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141 Cards in this Set

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1st Quarter
The moon phase halfway between new moon and full moon, when half of the side facing Earth is lighted.
3rd or last quarter
The moon phase halfway between full, moon and new moon, when half of the side facing Earth is lighted.
Absolute Dating
Any method of measuring the age of an event or object in years.
Air Mass
A large body of air that has the same properties as the surface over which it formed
Air Pressure
The measure of the force with which air molecules push on a surface
Air Pressure
The measure of the force with which air molecules push on a surface
Asthenosphere
The plastic-like layer below the lithosphere in Earth’s mantle.
Astronomical Unit
The average distance from Earth to the sun (150 million km), used for measuring distances to objects in the solar system.
Axis
Imaginary line that runs through the Earth vertically.
Cementation
A sedimentary rock-forming process in which large sediments are glued together by minerals deposited between the sediments.
Cinder Cone
A type of volcano in which tephra piles up into a steep-sided cone
Cirrus
Thin, feathery, white clouds found at high altitudes. Form if the wind is strong.
Cleavage
The physical property of a mineral that causes it to break along smooth, flat surfaces.
Climate
The average weather conditions in an area over a long period of time.
Clouds
A collection of small water droplets or ice crystals suspended in the air, which forms when the air is cooled and condensation occurs.
Cold front
the boundary that develops when a cold air mass pushes under a warm air mass.
Compaction
A sedimentary rock-forming process that occurs when layers of small sediments become compressed by the weight of layers above them.
Composite Volcano
A type of volcano built of silica-rich lava and tephra layers accumulated from repeated alternating cycles of tephra eruptions and lava eruptions.
Compression
Squeezing forces that compress rocks together at convergent plate boundaries, causing them to deform, fold, and sometimes break.
Condensation
The change of state from a gas to a liquid. When water vapor cools and changes into water droplets that form clouds in the atmosphere.
Conduction
The transfer of heat that occurs when molecules collide
Constellation
A grouping of stars that has a shape resembling an animal, mythological character, or other familiar object and thus is named for it.
Continental Drift
A hypothesis proposed by Alfred Wegener, which states that continents have moved horizontally around the globe, over time, to reach their current locations
Convection current
The driving force of plate tectonics in which hot, plastic-like material from the mantle rises to the lithosphere, moves horizontally, cools and sinks back to the mantle.
Convection
The transfer of heat by a flow of a heated material; occurs in gases or liquids.
Convergent Boundary
In plate tectonics, the boundary between two plates that are converging, or moving toward each other.
Core
The central part of the Earth below the mantle.
Crust
The outermost layer of Earth, varying in thickness from more than 60 km to less than 5 km.
Crystal
A solid having a distinctive shape because its atoms are arranged in repeating patterns.
Cumulus
Puffy, white clouds that tend to have flat bottoms. Form when warm air rises.
Deformation
The bending, tilting, and breaking of the Earth’s crust; the change in the shape of rock in response to stress.
Deposition
The final step in an erosional process, in which sediments are dropped by running water, wind, gravity or glaciers as their energy of motion decreases
Dew Point
The temperature at which air is saturated with water and condensation begins.
Divergent Boundary
In plate tectonics, the boundary between two plates that are diverging, or moving away from each other.
Earthquake
The movement of the ground, caused by waves from energy released as rocks move along faults.
Ellipse
An elongated, closed curve; the shape of Earth’s orbit.
Epicenter
The point on Earth’s surface directly above an earthquake’s focus.
Equinox
The two times each year that the sun is directly above Earth’s equator and the day and night are of equal length all over the world; the start of spring and fall.
Erosion
The process that wears away surface materials and moves them from one location to another, usually by gravity, glaciers, wind or water.
Evaporation
When water from the oceans and the Earth’s surface changes into water vapor. The change of state from a liquid to a gas.
Exosphere
Uppermost part of the Earth’s atmosphere. Beyond it lies space.
Extrusive
Igneous rocks that form when magma extrudes onto Earth’s surface and cools as lava; have a fine-grained texture.
Fault
Surfaces along which rocks break and move; rocks on either side of a fault move in different directions relative to the fault surface.
Focus
The point in Earth’s interior where earthquake energy is released.
Folding
The bending of rock layers due to stress.
Foliated
A type of metamorphic rock created when mineral grains flatten and line up in parallel bands.
Fossil
The trace or remains of an organism that lived long ago, most commonly preserved in sedimentary rock.
Fracture
The physical property of a mineral that causes it to break with rough or jagged edges.
Front
in weather systems, the boundary between two air masses.
Full Moon
The moon phase when the side facing Earth is completely lighted because Earth is between the sun and the moon.
Galaxy
: A massive grouping of stars, gas and dust in space, held together by gravity; can be elliptical, spiral or irregular.
Greenhouse effect
Natural heating caused by atmospheric gases trapping heat at Earth’s surface.
Hardness
A measure of how easily a mineral can be scratched.
Hot Spot
Areas in Earth’s mantle that are hotter than the neighboring areas, forming melted rock that rises toward the crust.
Humidity
The amount of water vapor held in the air.
Hurricane
A severe storm that develops over tropical oceans and whose strong winds of more than 120 km/h spiral in toward the intensely low-pressure storm center.
Igneous Rock
Rock formed by the cooling and hardening of molten material from a volcano or from deep inside Earth.
Inner Core
The dense, solid center of Earth, formed mostly of iron & nickel.
Inner/Terrestrial Planets
The four solid, rocky planets closest to the sun – Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars.
Intrusive
Igneous rocks formed when magma cools below Earth’s surface; generally have large mineral grains.
Ionosphere
Area of the Thermosphere with electrically charged particles, called ions. This is where auroras and radio signals bounce back to Earth
Lava
Molten rock from a volcano flowing onto Earth’s surface.
Light Year
A unit used to measure distance in space; the distance that light travels in one year.
Lightning
An electric discharge that takes place in between two oppositely charged surfaces, such as between a cloud and the ground, between two clouds, or between two parts of the same cloud.
Lithosphere
The rigid, outermost layer of Earth, about 100km thick, composed of the crust and part of the mantle.
Lunar Eclipse
An eclipse that occurs when Earth passes between the sun and moon, and Earth’s shadow falls on the moon, preventing sunlight from reaching all or part of the moon.
Luster
The physical property of a mineral that describes how light is reflected from its surface; is defined as either metallic or nonmetallic
Magma Chamber
The body of molten rock that feeds a volcano.
Magma
Hot, melted rock material beneath Earth’s surface.
Magnitude
: In earthquake studies, a measure of the energy released by an earthquake; the Richter scale is used to describe earthquake magnitude.
Mantle
the thickest layer inside Earth; it lies between the outer core and the crust and is described as plastic-like; formed mostly of silicon, oxygen, magnesium and iron.
Mesosphere
The strong lower part of the mantle between the asthenosphere and the outer core. Also, the layer of the atmosphere between the stratosphere and the thermosphere and in which temperature decreases as altitude increases.
Metamorphic Rock
Rock formed from sedimentary, igneous, or other metamorphic rock due to increases in heat or pressure.
Meteor
A meteoroid that enters Earth’s atmosphere and burns up as it falls; also called a shooting star.
Meteorologist
A scientist who studies weather conditions using radar, satellites, and other instruments to make weather maps and forecasts.
Mineral
a naturally occurring, inorganic solid with a distinct internal structure and chemical composition.
Moon Phase
The change in appearance of the moon as it orbits Earth every 29 ½ days, depending n the relative positions of the moon, Earth, and the sun; for example, full moon and new moon.
Nebula
A large cloud of gas and dust in space that may be the beginning of a star.
New Moon
: The moon phase when the side facing Earth is completely dark and cannot be seen because the moon is between Earth and the sun.
Nonfoliated
A type of metamorphic rock created when mineral grains change, grow, and rearrange, but don’t form bands.
Nuclear Fusion
The combination of the nuclei of small atoms to form a larger nucleus; the binding energy of the atomic nucleus.
Occluded front
In weather systems, the boundary that results when two cool air masses merge and force warmer air to rise between them.
Orbit
The curved path followed by a satellite as it travels around a star, planet, or other object.
Outer Core
The liquid layer of Earth’s core that surrounds the solid inner core and is comprised of iron and nickel.
Outer/Gaseous Planets
The five planets farthest from the sun – Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.
Paleontology
The scientific study of fossils.
Pangaea
The name Alfred Wegener gave to the large landmass, made up of all continents, that he believed existed before it broke apart to form the present continents.
Parallax
The apparent shift in position of an object when viewed from two different points, such as your left eye and right eye.
Percolation
The downward movement of water through pores and other spaces in soil due to gravity.
Plate Tectonics
The theory that Earth’s crust and upper mantle (lithosphere) are broken into sections, called plates, that slowly move around on the mantle.
Plate
In plate tectonics, a section of Earth’s lithosphere (crust and upper mantle) that moves around on the mantle.
Precipitation
Rain, snow, sleet, or hail that falls from clouds onto the Earth’s land and oceans.
Primary Wave
Waves of energy, released during an earthquake, that travel through Earth by causing particles in rocks to compress and stretch apart in the direction of the wave.
Prograde
Counterclockwise spin of a planet or moon as seen from above the planet’s North Pole; rotation in the same direction as the sun’s rotation.
Radiation
The transfer of energy through matter or space by electromagnetic waves.
Recycling
The process of recovering valuable or useful materials from waste or scrap; the process of reusing some items.
Relative Dating
Any method of determining whether an event or object is older or younger than other events or objects.
Retrograde
Clockwise spin of a planet or moon as seen from above the planet’s North Pole.
Revolution
The orbiting of one object around another, like Earth’s yearly orbit around the sun.
Rift Zone
An area of deep cracks that forms between two tectonic plates that are pulling away from each other.
Rock Cycle
The processes by which, over many years Earth materials form and change back and forth among igneous rocks, sedimentary rocks, and metamorphic rocks.
Rock
Earth material made of a mixture of one or more minerals, glass, mineraloids, or organic matter.
Rotation
The spinning of an object around its axis; causes day and night to occur on Earth.
Run off
Precipitation that flows over land into streams and rivers.
Satellite
: any object that revolves around another object; planets and human-made satellites are examples.
Seafloor Spreading
The theory that magma from Earth’s mantle rises to the surface at mid-ocean ridges and cools to form new seafloor, which new magma slowly pushes away from the ridge.
Secondary Wave
Waves of energy, released during an earthquake, that travel through Earth by causing particles in rocks to move at right angles to the direction of the wave.
Sediment
Loose materials such as rock fragments, mineral grains, and bits of plants and animals that have been transported by wind, water or glaciers.
Sedimentary Rock
Rock formed when fragments of rocks, minerals, and/or organic matter are compacted or cemented together or precipitate out of a solution.
Seismic Wave
In an earthquake, the energy waves that move outward from the earthquake focus and make the ground quake.
Seismograph
An instrument used by seismologist to record primary, secondary, and surface waves from earthquakes.
Seismologist
A scientist who studies earthquakes and seismic waves.
Shield Volcano
A broad volcano with gently sloping sides, built by quiet eruptions of fluid basaltic lava, which spreads out in flat layers; example: the Hawaiian Islands.
Solar Eclipse
An eclipse that occurs when the moon passes directly between Earth and the sun, so that the moon casts a shadow on part of Earth and blocks sunlight from reaching Earth.
Solar System
The system of 9 planets and many other objects that orbit our sun; may have been formed about 5 billion years ago from a cloud of ice, gas and dust.
Solstice
The two times each year that Earth’s tilt makes the sun reach its greatest angle north or south of the equator, marking the start of summer or winter.
Stationary front
In weather systems, a warm front or cold front that has stopped moving.
Strata
Layers of rock.
Stratification
Process in which sedimentary rocks are arranged in layers.
Stratosphere
The layer of the atmosphere that is above the troposphere and in which temperature increase as altitude increases.
Stratus
: Clouds that form in layers. Cover large areas of the sky and often block out the sun.
Streak
The color of a mineral when it is powered; usually observed by rubbing the mineral on a ceramic streak plate.
Subduction Zone
In plate tectonics, the area where an ocean-floor plate collides with a continental plate, and the denser ocean plate sinks under the less dense continental plate.
Superposition
A principle that states that younger rocks lie above older rocks if the layers have not been disturbed.
Surface Wave
Waves of energy, released during an earthquake, that reach Earth’s surface and travel outward from the epicenter in all directions; travel through Earth by giving rock particles an elliptical and side-to-side motion.
Tension
Stretching forces that can be strong enough to pull rocks apart at divergent plate boundaries.
Tephra/ Pyroclasic Material
Lava that is blasted into the air by violent volcanic eruptions and solidifies as it falls to the ground as ash, cinders, and volcanic bombs.
Thermosphere
The uppermost layer of the atmosphere, in which temperature increases as altitude increases.
Thunder
The sound caused by the rapid expansion of air along an electrical strike.
Tornado
A destructive, rotating column of air that has very high wind speeds, is visible as a funnel-shaped cloud, and touches the ground.
Transform Boundary
In plate tectonics, a boundary between two plates that are sliding horizontally past one another.
Troposphere
The layer of Earth’s atmosphere closest to the ground; contains clouds, smog, weather, and 75 percent of atmospheric gases.
Tsunami
An ocean wave that begins over an earthquake focus and can reach 30m high.
Vent
: In volcanic regions, an opening in Earth’s surface through which can flow lava, ash, cinders, smoke and steam.
Volcano
A vent in Earth’s surface that often forms a mountain built of lava and volcanic ash, which erupts and builds up.
Waning
Describes the moon following a full moon, as its visible lighted area grows smaller during the lunar cycle.
Warm front
The moving boundary that develops when a warm air mass meets a cold air mass.
Water Cycle
Te continuous movement of water from the ocean to the atmosphere to the land and back to the ocean.
Waxing
Describes the moon shortly after a new moon, as its visible lighted area grows larger during the lunar cycle.
Weather
The behavior of the atmosphere – wind, temperature, pressure, precipitation – at a particular place and time.
Weathering
The breaking of rocks into smaller pieces, either mechanically or chemically.