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Chapter 7

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Using Earth system science, we investigate Earth’s solid stuff, its liquid stuff, and its gas stuff. Plate tectonics, the water cycle, and the carbon cycle help us conclude that Earth is essentially a closed system for matter. Each of the elements that is vital for life exists on Earth in a closed loop of cyclical changes.


  • Carbon Cycle Demonstration   DVD icon
    Demonstrate the distribution of carbon in the different reservoirs of the carbon cycle, and model how carbon moves between the reservoirs. Also check out the "Carbon Cycle Studio Version" chapter on the DVD.
  • Dynamic Balance in a Bottle
    This activity illustrates the principle of dynamic balance, how a system can stay the same even though changes are happening. It also can be used to illustrate what happens when changes alter the balance.
  • Three Principles Play   DVD icon
    This play illustrates that Earth is essentially a closed system for matter, an open system for energy, and a networked system for life. See it as part of "Dr. Art's Planet Earth Show" on the DVD.


  • Carbon Cycle Preview   DVD icon
    Preview a clip from the carbon cycle studio version chapter on the Dr. Art Does Science DVD.
  • Nazca Plate Animation
    As described on page 111 of Dr. Art?s Guide to Science, the Nazca Plate moves away from the Pacific Plate, and dives under the South American Plate.
  • Plate Tectonics - An Introduction
    This video explains the basics of plate tectonics.
  • Rock Cycle Animation
    This website includes animations and photographs illustrating the many processes within the rock cycle.
  • Water Cycle Animation
    This animation has a beginning level to show the basics of the water cycle. Intermediate and advanced levels take you deeper without getting wet.


  • Animations of Plate Movements
    Watch Pangea form and break up. Many animations show how plates have moved over Earth's long history.
  • Plate Tectonics
    This middle school science webpage has plate tectonics information, activities, and links to animations.
  • Water Cycle
    This website from the U.S. Geological Survey has a diagram of the water cycle in many languages, and information about each of the parts of the water cycle.

Just Kidding

People Muttering ?Matter Cycles, Matter Cycles,? pages 113 and 117
I admit that when I wrote the book, I might have been the only person who walked around muttering, ?Matter Cycles, Matter Cycles.? But now Dr. Art?s Guide to Science has been published. If you see somebody talking to himself or herself, pay attention. They might be saying, ?Matter Cycles, Matter Cycles.?