Biogeochemical Cycles maggie hash

The Water Cycle

The Water Cycle is the movement of water from gas, liquid, to solid. The water cycle can start in any place, but it will begin where most of the water comes from. The sun will cause the water to evaporate into the clouds. Then it will condensate and then precipitate in the form of a liquid or solid from the clouds. Then it will turn into runoff water, and start the process all over again. It is a never ending cycle and has been occurring for billions of yea

The Water Cycle is a physical reaction.

Chemical Reactions: Evaporation: Water is heated up by the sun and turned into a gas. Condensation: Water vapor in the air is turned into liquid water. Condensation is when the formation of clouds takes place. Precipitation: Water released from the clouds and falls to the ground, can be in the form of a solid or liquid. Infiltration: The water then adsorbs into the ground as groundwater. The ground water ends up flowing all the way back to a larger body of water.

Inorganic vs Organic: Water cycle is inorganic because it doesn't contain carbon.

Human Intervention: Humans can have an influence on the water cycle. Humans can control where the surface runoff is deposited. Humans control where the water sources go because of drainage pipes, gutters, etc. Humans can control where the water is deposited, but it will still end up going through the water cycle. Humans affect the water cycle by taking out water and placing water wherever it is needed.

The Carbon Cycle

Carbon is an element that is a part of all living things, plants, animals, humans, etc. Carbon is a part of carbon dioxide. It goes from the atmosphere to plants, animals eat the plants, and then other animals eat animals. Once the body of the plant or animal decays, it ends up back in the soil and the cycle continues. Carbon is a greenhouse gas that helps hold heat.

Chemical Reactions involved: One reaction that occurs is photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the process where plants and animals use the suns energy to turn their food into carbon dioxide and water. Another reaction that occurs is a metabolism. A metabolism the chemical processes that occur within a living organism in order to maintain life. Metabolism helps give an organism energy to do their daily functions. Plant respiration occurs which is where plants use oxygen and produce carbon dioxide. The result is the release of stored energy for use.

Organic and Inorganic components: Animals and plants are the organic components of the carbon cycle. Animals eat plants and it is a organic process. The fossil fuels and energy that is released from the factories are inorganic and can be harmful to the environment. They also add on to global warming and green house gases.

Human Intervention: Over the years, humans have burned so much fuel that there is now more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. All the extra gases that are produced by humans contribute to global warming and can be harmful to the Earth. When humans burn fossil fuels to power factories, power plants, cars and trucks, most of the carbon quickly enters the atmosphere as carbon dioxide gas. Humans contribute to most of the global warming, cutting down trees in the rain forest, doesn't help much either.

The Nitrogen Cycle

Nitrogen is needed for the body. Nitrogen is found in DNA, RNA, and proteins (the building blocks of life). All organisms require nitrogen to survive. The nitrogen cycle is the movement of nitrogen through the atmosphere, biosphere, and geosphere in different forms.

Chemical Reactions involved: Nitrogen Fixation is the process where N2 is converted into ammonium. Denitrification is the loss or removal of nitrogen and returned to the atmosphere as nitrogen gas. Nitrification is where some of the ammonium produced by decomposition is converted into nitrate. Nitrogen mineralization also occurs and this is where nitrogen is incorporated into organic matter and is converted back into inorganic nitrogen. Lastly is nitrogen uptake, this is where the ammonium produced by nitrogen fixing bacteria is taken up by its host. These are all chemical reactions that are involved in nitrogen cycle.

Organic and Inorganic Components: Some organic compounds in the nitrogen cycles are DNA, RNA, and proteins, which can be found in the body. Bacteria is a organic compound and plays a major role in the cycle because it helps decompose material using nitrates. Bacteria and fungi help speed up the process of decay.

Human Intervention: Humans have impacted the nitrogen cycle through the use of agricultural productivity. There have been advances in technology that help speed up the process of the nitrogen cycle. This has lead to the increase in greenhouse gases which are caused by the chemical pollutants, we use in our fertilizers.

The Phosphorus Cycle

Phosphorus is an important chemical for animals and plants. It is critical for all living organisms. It is the framework that holds DNA and RNA, it is a component of ATP, and is used to build proteins. The phosphorus cycle is different from the others because it doesn't include a gas phase. Plants take up phosphate ions and herbivores eat the plants. Then, omnivores/carnivores eat the animals who contain phosphate. Then the phosphate is absorbed into the animals tissue. Once the plant or animals die, they begin to decay and the phosphate gets put into the ground, where the cycle starts all over again.

Chemical Reactions involved: The phosphorous cycle does not include a gas phase like the other biogeochemical cycles. Although small amounts of phosphoric acid may make their way into the atmosphere, most of the phosphate comes down as a liquid in acid rain. Most phosphorus is found in sedimentary rock as a solid.

Phosphate: PO43- Phosphoric Acid: H3PO3

Organic and Inorganic Components: Some organic components are the animals and plants that contain the phosphorous. Phosphates that end up in the soil from decayed plants and organisms can be considered inorganic. Plants take up the inorganic soil and turn it into organic material where animals and humans are able to consume it. Then the organism will die and the process will start all over.

Human Intervention: Humans contribute to excessive levels of phosphorus by cutting down the tropical rain forests and through the use of fertilizers. Fertilizers can either speed up or mess up the whole entire cycle of phosphorus. Agricultural runoff provides much of the phosphate found in waterways. Humans can alter where the phosphate can be found.



Created with images by Photographing Travis - "Ocean" • technicolor76 - "water drops" • ghutchis - "High resolution carbon nanotube" • NASA Goddard Photo and Video - "How the Sun Caused an Aurora This Week" • josemdelaa - "matches phosphors fire"

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