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The Sulfur Cycle

NatSci 5 - Group 4

Lou Galang

on 10 January 2013

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Transcript of The Sulfur Cycle

T H E S U L F U R C Y C L E First of all, WHAT IS SULFUR? Sources: > Sulfur has the atomic number of 16.

> It is the tenth most abundant element in the environment.

> In its normal state, it is a bright yellow crystalline solid.

> Most of it is stored underground in rocks, minerals, and ocean floor deposits.

> The ecosystem needs it in the production of proteins, vitamins, and hormones. What are the effects of the sulfur cycle on nature? > The cycle is one of the processes that allow natural weathering.

> It regulates the amount of sulfur in the biosphere, thus preventing acid rain.

> Sulfuric acid produces sulfuric acid smog when it mixes with water vapor. http://www.slideshare.net/mmcrivera29/sulfur-cycle


http://science.jrank.org/pages/6600/Sulfur-Cycle.html 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 We start on processes 1, 2 and 3. For process labeled as 1, the earth releases hydrogen sulfide gas, sometimes called reduced sulfur, into the atmosphere.

Process 2, is similar, but instead of reduced sulfur, the ocean releases dimethyl sulfide into the atmosphere.

Both these gases react with atmospheric oxygen, and creates sulfur dioxide, which, unlike the previous, is produced directly by volcanic emissions. Once in the atmosphere (process 4), The sulfur dioxide, once again with atmospheric oxygen and produces sulfur trioxide.

Then, the sulfur trioxide transforms to either sulfuric acid or ammonium sulfate salts.

These two substances then merge and form fog precipitation. In process 5, The sulfur-infused precipitate, then falls back down to the earth through deposition.

They can now be part of the food cycle, again. Processes 6, 7 and 8 involve the food cycle. During process 6, the sulfur from the atmosphere is converted into sulfur salts, which can be used by plants to create protein.

The sulfur is then transferred to animals during process 7, when they eat plants. Therefore, when either plants or animals decompose, reduced sulfur returns to the earth once more to be converted into sulfur salts to provide nutrients for other plants, thus repeating cycle 6.

However, not all the reduced sulfur becomes used by the plants. Some are released into the air to start the atmospheric processes, once more. And so the cycle goes on. However... However, there are some human disruptions that disturb the cyclic processes. One example is when humans began to interfere with the sulfur cycle at the start of the industrial revolution with the burning of fossil fuels.

Acid rain is one of the consequences of the interference with the cycle. It is a well-known environmental problem, and is ultimately associated with large emissions of sulfur dioxide to the atmosphere by human sources, such as oil- and coal-fired power plants, metal smelters, and the burning of fuel oil to heat homes. Emissions from fossil fuel burning and nitrate emissions react with other chemicals in the atmosphere and produce a sulfate salt, which then falls as acid rain.

If its concentration is large enough, the SO2 can cause toxicity to plants, which may be killed, resulting in severe ecological damages. <-- effect of
acid rain Photos: http://www.irocks.com/render.html?species=Sulfur&page=1

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