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In general, the geosphere is considered to comprise the entire solid Earth and its atmosphere. The Earth's solid body is divided into the interior and exterior core, the mantle and the crust. The thin layer at the top of the crust is called the pedosphere. A high proportion of the earth is covered by water. This realm is termed the hydrosphere. Biotic substances form the biosphere (Brunotte et al. 2002).

The term geosphere is used here in a variant understanding. Geosphere is used for all the different spheres building up the geosphere (see figure). However, only one section of the geosphere is considered. Besides the physical spheres the human sphere is also included.