Moon Phases

Moon Phases

Moon Phase Definitions

The phases of the moon include waxing, waning, gibbous, and crescent. A waxing moon is the time after a new moon and before a full moon so that the illuminated part of the moon is increasing in size. While a waning moon is the time when the illuminated area on the moon is decreasing in size. Gibbous moon is a phase of the moon when more than half of it is illuminated by the sun but it is not yet fully illuminated. A crescent moon is the phase of the moon when it is between a new moon and a half moon which means it is between not being illuminated and being halfway illuminated.

How the Moon Affects Ocean Tides

Moon Effects on Ocean Tides

Moon Phase Patterns

A waxing moon will increase the amount of illumination on the moon as time increases while a waning moon will decrease the portion of the moon that is illuminated over time.

Lunar Cycle

A lunar cycle is the cycle of the moon phases which is a new moon, waxing crescent, half moon, waxing gibbous, full moon, waning gibbous, half moon, waning crescent, and then it returns to a new moon. This means that the moon becomes more illuminated over time as more of the moon is exposed to the sun and the light is reflected to Earth. Once, it hits full moon it starts to wane or decrease in illumination. This cycle will constantly repeat and it takes the moon  27.3 days to orbit the Earth and 29.5 days to go from new moon to new moon.

Patterns of the Moon

Earth's Seasons/Eclipses
#RockinReview #eclipses

Nicolai Copernicus

Many people used to believe that the Earth was the center of the universe and didn't understand why the seasons would change until Nicolai Copernicus (1473-1543) proposed that the sun was the center of the universe. This changed most peoples view on the seasons and led to a better understanding between the relationship of the sun and Earth.


The Earth has seasons because the Earth stays on an axis that rotates around the sun and this allows for different amounts of sunlight for the different hemispheres of Earth. Therefore, with different amounts of sunlight, different parts of the world will receive different amounts of heat, energy, and light that lead to the Earth having the seasons of Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall.


In the winter for the northern hemisphere, Earth is closer to the sun. However, it is not warmer here because the Northern hemisphere receives less dense sun rays for a shorter period of time since it is pointed away from the sun. This causes the Northern hemisphere to be less warm during the winter than the summer even though the Earth is closer to the sun.

Lunar Eclipses

Lunar eclipses occur when the moon passes directly into the shadow of the Earth and none of the sunlight will reflect off of the moon so that it will no longer be visible from Earth. This will not occur once every month because the plane of the moon's orbit around the Earth is tilted by about 5.2 degrees compared to the Earth's orbit around the Earth. This means that since the plane is tilted that means that the occurrence of the alignment of the Earth, the sun, and the moon is much less common than once a month.

Cause of a Lunar Eclipse

Day and Night

Day and night occurs because Earth is constantly spinning causing different parts of Earth to receive a certain amount of sunlight and darkness or day and night over a 24 hour period. However,  Not all parts of the Earth will receive the same amounts of sunlight since the Earth is on an axis. This causes some parts of Earth to receive very long periods of sunlight while some parts are not receiving any sunlight. In the summer, that hemisphere will receive long periods of sunlight while the opposite occurs in the winter.

Equinox and Solstice

An equinox occurs when the Earth's  equator is directly above the sun and the amount of day and night around most of the world is equal. They will occur during the beginning of fall(autumnal equinox) or the beginning of spring(vernal equinox). Solstices occurs when the pole are pointed to their maximum toward or away from the sun. They occur at the beginning of summer or winter and during the summer solstice the amount of daytime is at it largest while during the winter solstice the opposite is true.

Plate Tectonics  #RockinReview  #platetectonics

Alfred Wegener

Alfred Wegener had a PhD in astronomy and later became a meteorologist that became more interested in geophysics. In 1910, he noticed that the Atlantic coastlines almost appeared to fit together. After this, he proposed the idea of continental drift which some scientists agreed with him but many disagreed with him. Continental drift is something that shows that the continental plates are moving. He later died in 1930 during an exploration to Greenland.


A convergent boundary is the spot where two more of the plates of the lithosphere move toward each other and collide. Divergent boundaries is when two or more plates of the lithosphere are moving away from each other. Transform boundaries are the occasion where two tectonic plates will slide against each other and cause an earthquake.

Juan de Fuca Plate

The tectonic plate right off of the coast of Washington is the Juan de Fuca plate. It has an affect on the formation of the Cascade mountain range because it moves beneath the North American plate in the process that is called subduction. Juan de Fuca will then experience very high temperatures and pressure that will cause some of the solid rock to melt. It will then erupt above the subduction zone to for volcanoes in the Cascade Mountain range. This is how volcanoes in the Cascade Mountain range were created such as, Mount Baker, Glacier Peak, and Mount Rainier.

Juan de Fuca Plate

Convection Currents

When a substance decreases in heat energy it will become more dense and will move down or sink and as it gains heat energy it will become less dense and move up. This will continue in a circular motion which is what convection currents are. This will affect plate tectonics because the core will increase the heat energy of the mantle and will cause it to rise. As it moves up to the lithosphere it will lose heat energy to become more dense and sink back to the core. This continues constantly in the mantle. It affects plate tectonics by the less dense magma in the mantle moving closer to the crust and transferring heat to the crust and breaking apart the crust. This causes divergent boundaries in the crust. Also, as the convection currents move through the mantle it will cause the plates to move around above the mantle in a process called continental drift. As the tectonic plates move there will be convergent, divergent, and transform boundaries occurring.

Rift Zone

A rift zone is a linear series of fissures in a volcano's edifice that allows for lava to erupt from the volcano's flank rather than erupting from the summit.

Subduction Zone

A subduction zone occurs when two tectonic plates will collide with each other and one of the tectonic plates will bend down into the mantle. This is caused by convection currents that move tectonic plates  in the process of continental drift.

Channeled Scablands

The channeled scablands were formed by a gigantic flood 18,000 to 20,000 years ago during the ice age. There were many floods during that time but the largest flood wiped away the evidence of the last floods. This theory was proposed by J. Harlen Bretz in the 1920's that was thought to be caused by a large body of water breaking through an ice dam and flooding the area over a ten day span of constant water eroding a  large portion of eastern Washington to form the channeled scablands.