Printer Friendly

Introduction to Matter


Fig. 1.1. Matter on earth

Image by Alyssa Gundersen

Water is the most common substance on earth. It covers about 60 percent of the surface our planet, and it is the only substance that appears in substantial quantities as a solid, a liquid, and a gas.


Ocean Literacy Principles
Principle 1: The earth has one big ocean with many features.

Ocean Literacy Fundamental Concept: Most of earth’s water (97 percent) is in the ocean. Seawater has unique properties; it is saline, its freezing point is slightly lower than fresh water, its density is slightly higher, its electrical conductivity is much higher, and it is slightly basic. The salt in seawater comes from eroding land, volcanic emissions, reactions at the seafloor, and atmospheric deposition. (OLP1e)


To build an understanding of the unique properties of seawater, it is important to understand the composition of seawater. Chemistry is the branch of science that studies the composition, structure, and reactions of matter at the atomic and molecular levels. Knowledge about the unique chemistry of seawater can contribute to an understanding of how seawater affects, and is affected by, physical, chemical, biological, and ecological processes in the ocean.


These concepts will be explored in this unit through the following activities and investigations:

Table of Contents
Representative Image
Exploring Our Fluid Earth, a product of the Curriculum Research & Development Group (CRDG), College of Education. University of Hawaii, 2011. This document may be freely reproduced and distributed for non-profit educational purposes.