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Piece Few GEERT a Tate “eae Tate La : Ta Ei Numerous orogenic ‘pases ig. 3.11 Simpl suaigraphic chart an principal orogenic phases (mountain building). 3.2. Origin of the Universe and matter “We will briefly review the Big Bang theory, a product of the work of numerous astrophysicist, -sciuding Newton, Doppler, Einstein, Friedman and Hubble, to mention only the principal ones. ‘%- will examine the major stages that led to the creation of chemical elements that make up the act's materials. Isotopic dating allows us to assign an age of approximately 15Ga to the birth of the wvetse, which is also the time when elements began to be created by nucleosynthesis, cure 3.12 is a simplified diagram of how these events occurred. 38 ‘SEOLOGY: BASICS FOR ENGINEERS ‘mcleosyntesis fee Extraordinary density, energy, and temperature co sizantic explosion in the Universe that dispersed the elementary forms of matter into space at high energy. This explosion explains why the Universe is still expanding today, * Helium nuclei 4He, {Hydrogen atom H (10* years after the Big Bang), ‘+ Hydrogen molecule Hy, ‘The Universe was homogeneous, not diversified, 3.2.2 Stellar phase After Several million yeas, when the general energy evel had decreased sufficiently, masses eanater began to congresate locally, by acretion, according tothe Ine of universal attraction (Chapt. 4) (Tis Phase was followed by collisions thar gradually increased the internal energy of the ‘mss finally forming a frst generation star and the first alanis, ‘Accretion caused the formation of heavier elements than hydrogen ‘through nuclear fusion ‘The fusion of hydrogen atoms, two by two, led tothe formation etches atoms; this reaction but brill cs ike CH, acids) The THE EARTHINTIME 39. “secvucd the thermal energy within the star, which is opposed fo the gravitational energy, The cs in equilibrium. Little by little the hydrogen was used up, and as a result, helium ‘lowed down, causing a temperature drop at the center of the star. Gravitational | Soop seame predominant. The star collapsed and so on itself, contracts, and its central part a Sreasingly dense, This contraction led to another temperature increase; ifthe ter- “Zxes enough, the previously formed helium will be used to synthesize carbon and Son. which are necessary for life, and then the first geologic element, silicon (Fig. 3.13)- provons number 16 15 1 3 n " 10 no + Be => Mg 2Mg + 2H => AL Tetum ing + tHe => St [Da hvdronen TIPS FSETEVMONRB UI ‘newxons nuber Fig. 3.13 Generation of new atoms by fusion rom (229). sz majority of stars will stop atthe carbon creation stage. Gravity causes them to collapse swith a prodigious density increase, ereating a white dwarf (a dead star, no nuclear but brilliant due to its beat), a brown dwarf (a body much smaller in size and luminos- co a white dwvar(), a pulsar (a Tapidly turning neutron star that produces electromagnetic “> segular intervals), or other types of celestil objects. © cos converging mass of matter is very lage (massive stars), there is then sufficient energy hesize all elements in the periodic table, including the heaviest, such as uranium (U). cn involved and a temperature of millions of degrees will lead to a more massive col- 2 Stach larger than that of a white dwar, finally resulting in a gigantic explosion (super ey That will disperse these atoms throughout the Universe, thus sowing chemicals throughout This matter may again participate in the accretion process, and form a second generation red so on. Smaller stars like our Sun will have a limited thermal increase and will end er ives as white dwarfs. cae Universe is also the birthplace of low energy organic substances such as the simple scales like CH and NHB, But the Universe also produces complex molecules (aleohols anc see clés), These molecules exist today in interstellar space. They have certainly played a Senta role in the Earth's fist atmosphere and in the appearance of ife.