ES0102  Observe a visual model of Earth's spheres.

We can visualize the Earth system as a set of four overlapping, interacting spheres. The geosphere is the rocky part of the planet; it includes all rock materials on the surface and in Earth's interior layers. The hydrosphere includes all Earth's water, in liquid, solid, and gaseous phases. The biosphere includes all life forms of all sizes in all habitats. The atmosphere is the blanket of gas that surrounds the entire planet and extends to the edge of space. Earth system science is the study of processes that move energy and materials among the four spheres.

  !   Click the image to see the animation. Use the movie controls to step through or replay the animation.
Jennifer Loomis, TERC/Biosphere image provided by ORBIMAGE © Orbital Imaging Corporation. Processing by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.