Layers of the Atmosphere

len Alfred Ajibola - Sat, 28th December, 2019 @ 07:19: AM

Topics in Geography

Branches of Geography: Physical and Environmental Geography Geography Scheme of Work, SS1, First Term Geography Scheme of Work, SS1, Second Term Geography Scheme of Work, SS1, Third Term Classification | Types of Planets and their Characteristics Planets of the Solar System with their Characteristics Functions of the Atmosphere Layers of the Atmosphere Solar System in Geography Atmosphere: Composition of the Atmosphere Geography, Types and Branches of Geography Characteristics and Examples of Igneous, Sedimentary and Metamorphic Rocks

Academic Questions in Geography

Please check out our Test Your Knowledge page to see all Questions and Answers

The following are true concerning the gas planets except _____.

  • A. Neptune is an example of a gas planet

  • B. They are also referred to as jovian planets

  • C. They have rings around them

  • D. They are smaller in size when compared to earth

  • E. They are also referred to as gas giants

  • F. They are composed mainly of hydrogen and helium gas

The following are characteristics of terrestrial planets except _____.

  • A. They have rocky surfaces

  • B. Their surfaces are compact in nature

  • C. They have no rings around them

  • D. Uranus is an example of terrestrial planet

  • E. They rotate slowly around their satellites

  • F. The have few number of satellites

Planets can be classified under the following headings except _____.

  • A. Size

  • B. Shape

  • C. Mass

  • D. Time of discovery

  • E. Composition

  • F. Relative positioning to the sun

The following are branches of physiography except _____.

  • A. Oceanography

  • B. Geomorphology

  • C. Envirogeography

  • D. Paleography

  • E. Glaciology

  • F. Bio-Geography

Sedimentary rocks are formed from the following processes EXCEPT _____.

  • A. By the transformation of a protolith

  • B. By the transportation and subsequent deposition of weathered remains of pre-existing rocks

  • C. By the accumulation and lithification of detrital rocks

  • D. By their precipitation from solution

  • E. By processes resulting from biogenic activity

  • F. All of the above

The following are examples of igneous rock EXCEPT _____.

  • A. Tuff

  • B. Gneiss

  • C. Granite

  • D. Pegmatite

  • E. Gabbro

  • F. Pumice



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Layers of the Atmosphere:

The atmosphere surrounding the earth is layered. Each layer has its own characteristics although the boundaries between them are not clearly defined.

Recall that the atmosphere is held close to earth by gravity and it consists of a mixture of gases, microscopic organisms and other tiny particles like dust.

Please read on the Composition of the Atmosphere here.

Please read on the Concept of Gravity here.

The image below shows the different layers of the atmosphere:
Layers of the Atmosphere - Len Academy

Beginning from the layer closest to the earth, the layers of the atmosphere are explained below:

1. Troposphere

From the surface of the earth, the troposphere is about (0 - 13 miles) or (0 -20 kilometers) high.

Functionally, the troposphere is easily penetrated by the sun’s heat into earth's surface. It also prevents the escape of heat reflected from the ground of the earth into the outer space. This function of the troposphere is vital for the survival of earth's organisms.

Helicopters and Light Aircrafts will normally fly in the troposphere.

The troposphere also contains water vapour which makes it the point of weather development.

Please read on the Functions of the Atmosphere here.

Note: All human beings live on the surface of the earth.

The interface forming the boundary between two atmospheric layers are always named with a "pause" at its end; for instance;

  • Tropopause: This is the interface or boundary between the troposphere and stratosphere.

Other similar boundaries includes:

  • Stratopause: Interface between the stratosphere and mesosphere.
  • Mesopause: Interface between the mesosphere and ionosphere.
  • Ionopause: Interface between the ionosphere and thermosphere.
  • Thermopause and so on.

These terms will be appropriately used throughout our explanations.


2. Stratosphere

This layer of the atmosphere extends from the tropopause. It's about (13 - 31 miles) or (20 - 50 kilometers) high.

Due to the reduced atmospheric turbulence in this region, planes prefer to fly here.

Please read on Advantages and Disadvantages of Air Transport here.

Some of the oxygen's tri-atomic molecule (O3) termed ozone is present here.

Ozone prevents the harmful ultraviolet radiations from reaching the earth; and this is the concept of an ozone layer.

Note: The chemical chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) can bring about ozone depletion in this layer of the atmosphere.

Please read on Waste Management and Types of Waste here.


3. Mesosphere

This layer begins from the stratopause at a height of 31 - 58 miles or 50 - 80 kilometers. It is characterized with the lowest of temperatures when compared to other layers of the atmosphere.

The largest amounts of clouds are also present in the mesosphere.

Note: Aircraft and Spacecraft do not fly within this region.


  • Thermosphere

The thermosphere extends from the mesopause at a height of 50 - 440 miles or 80 - 700 kilometers. It is considered as the densest layer of the atmosphere.

The thermosphere comprise of the ionosphere, a layer that conducts electricity. The ions in the ionosphere are created from the particles of sunlight and those of the space.

Please read on the Concept of Ions and Electrolytes here.

Gases like hydrogen, helium and oxygen are found in the thermosphere.

Please read on Gases and their Characteristics here.


  • Exosphere

The main gas found here is hydrogen (H2).

The exosphere commences from the thermopause at a height of 440 - 6,200 miles or 700 - 10,000 kilometers.

Some of the earth’s artificial satellite are found in this region of the atmosphere.

Please read more on the Solar System here.

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Alfred Ajibola is a Medical Biochemist, a passionate Academician with over 7 years of experience, a Versatile Writer, a Web Developer, a Cisco Certified Network Associate and a Cisco CyberOps Associate.

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Amazing facts in Geography

The universe has a color named cosmic latte

An earthquake is more likely to happen in Japan than any other country

Only 2 countries have the color purple in their national flag. Both countries are:

Nicaragua and Dominica

With 221,800 islands, Sweden is believed to have more islands than any other country in the world.

The shortest war in history lasted for only 38 minutes

Australia is both a country and continent and it has the highest number of reptiles in the world. (Over 750 different species of reptiles)

Earth is the only planet that contains water on it's surface. In fact, the percentage of water on Earth is greater than that of land.

Water: 71%

Land: 21%

Salt water or Saline water makes up about 97% of Earth's water. It comprises majorly of ocean and sea waters

Metal actually rains on planet Venus

Planet Mars appear brownish or reddish because it's covered with iron rust


We have 3 main types or classes of rock based on how they are formed. These are:

1. Igneous Rock


2. Sedimentary Rock


3. Metamorphic Rock


Igneous rocks are formed when molten substances below the earth surface cools down and solidifies. These molten substances are called magma or lava. Magma can be derived from melting of existing rocks on the earth crust.

The solidification of molten magma into igneous rock may be below the earth's surface (intrusive) or on the earth's surface (extrusive), giving rise to the two types of igneous rock.

  • Intrusive Igneous Rock: These are igneous rocks that crystallizes below the earth’s surface. They generally cool slowly during the process of solidification and tend to produce large crystals.

    Intrusive Igneous Rock are also referred to as Plutonic Igneous Rock. Examples are gabbro, granite and pegmatite.

  • Extrusive Igneous Rock: They are igneous rocks that form when molten magma erupts on top of the earth's surface. They cool down and solidify quickly, producing small crystals in the process.  Sometimes, the molten magma cools so quickly, allowing no time for crystals to grow. This rapid cooling results in the formation of an amorphous glass.

    Extrusive Igneous Rock are also referred to as Volcanic Igneous Rock. Examples are basalt, rhyolite and scoria.

Sedimentary rocks amount to about 76% of the earth's surface. They can be formed in different ways. These are:

  • By the deposition of the weathered remains of pre-existing rocks and their subsequent transportation and deposition. Sedimentary rocks formed in this way are known as clastic sedimentary rock.

  • By the accumulation and lithification of sediment or detrital rock.

  • By their precipitation from solution. Sedimentary rocks formed in this way are known as chemical sedimentary rock.

  • As a result of biogenic activities. Sedimentary rocks formed in this way are known as organic sedimentary rock.

Please read more on types of rocks here

Metamorphic rocks are formed from the transformation of an existing rock or original rock called protolith. The protolith may be an igneous rock or a sedimentary rock or another older metamorphic rock. Their transformation may be physical or chemical, requiring great heat and pressure.

Metamorphic rocks are always more dense and also less likely to be broken down by erosion when compared to igneous and sedimentary rocks. They make up about 12% of the earth crust and can also be formed beneath the earth surface.

Examples of metamorphic rocks are schist (a converted basalt), quartzite (a compressed sandstone), and marble (a compressed limestone or dolomite).