# What role does gravity play in the forming of the layers of the atmosphere?

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1
Feb 9, 2018

A minor one.

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The role of gravity on the atmosphere and it's layers is basically one of density. 50% of the mass of Earth's atmosphere is found in the lower half of the troposphere, and 80% of the total mass is found in the troposphere. If you accept the thickness of the atmosphere as 100km then 80% of the mass is in 10% of the volume closest to the Earth. This is due to gravity. Additionally, because of gravity there is a defined "top" of the atmosphere.

The formation of layers in the atmosphere is caused by heat not by gravity.

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Feb 6, 2018

A fundamental one.

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Just look at the atomic mass of air's different components.

Oxygen has an atomic mass of 16 and is a high percentage component of the lower levels of the atmosphere.
People who climb high mountains need to bring Oxygen bottles on their back. There is little of it at 8,000m

Oxygen is mostly mixed with Nitrogen that has a similar atomic weight (14)
Hydrogen (1) and Helium (2) however are by far more present in the upper levels.

Do not forget however the relevance of the wind factor.
If we do breathe a fairly homogeneous air in spite of differences in altitude it is because the air mass is continually stirred and agitated by currents and winds.

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