Earth cycles

Part of Hall of Planet Earth.

Earth Cycles AMNH/R.Mickens

Cycles of a living planet
The Earth is a dynamic planet.  Geological and biological processes cause energy and the elements necessary for life-carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, sulfur, and phosphorus- to circulate through global “reservoirs.”  These reservoirs are the biosphere (the living portion of our planet), the atmosphere, the ocean, and the solid Earth.  It is only because of this cycling that life can thrive.  The cycling of elements determines the environment, for example by regulating the composition, and thus the temperature, of the atmosphere.