How Are Earth's Spheres Interacting?
ES0103  More Interactions
USDA NRCS
Contour-planted field in southwest Iowa.

What sphere interactions can you infer from this photograph? To identify sphere interactions, think of one feature in the image at a time, decide which sphere it is a part of, then consider how it interacts with the other spheres.

With a partner, practice describing interactions in this scene, tracing the movement of materials or energy through all four of Earth's spheres if possible. Check your understanding by reading the example interactions below.

Plants (biosphere) draw water (hydrosphere) and nutrients from the soil (geosphere) and release water vapor into the atmosphere. Humans (biosphere) use farm machinery (manufactured from geosphere materials) to plow the fields, and the atmosphere brings precipitation (hydrosphere) to water the plants. Energy from the sun is stored by plants (biosphere). When humans or animals (biosphere) eat the plants, they acquire the energy originally captured by the plants. Humans expend some of this energy arranging bricks and wood (geosphere and biosphere) into buildings.


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