While the Earth is an open system to energy exchange, the Earth is essentially a closed system with respect to matter. Rather, all matter on earth is continuously recycled, through atmospheric, biologic, geologic, and hydrologic processes, as well as through human activities. The study of this cycling of matter is called BioGeoChemistry.
Some important BioGeoChemical Cycles include the water cycle, and the Carbon cycle, in which plants and carbonate minerals are important reservoirs, and the Nitrogen cycle, which is important to the nutrition of plants.
Consider the following texts:
Fred T. Mackenzie, 1998, Our Changing Planet: An Introduction to Earth System Science and Global Environmental Change, 2nd edition, Prentice-Hall.
William H. Schlesinger, 1997, Biogeochemistry: An Analysis of Global Change, 2nd edition, Academic Press.
EK Berner & RA Berner, 1996, Global Environment: Water, Air and Geochemical Cycles, Prentice-Hall.
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