Continental and oceanic rock differ in overall composition, density and age. These differences help explain the distribution and configuration of land masses and ocean basins.
Earth’s dynamic systems are made up of the solid earth (geosphere), the oceans, lakes, rivers, glaciers and ice sheets (hydrosphere), the atmosphere, and organisms (biosphere). Interactions among these spheres have resulted in ongoing changes to the system. Some of these changes can be measured on a human time scale, but others occur so slowly, that they must be inferred from geological evidence.
Earth’s systems can be broken down into individual components which have observable measurable properties.