf

Good Bad Algae Poster

Ocean Green

Blooming Oceans

Citizen Science Opportunities

Spread the word. Earth Day doesn’t have to be just one day.

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GLOBE Observer

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Lake Observations by Citizen Scientists and Satellites

This photograph from an aerial survey shows the upper parts of the 2014 Oso landslide in northwest Washington. NASA’s landslide inventory documents events such as this one to improve model validation. Credit: USGS/Jonathan Godt

Landslide Reporter

A full moon rises above snow-capped mountain peaks in this chilly image.

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Environmental Education

  • Education Resource Library

Resources for classroom, at-home and community learning

Browse our resources to guide your environmental education lessons and stewardship activities on Earth Day and throughout the year. These resources can be adapted to a variety of ages and settings.

For exclusive resources and inspiring project ideas

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NEW! Restore Our Earth

Climate education week toolkit.

Explore 5 days of activities on ecosystem services, the carbon cycle, food sustainability, ecosystem restoration and civic engagement. Use these activities to engage throughout Earth Week, or anytime throughout the year!

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NEW! Advocacy Packets

This series of packets will walk students through the process of implementing change in their community. Created by students, for students, these packets are packed with background information, ideas and sample letters to send to stakeholders.

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NEW! What is cop 26 and the Paris agreement?

Use this page to learn more about COP26, the Paris Agreement, and what EARTHDAY.ORG is working to accomplish with global leaders. Use this information to spark discussion and plan a Mock Cop event for your students.

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NEW! Host a Teach-In

The first Earth Day was a nationwide Teach-In. Host an event to address critical environmental and social issues in your community. Use our brand new Restore Our Earth grab bags to help plan your teach-in.

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Climate Civics Toolkit

Explore 5 days of activities to learn about climate and environmental issues, the communities they impact and how to take civic action!

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Environmental History Timelines

Use these resources to explore how environmental science, justice and activism has progressed through time. Edit the PowerPoint to add in local examples and add your plans to make history!

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Lesson Plans

Use these Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced activities along with the Global Earth Challenge app to explore these environmental topics.

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Pollinator Toolkits

Find out how pollinators shape the world around you and how you can protect them!

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Climate Education Week Toolkits

Follow these daily activities to learn more and find out how to take action. Use them as a way to prepare for Earth Day, or any time during the year!

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Test your knowledge on biodiversity, climate change, plastic pollution, deforestation, clean energy and more.

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Earth Day action menus

Whether you are planning activities on April 22nd or stewardship events throughout the year, these menus will give your organization ideas for events and action items on species protection, food sustainability, plastic pollution, climate change and more!

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Resources from our partners

EARTHDAY.ORG™ is proud of partner with a number of organizations around the world who are as dedicated to science and climate literacy as we are! Explore their online lessons, activities, videos and games.

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Reading list

Front cover of Not for me, please!: I choose to act green Paperback by Maria Godsey

Not for me, please!: I choose to act green Paperback by Maria Godsey

Front cover of What a Waste: Trash, Recycling, and Protecting our Planet (Protect the Planet) by Jess French

What a Waste: Trash, Recycling, and Protecting our Planet (Protect the Planet) by Jess French

Front cover of The Adventures of a Plastic Bottle: A Story About Recycling (Little Green Books) by Alison Inches

The Adventures of a Plastic Bottle: A Story About Recycling (Little Green Books) by Alison Inches

Front cover of Compost Stew: An A to Z Recipe for the Earth by Mary McKenna Siddals

Compost Stew: An A to Z Recipe for the Earth by Mary McKenna Siddals

Front cover of Save the Scraps (Save the Earth) by Bethany Stahl

Save the Scraps (Save the Earth) by Bethany Stahl

Front cover of WE ARE ALL CONNECTED: CARING FOR EACH OTHER & THE EARTH by Gabi Garcia

WE ARE ALL CONNECTED: CARING FOR EACH OTHER & THE EARTH by Gabi Garcia

Front cover of Earth Ninja: A Children’s Book About Recycling, Reducing, and Reusing (Ninja Life Hacks) by Mary Nhin

Earth Ninja: A Children’s Book About Recycling, Reducing, and Reusing (Ninja Life Hacks) by Mary Nhin

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Steve and Eve Save the Planet: I Can Hear Your Heart Beep (Book 1) by Paul Shore and Deborah Katz

Middle School

Front cover of Haven Jacobs

Haven Jacobs Saves the Planet by by Barbara Dee

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World Without Fish by Mark Kurlansky

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The Incredible Ecosystems of Planet Earth by Rachel Ignotofsky

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Going Blue: A Teen Guide to Saving Our Oceans, Lakes, Rivers, & Wetlands by Cathryn Berger Kaye M.A.  

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Our World Out of Balance: Understanding Climate Change and What We Can Do by Andrea Minoglio

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Old Enough to Save the Planet (Changemakers) by Loll Kirby

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The Green Teen: The Eco-Friendly Teen’s Guide to Saving the Planet by Jenn Savedge

High School 

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Climate Justice: Hope, Resilience, and the Fight for a Sustainable Future By Mary Robinson

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The Day the World Stops Shopping by J. B. MacKinnon

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The Optimistic Environmentalist: Progressing Toward a Greener Future By David R. Boyd

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Where the Water Goes: Life and Death Along the Colorado River By David Owen

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Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

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Eat for the Planet: Saving the World One Bite at a Time by Nil Zacharias

presentation on earth

Wild Hope: On the Front Lines of Conservation Success by Andrew Balmford

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structure of the earth

Structure of the Earth

May 27, 2012

1.56k likes | 4.38k Views

Structure of the Earth. Earth’s Interior is divided into 3 layers that have very different properties:. Crust Mantle Core. Our knowledge of these layers has come mainly from the study of earthquake waves. The Crust. The crust is the outer-most layer of the Earth.

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  • lower solid
  • very similar
  • solid mantle material
  • outer core behaves

bronwen

Presentation Transcript

Structure of the Earth • Earth’s Interior is divided into 3 layers that have very different properties: • Crust • Mantle • Core • Our knowledge of these layers has come mainly from the study of earthquake waves.

The Crust • The crust is the outer-most layer of the Earth. • It is between 5 and 100 kilometers thick. • It is the thinnest of the Earth’s layers. • It is where we live.

The Crust • The crust is made up mostly of oxygen, silicon & aluminum. • There are two types of crust • Oceanic crust • Continental crust

Types of Crust • Oceanic crust is the crust that lies below the Earth’s oceans. • It consists mostly of basalt – a dark, dense igneous rock with a fine-grained texture. • Continental crust forms the continents and consists mostly of granite - a less dense igneous rock with larger crystals that is usually light in color.

The Mantle • It lies from about 40 to 2,900 kilometers below the surface. • The next layer after the crust is the mantle. • It is much thicker than the crust. • It contains about 67% of the Earth’s mass. • It is a layer of hot rock. • The mantle is denser than the crust. • It consists of a number of zones.

L I T H O S P H E R E • The crust and the uppermost part of the mantle are very similar. They are both rigid. Click for graphic • Together they are called the lithosphere. • Litho means “stone.” • The lithosphere is about 100 kilometers thick.

The Mantle • As you go deeper into the mantle, heat and pressure increase. • This makes the rock less rigid. • It has the consistency of tar and can bend much like plastic (semi molten). • This plastic-like layer of the mantle is called the asthenosphere. • The lithosphere floats on top of the asthenosphere. • Beneath the asthenosphere solid mantle material extends all the way to Earth’s core. • This lower solid part of the mantle is called the mesosphere.

The layer of the Earth that extends below the mantle to the center of the Earth is the core. The Core • The core makes up about 1/3 of the Earth’s mass. • It has two layers: • A liquid outer core • A solid inner core • Both are made of iron and nickel. • Despite enormous pressure, the molten metal of the outer core behaves like a thick liquid. • The inner core is a dense ball of solid metal. • The pressure is so great that the iron atoms cannot spread out and become a liquid.

Earth’s Magnetic Field • Currents in the liquid outer core cause the solid inner core to spin. • The inner core spins at a slightly faster rate than the rest of the planet. • This movement creates the Earth’s magnetic field, which causes the entire Earth to act like a giant bar magnet.

Review • The crust and the top, rigid part of the mantle make up the lithosphere. • The Earth is made of three basic layers. • The plastic-like layer of the mantle is called the asthenosphere. • The innermost rigid part of the mantle is called the mesosphere. • The core has two parts. • The outer core is liquid. • The inner core is solid.

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Center Director, Dr. Jeff Goldstein after a Family Science Night presentation attended by over 600 in Muncie, Indiana, gets swarmed by children. Click for Details

The Center’s staff researchers have given thousands of presentations to diverse audiences—students, families, teachers (at conferences and workshops), and the general public. The hallmark is audience participation, and the topics addressed span the Earth and space sciences. The central objective is to develop conceptual understanding of the universe around us by building bridges to the familiar—using the power of models .

Provided below are descriptions of presentations by our staff which were developed for Family Science Night at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum and for Journey through the Universe . Presentations are available for communities nationally through To Earth and Beyond . Read comments from attendees of our programs.

In addition, presentations in classrooms by the Journey through the Universe Visiting Researchers—a National Team of scientists and engineers from research organizations across the nation—provide a personal view of scientific research, and are crafted by the presenters to dovetail with the local curriculum.

Sample descriptions of presentations by the Center’s staff—

Public and Family Programs; Keynote Addresses for Professional Development Events; and Keynote/Featured Addresses at Conferences 

A Voyage that will Forever Change Your Perspective of Home When we venture beyond our home and explore a greater landscape—whether it’s the town beyond our house, or a planet beyond the Earth—we gain a deeper sense of our own existence. It’s a fundamental principle of exploration. To truly know and appreciate our home, we must leave it. So to truly know and appreciate a place called Earth, we must venture beyond it, and recognize the breadth and majesty of a greater universe.

From another vantage point—we are integrally connected to the universe, and it to us—so to know the universe is to know ourselves. And while we may seem small in its shadow, beauty has nothing to do with size—for the universe is revealed with something the size of the human mind.

You’re invited to the story of our existence—a race of explorers, 6 billion tiny souls strong. It is a story that ignites wonder about the universe, and a sense of pride in our ability to reveal its nature through both human imagination and ingenuity. It is a story that humbles us, and brings a sense of humility to our lives. It is a voyage that will forever change your perspective of home.

Focus: inspiration to young and old—a wonderful family program; understanding the nature of our existence using the power of models

Celebrating the Past, Embracing the Present, and Inspiring the Future We live in a moment in time. It’s the place where the accomplishments of those that came before us meet up with what will be undertaken by future generations. It’s a great place to be, especially if you’re part of the future generation. By learning about the past both in terms of what we know and how we’ve come to know it, and talking to those that work on the frontiers right now, you can choose to shape the future. It’s pretty powerful stuff.  You are the link between the past and the future.

Focus: inspiration for students; scientists and engineers as heroes and role models

Human Exploration—the Journey Continues A wondrous look at who we are as a species and what drives us to the great frontiers.

Throughout history, humans have been space explorers. For thousands of generations we have looked to the sky and wondered about our place in the cosmos. Yet it was only 400 years ago that we first improved our view with telescopes. And only within the last 50 years have we become true spacefarers, able to travel beyond Earth’s atmosphere with robots and humans.

Standing on the shoulders of past generations, we have done remarkable things in our time. On July 20, 1969 we walked on the Moon. Today, peoples of the world are working together to build a space station—a research laboratory placed 200 miles above the surface of our world. Through the eyes of robots we’ve seen sunset on Mars, volcanoes erupting on a moon of Jupiter, and the awesome majesty of Saturn’s rings. With telescopes on the ground and in space we have seen the birth of other suns, found solar systems beyond our own, and have traveled back in time to see the universe as it was billions of years ago. We humans have even sent four spacecraft beyond Pluto en route to the stars with greetings from Earth aboard. Look what we have done!

Journey to the frontiers of flight in air and space to see how far we’ve come and what awaits the next generation!

Focus : the nature of human exploration ; history of space exploration

The Art of Science (for educator conferences)

Science is an art , and researchers are artists. Fundamental to science research is the explorer’s ability to ask questions, frame a pathway to an answer, and interpret what they find. It requires a deep understanding of core knowledge , which includes both core factual information and key concepts. It also requires an artists approach to critical thinking , where finely honed skills over time allow you to see a possible pathway from question to answer through the complex noise of the universe around us. This describes a process by which we can explore. It is the application of this process by the scientist or engineer that is the art.

Absolutely fundamental to an understanding of: core factual information and key concepts; the means to frame a possible pathway to an answer; and interpreting what one has found—the new knowledge , is finding ways to relate all of this to what is familiar. That is the function of models , and there are many different flavors of them. Put another way— models are arguably the most powerful tools in an explorer’s toolbox . Focus: the process of scientific inquiry; the power of models.

Presentations for Schools and School Districts

A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words Did you ever wonder how a camera creates a photograph? Did you ever stop to think about the enormous amount of information a single photograph contains? For instance, the sizes, shapes, and colors of an object in an image can tell us a lot about its composition, even its origin. We can even take pictures in flavors of light that our eyes cannot see! We explore our entire universe through images. We’ve even sent cameras to other planets. Let’s use images of the planets through history to explore what we can learn through imaging science. Focus: imaging technology used for scientific research

How Big is Big? It’s a big, often intimidating universe out there. How do we even begin to fathom objects and distances that dwarf anything we’ve ever experienced? Earth’s place in space is knowable. The secret is placing the universe in a context that is familiar. Take a magical journey from spaceship Earth to points unknown. Focus: understanding the universe using models

Asteroids and Comets! Look up in the sky–it’s a bird, it’s a plane–why no it’s a rock. A big rock! And wasn’t that a snowball the size of city that just flew by? Visit some of the asteroids and comets in the Solar System, and see how these objects have affected life on Earth. Focus: small bodies of the Solar System

Fifty of Your Very Own Look up on a starry night far from city lights. What you’re seeing is but a tiny portion of the Milky Way, our home galaxy. Our Milky Way is a vast and swirling mass of 300,000,000,000 suns, enough to give 50 to every person on Earth! Come explore the different neighborhoods of the Milky Way, and gain an understanding of our home world’s place among the stars. Focus: the universe beyond the Solar System.

Saying Hi to E.T. on a Planet Far, Far Away Wouldn’t it be cool to talk to an alien? It’s not as far out as you might think. Right now a ‘hello’ from E.T. may be passing through your body as a radio signal! We might just need to point an antenna in the right direction, tune to the right channel, and listen in! That’s exactly what’s we’re doing around the world. Focus: astrobiology, communication

An Expedition to the Top of the World See what it’s like to be a scientist on a research expedition to the top of the world in the pacific. It’s about an expedition to one of the largest telescopes on Earth, atop 14,000 ft Mauna Kea, on the island of Hawaii. The mission: measure winds on other worlds! Focus: the nature of scientific research

© 2021 National Center for Earth and Space Science Education

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Earth Outreach

Create a map or story in google earth web, tutorial contents, prerequisites, let's get started, create a project and add places, adding a place from street view, preview your finished project, add rich information to your places, adding photos, videos and text, previewing changes, styling placemarks, adding 3d views, changing the info box, add information to your second placemark, adding videos, add lines and shapes to your project, draw a line, draw a shape, add slides to your project, share your project, to share a link to the project, to share the project with specific people for viewing or collaboration, more with earth creation tools, viewing your projects on web and mobile, pinning projects, importing your kml files, exporting kml, discussion and feedback, what's next.

  • No programming skills needed!
  • A Chrome browser (download here ), logged into your Google Account. Don’t have one? Sign up here .

The new creation tools in Google Earth allow you to easily create and share maps and stories about our world as an Earth project. You can create a project on any subject of your choosing, drawing placemarks, lines and shapes, adding rich contextual information to your places (text, links, images, videos, 3D views and Street View), and organizing your project into a narrative flow. You can share your project and collaborate with others. In presentation mode, viewers will fly from one place to the next following the narrative of your project, immersing them in the journey through Google Earth’s imagery and the custom content you provide.

This tutorial will introduce you to the new creation tools, and walk you through the process of creating and sharing your own Earth project. In order to complete this tutorial, you will need some text, photo and video content to add to your project. You can use your own content or you can use the sample content provided by our friends at the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI). Download the zip file below for the JGI images and extract the contents to a folder on your desktop.

JGI_sample_content.zip (249k Zip file)

If you choose to follow along with our Jane Goodall example, you may want to preview the finished sample Jane Goodall story before you start the tutorial.

  • Open Google Earth on your computer: https://earth.google.com/web

Projects Icon

  • If you’ve never created a Project before, you will click the Create button to create a new project. If you’ve created Earth projects before, then you’ll see a list of your projects and can click the New project button to create a new project. If you’re not already logged into your Google account, you’ll be prompted to do so.

Edit Icon

Project Title: Jane Goodall's Journey to Gombe

Description: Jane Goodall is one of the best-known naturalists and conservationists in the world. Her work revolutionized our understanding of chimpanzees. She started the Jane Goodall Institute, which works for chimpanzee conservation across Africa.

You’ll notice that your edits are automatically saved in Google Drive as you work.

Now it’s time to add your first place to the map. There are two ways to add a place: dropping a placemark on the map or using Search to find a place. First, we’ll try adding a placemark to the map:

Navigate around the globe until you see England. Now, click the Add placemark button in the creation toolbar at the bottom left-hand to activate the placemark tool.

Placemark Tool

Then click on the map, on England, to add the placemark.

Menu Icon

In the Save to project box, click into the Title field and name your placemark “Jane’s Childhood”. The Project field should be set to “Jane Goodall’s Journey to Gombe”. Then click Save .

Save to Project modal screenshot

You should see your titled placemark appear in the list of features in the Project Details panel.

Now let’s add a placemark using the second method: the Search tool. Click the Search icon in the left-hand navigation and search for “Nairobi National Museum”. Click on the first search result.

Search Tool Screenshot

On the Nairobi National Museum Knowledge Card at right, click the Add to project button.

Nairobi National Museum card

Click Save to add the second place to your project. You can close the Knowledge Card by clicking on the X in the top-right corner.

  • Now let’s add a third and final place - this time a place in Street View! Use the Search tool again to fly to “Gombe National Park”, but close the Knowledge Card without adding it to the Project.
  • Click on the Street View pegman in the bottom right corner. Blue lines and dots will appear wherever Street View imagery is available. Click on the blue line or dot to enter Street View on one of the forested hills in the park.

"Capture This View" icon

Title the placemark “Gombe National Park” and save it to your project.

Click the Present button to see your project presented in a narrative format.

Screenshot of "Jane Goodall’s Journey to Gombe" presented in a narrative format.

Tip: You can also drop a placemark on the globe by clicking the New feature button and select Add placemark .

Tip: To change the narrative order of your project, go to the Project Details panel and reorder the feature list by clicking and dragging the features into a new order.

Image

Click on the Camera button.

Screenshot of upload option

Here you will see options to upload an image from your computer, choose a photo from your Google Photos albums, search the web for images, select an image by URL or add YouTube videos.

Screenshot of the upload modal

Using the search option, search for images of Bournemouth (Jane’s childhood home) and select one that you like. Click Select to see the image appear with a thumbnail view in the Property Editor panel.

Screenshot of the search panel

Click the camera button again to add a second photo. Search for and add a second photo. Adding multiple photos will create an image carousel in your Info box.

Click the Description field and copy and paste the below text. This box has basic formatting options available, including bold, italics, underline, bullet lists, indentation, and hyperlinks. Text starting with “http..” will automatically be hyperlinked.

Jane Goodall grew up in Bournemouth, England. Growing up, she was fascinated by all kinds of animals. When she was young, her favorite books were Dr. Dolittle and the Tarzan series. All she wanted to do was go to Africa, observe the incredible animals living there, and write books about them.

Screenshot of the entered description for Bournemouth.

  • Scroll down the Property Editor panel and find the Placemark section. Click on the placemark size and change the size to Large.
  • Click on the paint bucket icon to change the placemark color to yellow.

Placemark overflow menu button.

Now that we know Jane grew up in Bournemouth, let’s make the view in Earth of Jane’s childhood more specific and immersive.

  • Click on the placemark and drag the marker to Bournemouth (just west of Southampton along the southern coast of England). You may need to zoom and pan the map to get a better view of the town.
  • Now, tilt and rotate the Earth’s surface using the compass or keyboard shortcuts until you find a view of Bournemouth that you like.

Click the Capture this view button. This associates this 3D view with your location, and in presentation mode when you visit this location, the map will fly to this view.

Screenshot of a 3D View of Bournemouth

You can change the style of the Info box that displays your content (text, photos, videos, etc).

  • In the Property Editor panel click the drop down arrow on the right-side of the Info box and change the Info box from Small info box to Large info box.
  • Click the Preview presentation button to see the changes. Decide which style you like best!

Preview of 3d view of Bournemouth with Jane's Childhood narrative

Now let’s add information to the other placemarks in your project.

Back button

Since we added this placemark from a Knowledge Card, it displays information from the Google Knowledge Graph (you can click the Preview presentation button to see the default information displayed). You could choose to keep the Knowledge Card information as is, or you can click “Replace” in the Property Editor panel to delete this information and then add your own content. In this case, let’s delete the Google information card content.

Screenshot of Nairobi National Museum's Google information card.

Keep the title “Nairobi National Museum” given by the Knowledge Graph, but add a new description to this placemark:

In 1957, on a visit to Kenya, Jane met the famous anthropologist and paleontologist Dr. Louis Leakey, and was hired as a secretary. Dr. Leakey was looking for someone to begin a study of chimpanzees to gain insight into human beings’ evolutionary past.

Add an image by uploading the file titled jane_and_leakey.jpg (found in JGI_sample_content.zip ) from your computer.

Set a 3D view and click the Capture this view button.

3D View of Nairobi National Museum

Now edit your third and final placemark, Jane’s Peak. Add the following description:

Jane Goodall arrived in Gombe in July of 1960. The area was located in what was then the British protectorate of Tanganyika. It was unheard of at the time for a young woman of 26 to travel into the forests of Africa alone. Armed only with her binoculars and a notebook, Jane would climb to Gombe’s highest peak in search of the chimpanzees. Over the years, Jane’s research led to many new discoveries, for example that chimpanzees know how to make and use tools, like humans do. Her research team has studied the behavior and followed the lives of the chimpanzees of Gombe for many decades now.

While still in the Property Editor panel for the third placemark, click on the camera button and select YouTube. You may search for a YouTube video or you can access your public YouTube videos. If you have an unlisted YouTube you’d like to add, you can enter its URL in the search box to select it.

Search for “jane goodall termite fishing” and select the first search result to add the video to the place.

Search results for “jane goodall termite fishing”

In the Project Details panel, click the New feature button and select Draw line or shape (Note: You can also click the Draw line or shape button in the creation toolbar at the bottom of your screen).

On the map, click to add a series of points to draw the line. Each time you click, a new segment is added to your line. To finish your line, press enter. For the Jane Goodall project, you might draw the path that a boat would take to get from the nearest city (Kigoma) to the research station in Gombe.

In the Add to project box, name your line and click Edit place .

Screenshot of "Save to project" modal

In the Width and color section, click on the width dropdown and change the line width to 8 pixels.

Screenshot of line properties being edited.

Click on the color palette to select red for your line color. Alternatively click Custom colors to create your own color swatch (Note: the hexadecimal code can be edited directly for exact web color matches).

Zoom out to so that you can see the entire line and click Capture this view .

Tip: If you open the Property Editor panel for your line, you will be able to drag and move your line points to reshape your line, but you can’t delete or add segments.

Now, we’ll add a shape. In the Project Details panel, click the New feature button and select Draw line or shape.

On the map, click to add a series of points to draw your shape. Each time you click, a new segment is added to the outline of your shape. To finish your shape, click once more on the first point that was added to close the shape. For the Jane Goodall project, you might draw a shape around the research station in Gombe.

Screenshot of drawing a shape

In the Add to Project box, name your shape and click Edit place .

In the Outline width and color section, change the outline to red.

In the Fill color section, change the fill color to yellow. You can also change the transparency using the drop down menu above the color palette.

Adjust the view and click Capture this view .

Screenshot of adjusted view for drawn shape.

Tip: You can reshape your polygon by clicking and dragging points, but you can’t delete segments. You can not click and drag your entire shape to a new location.

In the Project Details panel, click the New feature button and select Fullscreen slide .

Give the slide a title and description.

Jane Goodall’s Journey to Gombe

This is the story of Jane Goodall and her groundbreaking research with chimpanzees in Gombe National Park.

Add an image by selecting the Camera button, then Upload and selecting the file entitled jane_peak.jpg (found in JGI_sample_content.zip ) from your computer.

Back button

Click on the slide in the feature list and drag it to the top of the list of features.

Now click the Present button to see how your new slide introduces your project.

Screenshot of presented slides.

Tip: You can add slides to introduce your project, create chapters or sections, to add an ending message or credits and more.

Tip: If you choose to use an image as your slide background, your title and description will appear at the bottom lefthand of your slide. If you choose to use color as your slide background, your title and description will appear centered on your slide.

You have many options when you want to share your Earth project with others. All projects are private by default — only you as the creator of the project can view or edit it. Below you’ll learn how to share the project, as well as how to collaborate on your project with others.

Click the Share button on the Project Details panel.

Screenshot of the Share button on the Project Details page.

Click Get shareable link.

Screenshot of the "Share with others" modal.

Copy the link. You can now share this link with others so that they can view your project. Note: if you turn link sharing on, anyone who the link is shared with can view your project. If you'd like to control access permissions by Google account then you will likely want to use the method described directly below instead of turning link sharing on..

Tip: By default, people with the link will only be able to view your project. If you’d like, you can change the permissions so that anyone with the link can edit your project.

Under People, type in the email addresses of the people you’d like to share the map with directly, or choose from your contacts, and click Done. You can select whether the people you invite can edit the project or just view it. If a person does not have edit access, they will not see the Edit buttons in the Project Details panel and thus will not have access to the Property Editor for any features in the project.

Image

You can find maps and stories you own and that have been shared with you by clicking on Projects in the navigation and looking through the list in the Projects panel. In the list, you’ll see maps and stories organized by the categories Pinned to Earth, KML files and Recent. You can also use the New project button to open projects and KML files that do not automatically appear in your Projects list. You can also open an Earth project directly from Google Drive, or from a shared link.

You can view your projects on a mobile device by opening the Google Earth app, clicking the menu in the upper lefthand corner and selecting Projects. You can not edit your projects on mobile at this time.

In order to ensure that a project always appears in your list of projects (even if you haven’t recently opened it), hover over the project in the Projects panel and click the pin icon. The project will now appear in the Pinned to Earth section on your device.,

Screenshot of a pinned project.

Tip: Pinned projects are always visible on the globe (unless you toggle off visibility using the Hide project button), even when you’re exploring a different project in presentation mode. You can use this feature to “mash up” several different projects and/or KML files together.

If you’ve already created a map using another mapping tool such as Google My Maps, Tour Builder or Earth Pro and saved it as a KML or KMZ file, you can import the KML or KMZ to view and edit in Google Earth (with some limitations):

Currently, you are able to import your KMLs only as local files. Local files are projects stored in your local browser storage on your computer. Local files are not stored in the Google Cloud. Local files cannot be shared with others and cannot be shared across devices. Local files are stored only in the local browser storage on the computer used to import the file.

Before you can import your KML files, you must turn on KML import in your Google Earth settings.

Menu button

Scroll to the bottom of the Settings menu and toggle the setting for “Turn on KML file import” to on.

Click Save.

Now you can import a KML file.

  • Go to the Projects panel and click the New project button. Before you turned on KML file import, clicking this button only allowed you to create a new project or open a project from Google Drive. Now you will see options to create a KML file and to import a KML file from your computer or Google Drive.
  • Select Import KML file from computer.
  • Select the KML file from your computer and click Open.
  • Your KML file will appear in your Projects panel. You can now explore and edit your KML.

Tip: You may experience some issues importing more complex KML files. For example, some advanced KML features currently don't work well or at all in the new Google Earth for web and mobile, including 3D models, tours, tracks, time-based KML, and photo overlays. Also, very large KML files or complex features (eg: polygons with many vertices) may not import or render well.

Tip: If you create or import KML files, you will not be able to convert them to Earth projects (stored in the Cloud), so you will not be able to share your KML files with others.

Kebab menu

Have questions about this tutorial? Want to give us some feedback? Visit the Google Earth Help Community to discuss it with others.

See all tutorials .

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365 days of satellite images show Earth's seasons changing from space (video)

A NOAA satellite has captured a stunning view of our planet's seasons changing — from the vantage point of space.

a vibrant, half shadowed Earth

For those of us in the northern hemisphere, the recent chirping of birds and blooming of flowers are welcome signs that spring has arrived — and a new video released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows a stunning glimpse of what this change of seasons looks like from space .

The high-speed video strings together snapshots of our planet's surface taken daily for the past year. These images were taken with the NOAA's GOES-East satellite , which orbits more than 22,000 miles (35,000 kilometers) above Earth's equator. Because the GOES-East satellite orbits at the same speed at which Earth rotates, it constantly observes the same regions, including most of the Americas, the Caribbean and the Atlantic Ocean.

From its vantage point in space, the satellite tracks the edge that separates night and day on Earth. In the new video, you can see how this twilight zone, called the terminator, shifts continually throughout the year. That's because our planet is tilted 23.5 degrees on its axis, which impacts the lengths of days and nights.

#AstronomicalSpring has sprung in the Northern Hemisphere, and @NOAA's #GOESEast 🛰️ has been watching the angle of the sun change over the course of the last year due to Earth's 23.5° tilt. As we bid farewell to winter, learn more about the #equinox in today's… pic.twitter.com/ixGaAFIrJ1 March 20, 2024

March 19 marked the official start to the spring season in the northern hemisphere — the earliest spring has arrived in the U.S. in 128 years. On this day, the sun shone directly above the equator, as the Earth was at a point in its orbit where it is not tilted toward nor away from the sun. Rather, it was at a right angle with respect to the sun, which is why we experienced nearly equal hours of day and night. As such, the terminator at this point is straight, and can be thought of as "slicing" our planet in roughly equal halves.

You can see this instance in the new animation, composed of images clicked at 7:50 a.m. ET (1150 GMT) each day. In the days following the spring equinox , our planet slowly begins shifting toward the sun , which makes the days longer and warmer while the southern hemisphere inches toward winter.

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Sharmila Kuthunur

Sharmila Kuthunur is a Seattle-based science journalist covering astronomy, astrophysics and space exploration. Follow her on X @skuthunur.

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