How oceans were formed

Origin of the Solar System

The concept of our planet's origin and the occurrence of life upon it took human minds many centuries to comprehend. The various scientific disciplines have accumulated large volumes of observed information, and they have succeeded in reconstructing the main stages of the formation of the Oceans and continents, and the occurrence of life on Planet Earth.

Structure of the Solar System

Our solar system includes the Sun, 9 planets, satellites of planets, asteroids, comets, meteoric bodies and cosmic dust. The Sun is the central body of our solar system, a scorching-hot plasma ball weighing 2 x 1030 kg and with a radius of 696 thousand km. Hydrogen makes up about 90% of its weight, helium almost 10% and other elements, less than 0.1%. The source of solar energy is from continuous nuclear reactions, converting hydrogen into helium. The structure of the Sun includes a nucleus, internal and external layers and a solar "atmosphere," in which there is the chromosphere and solar corona. The bottom layer of solar atmosphere is named the photosphere.

Origins of the Oceans and Continents

At the early stages of formation, the Earth appeared as a cold body in space, containing all of the chemical elements known in Nature. The atmosphere and hydrosphere did not yet exist; the surface of the planet was completely lifeless. But gradually, due to gravitational forces, energy released by the breakdown of radioactive elements and lunar tides deep inside the core of the Earth began to heat up. When temperatures near the core of the Earth reached that level where the melting of iron oxides and other compounds could occur, the active processes began for the formation of a nucleus and the main environment of the planet.

Text and images are from Man and the Ocean, a CD-ROM produced by the Russian Head Department of Navigation and Oceanography (HDNO).

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