Geosphere: Definition & Facts

Geosphere: Definition & Facts
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  • 0:05 What is the Geosphere?
  • 1:15 Why the Geosphere Is…
  • 2:01 Boundaries of the Geosphere
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Josh Corbat

Josh has taught Earth Science and Physical Science at the High School level and holds a Master of Education degree from UNC-Chapel Hill.

You don't have to be a geologist to appreciate the geosphere. The geosphere is incredibly important to life here on this planet. In this lesson, we will discuss the definition of the geosphere and point out several reasons why it is important to us.

What Is the Geosphere?

You've probably heard about some storied baseball player hitting a ball so hard it went into the stratosphere. In fact, the stratosphere finds itself mentioned many times in pop culture, from Superman's second-most favorite hangout spot to tall skyscrapers bringing us humans up to its heights. It's all exaggeration, actually, because the stratosphere is simply too high for any human (or baseball) to ever reach without rocket fuel.

But, the stratosphere is also a great place to start thinking about the geosphere. Because the earth is roughly a sphere (it's not a perfect sphere, but that's another topic), scientists like to peel away its layers and name them layer by layer. The stratosphere is simply one layer of the greater atmosphere. The word part -sphere refers to the fact that the layers of the earth are round.

The geosphere is the layer of Earth made up of solid rock and other rocky materials. It is easiest to think of the geosphere as any part of the physical, solid Earth that is not the hydrosphere (such as water like oceans, lakes, and rivers) or the atmosphere (the layer of gases that separates the ground from space). The term geosphere is often synonymous with the crust, as the crust describes the earth's rigid outer layer.

Why the Geosphere Is Important to Life on Earth

So why is the geosphere important? Simply put, without the geosphere, we would have nowhere to stand! If the earth were made up entirely of water (and hence only consisted of the hydrosphere), all life would have undoubtedly evolved to spend all of its time in the water. We would probably have fins and gills instead of legs and lungs!

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