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B.Sc. Civil Engg. (UET Lahore), MS Geotechnical Engg. (NUST Islamabad)
Jr. Lecturer (Department of Civil Engineering ABASYN University, Islamabad)
 A theory is both a goal and a tool of research
 Theories ask the questions that look beyond
the facts and laws of science
 Theory statements can be negated, but not
verified, no matter how strongly we believe in
the truth of a theory. It is always possible for
it to be falsified.
 The Expanding Earth or Growing Earth is a
hypothesis suggesting that the position and
relative movement of continents is
dependent on the volume of the Earth
increasing. Modern science has turned down
any expansion or contraction of the Earth.
 Nebular hypothesis.
 Planetesimal hypothesis.
 Gaseous tidal hypothesis.
 Binary star hypothesis.
 Gas dust cloud by hypothesis.
Nabular Hypothesis

German philosopher, Kant and French mathematician,

• Earth, planets and sun originated from Nebula.
• Nebula was large cloud of gas and dust. It rotates
• Gradually it cooled and contracted and its speed
• A gaseous ring was separated from nebula
• Later the ring cooled and took form of a planet
• On repetition of the process all other planets came int
Nebula are star “nurseries”, where stars are born. This
nebular photograph was taken by the Hubble Space
 Cats Eye Nebula  Eagle Nebula
Objections to Nabular Hypothesis :
• Sun should have the greatest angular momentum
because of its mass and situated in the center,
however, it has only two percent of momentum of
the solar system
• How the hot gaseous material condensed in to

Planetesimal Hypothesis

Chamberlin and Moulton proposed the theory in 1904

• The sun existed before the formation of planets
• A star came close to the sun.
• Because of the gravitation pull of the star, small
gaseous bodies were separated from the sun
• These bodies on cooling became small planet's
• During rotation the small planets collided and form
• Objections to Planetesimal Hypothesis
The angular momentum could not be
produced by the passing star.
• The theory failed to explain how the
planetesimals had become one planet

Gaseous Tidal Theory
• Jeans and Jeffrey proposed the theory in 1925
• Large star came near the sun. Due to gravitational pull
a gaseous tide was raised on the surface of the sun.
• As the star came nearer, the tide increased in size.
• Gaseous tide detached when star move away.
• The shape of the tide was like spindle (rod).
• It broke into pieces-forming nine planets of the solar

Binary Star Hypothesis
• The idea was developed by Lyttleton in 1938.
• Before the formation of planets the sun had a
companion star.
• Another star passed close to these double stars and
pulled the companion star away.
• A gaseous filament was torn from the companion star
and it remained close to the sun.
• The planets were originated from this gaseous
filament in the same way as described in the gaseous
Gas dust cloud by hypothesis

• In this hypothesis the planets are thought to have

evolved out of a cloud of gas and dust which was
present around the sun.
• It was called protoplanetary cloud and it shape was
like disc.
• Planets were formed in this cloud by gradual
aggregation of the dispersed matter.
Age of the Earth

 From rate of formation of sedimentary rocks

 Rates of Deposition of Sediments
 From history of organic evolution.
 From rate of cooling of the earth.
 .From the salinity of sea water.
 From the radioactive decay.
Estimate the amount of time required to deposit a given
thickness of strata.

A = Age of sequence of sedimentary rocks.

T = Thickness of strata.
R = Rate of sediment accumulation.

A = T/R


(100 ft)/(0.0002 ft/yr) = 500,000 yr

 Most of our understanding of the Earth’s interior comes from
the detailed study of the behavior of seismic waves within
the Earth’s interior.
 Seismic Waves
 A vibration that moves through the Earth.
 Seismic waves “bounce” off the different layers of the
Earth to send a “picture” of the Earth’s interior.
 Body waves
 Seismic waves that travel through the Earth’s interior,
spreading outward from a disturbance in.
 There are Two types of body waves P & S Waves.
 Surface Waves
Travel along the earth's surface - similar to ocean waves
▪ P-waves
A pressure wave where the material vibrates back
and forth in the same direction as the wave
Can pass through rock.
Can pass through a liquid
▪ S-waves
A sideways wave in which the disturbance vibrates
material side to side, perpendicular to the direction
to the wave movement.
Can pass through rock.
Can not pass through a liquid
 The major layers of the Earth are the crust,
mantle, outer core, and inner core.

 The temperature and density of the layers

increase as depth increases.
 How are the earth’s
layers similar to an

 Shell=crust
 Egg white=mantle
 Yolk=core
Earth’s interior
structure and
raypaths that
are used to
the Earth
There are two types of crust:
Oceanic Crust Continental Crust
 basaltic rock  granitic rock
 5-10 km thick  30 km thick
 avg. density 3 g/cm³  avg. density 2.7 g/cm³
It is between 20 and 60 km thick. It is composed of
granitic rocks, which are less dense than basaltic
rocks of the oceanic crust. So, most of continental
crust is above sea level.
It is only about 10 km thick. It is composed of
basaltic rocks, which are more dense than granitic
rocks of the continental crust. So, oceanic crust is
below sea level.
 The Mohorovicic
Discontinuity is named
after its Romanian
 It is the boundary
between the Earth’s crust
and the upper portion of
the mantle.
 It is usually thought of as
part of the Earth’s crust,
rather than the mantle

In seismology, the term "discontinuity" is used in its general

sense. It refers to a change over a short distance of a material
property. In this case, the "short distance" may be as long as 3
km, a trifle compared with the radius of the earth.

In that zone, the P-wave velocity has been observed to

increase from approximately 6 to approximately 8 km/sec.

The Moho is considered to be the boundary between the

crust and the mantle.

The increase in P-wave velocity is ascribed to change in

composition of the medium. Rocks of the mantle are poorer in
silicon but richer in iron and magnesium
 The upper mantle begins
with a rigid layer and
extends to a depth of
about 670 km.

 The density and

temperature increases
with depth.

 The upper mantle as a • The crust plus the upper

whole is comprised of mantle are called the
rocks called peridotites. Lithosphere.
The mantle can be thought of having three different layers. The separation
is made because of different deformational properties in the mantle
inferred from seismic wave measurements.
(1) The upper layer is stiff. It is presumed that if the entire mantle had been
as stiff, the outer shell of the earth would stay put. This stiff layer of the
mantle and the overlying crust are referred to as the lithosphere. The
lithosphere is approximately 80-km thick
2) Beneath the lithosphere is a soft layer of mantle called the
 Its thickness is inferred to be several times that of the lithosphere.
 One may think of this as a film of lubricant although film is not exactly
the word for something so thick. It is assumed that the lithosphere,
protruding (meaning: extending beyond) parts and all, can glide over the
asthenosphere with little distortion of the lithosphere
(3) The mesosphere is the lowest layer of the mantle.
 Considering the fuzziness in defining the lower
boundary of the asthenosphere it would be expected
that the thickness and material properties of the
mesosphere are not well known.
 It is expected to have a stiffness somewhere between
those of the lithosphere and the asthenosphere
 The Aesthenosphere is a
plastic substance that flows
much like toothpaste.
• This mechanism drives
 Lithospheric plates move plate tectonics.
due to convection currents
within the Aesthenosphere.
 The outer core is not as dense
as pure molten iron, which
indicates the presence of
lighter elements.

 It is a hot, electrically
conducting liquid within
which convection occurs.

 This conductive layer

combines with Earth's rotation
to create a dynamo effect that
maintains a system of • Boundary between the outer
electrical currents, causing the core and mantle is the source
Earth’s magnetic field. of convection within the
 The inner core is solid and
suspended in the molten outer

 The core is the densest portion

of the earth and is believed to
be primarily nickel and iron

 It is believed to have solidified

as a result of pressure-freezing
which occurs to most liquids
when temperature decreases
or pressure increases
 Lithosphere- rigid outer layer (crust)
 Asthenosphere- solid rock that flows slowly
(like hot asphalt)
 Mesosphere- middle layer
 Outer Core- liquid layer
 Inner Core- solid, very dense
 Earth’s crust is broken into about 19 pieces
 These plates move on top of the
 The major plates of the lithosphere that move on
the asthenosphere. Source: After W. Hamilton, U.S.
Geological Survey.
 Removal of material from the top will
induce uplift at the surface. Removal
of material from the bottom will
produce subsidence. Thus, in the case
of tectonic extension, isostasy will
produce an effect that is opposite to
thermal uplift.
 At the depth of about 95-120 km the
rocks of the earths crust loose their
rigidity. This zone is called the zone of
compensation. Because here the
pressure due to elevated masses and
depressed area would be equal.
 To recognise potential difficult ground
conditions prior to detailed design and
 It helps to identify areas susceptible to failure
due to geological hazards
 To establish design specifications
 To have best selection of site for engineering
 To have best selection of engineering materials
for construction