Concept of the Biosphere Definition of Term and Method of Analysis

At the beginning of the nineteenth century J.-B. Lamarck had introduced the term 'biosphere'. He considered it as the 'scope of life' and some sort of external cover for the Earth. In 1875 the same term was introduced in geology by E. Süss, who distinguished the biosphere as one of the Earth's covers. But V. Vernadsky was the person who first created the modern concept of the biosphere. This concept was first stated in his two lectures in Paris, published in 1926. In the sequel it was developed by Vernadsky himself, and by V. Kostitzin, V. Sukhachev, N. Timofeev -Resovsky, and other Russian scientists.

Biosphere includes all the hydrosphere, troposphere to the height of 30 km, and the upper part of the Earth's crust down to a depth of 2-3 km, for living bacteria still may be found at this depth in the underground waters and in the oil. It is an open thermodynamic system that exists with a permanent flow of solar energy (1.2 x 1022 kcalyr-1) since the very beginning of the Earth's history.

According to Vernadsky, the biosphere is an external Earth cover, the 'scope of life' (as Lamarck named it). He also notes that this definition (as just the 'scope of life') is not complete. The Vernadsky's biosphere includes

• 'biogeneric matter', that is, organic and mineral substances, created by living matter (for instance, coal, peat, litter, humus, etc.); and

• 'bioinert matter', created by living organisms together with inorganic nature (water, atmosphere, sediment rocks).

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