Does the Earth have a finite number of molecoles? if so, does stuff like trash and plastic take away from food and water on a molecular level?


Is it true that once we die our atoms cycle through the system through decomposition? Are we are drinking dinosaur pee? Where do new atoms come from if we don’t have a finite number of building blocks? I feel like im confusing a bunch of different sciences but can someone please explain?

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Yes you are drinking water which used to be peed by dinosaurs all of the atoms are recycled over time some on a small local level and some on a more massive scale, material can be buried under the earth in huge sedimentary layers and when parts of the crust move towards each other one layer is forced down and then heats up and can be spewed out again as volcanic lava.

Yes, other than nuclear reactors or stars or some other situations, matter is conserved. It is not created or destroyed. There is a finite number of atoms in the Earth. It is an insanely mind bogglingly large number of atoms, but it is limited. And yes, decomposition recycles atoms into new material. We eat plants and burn the carbohydrates and excrete CO2 and H2O. The take in the CO2 and the H2O and use sunlight to turn it back into the carbohydrates we burn. Similar cycles exist for various other substances like the nitrogen cycle.

Yes, while plastic and stuff that isn’t really biodegradable is made of a number of atoms that came from the earth, and the earth only has so much,

But they are not used from a giant pool as we use material.. all the material the earth will ever have are already formed, so using plastic won’t necessarily detract from our food unless the raw material of the plastic could instead be used to make food. (Not often the case)

Yes, there is a finite number of atoms that make up our planet.

An yes when they bury you after your death you will eventually decompose and have your components be recycled into other stuff.

You are probably drinking dinosaur pee.

The number of atoms is not 100% fixed but only a very tiny amount of new stuff gets added over time by space rocks crashing into earth and a very small amount of atmosphere is lost over time to space. Mostly what we have now is what we started out with when life began on this planet. (There was a period called late heavy bombardment very early on where lots of rocks from space rained down on the planet, but once that slowed down things stayed mostly the same.)

As for where the atoms come from that make up out planet?

Hydrogen and bits of Helium have been around since shortly after the big bang all the other heavier elements are mostly formed by stars fusing lighter elements together. The really heavy elements when stars exploded.

*We are star stuff.*