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75 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
What is a hypothesis?
A tentative explanation that is then tested to determine if it is valid.
What is Uniformitarianism?
The concept that the processes that have shaped Earth in the geologic past are essentially the same as those operating today.
What is a rock?
A consolidated mixture of minerals.
Relative Dating
Rocks and structures are placed in their proper sequence or order. Only the chronological order of events is determined.
Law of superposition
In any undeformed sequence of sedimentary rocks, each bed is older than the one above and younger than the one below.
A well tested and widely accepted view that explains certain observable facts.
An atom or molecule that possesses an electrical charge.
A naturally occurring, inorganic crystalline material with a unique chemical structure.
Paleozoic era
A time span on the geologic time scale between the Precambrian and Mesozoic eras--from about 540 million to 248 million years ago.
A tabular-shaped intrusive igneous feature that cuts through the surrounding rock.
A large mass of igneous rock that formed when magma was amplaced at depth, crystallized, and was subsequently exposed by erosion.
A body of molten rock found at depth, including and dissolved gases and crystals.
A measure of a fluid's resistance to flow
Bowen's reaction series
A concept proposed by N.L. Bowen that illistrates the relationships between magma and the minerals crystallizing from it during the formation of igneous rocks.
The disintergration and decomposition of rock at or near the surface of the earth.
Wilson Cycle (Supercontinent Cycle)
The idea that the rifting and dispersal of one supercontinent is followed by a long period during which the fragments gradually reassemble into a new supercontinent.
Transform Fault
A major strike-slip fault that cuts through the lithosphere and accommodates motion between two plates
Transform Fault Boundary
A boundary in which two plates slide past one another without creating or destroying lithosphere.
A urface that represents a break in the rock record, caused by erosion and nondeposition
Compressional Stress
Differential stress that shortens a rock body
Shield Volcano
A broad, gently sloping volcano built from fluid basaltic lavas.
the rigid outer layer of earth, including the crust and upper mantle
the part of the mantle that extends from the core-mantle boundary to a dpeth of 660 kilometers. Also known as the lower mantle.
Convergent plate boundary
a boundary in which two plates move together, resulting in oceanic lithosphere being thrust beneath an overriding plate, eventually to be reabsorbed into the mantle. It can also involve the collision on two continental plates to create a mountain system.
Divergent plate boundary
a boundary in which two plates move apart, resulting in an upwelling of material from the mantle to create new seafloor.
Original Horizontality
layers of sediment that are generally deposited in a horizontal or nearly horizontal position.
a principle of relative dating. A rock or fault is younger than any rock or fault through which it cuts.
A piece of one rock unit contained within another. Inclusions are used in relative dating. The rock mass adjacent to the one containing the inclusion must have been there first in order to provide the fragment.
water and soil, a variety of mettalic and nonmetallic minerals, and energy
Earth is gaining ____ people per year
100 million
the magnitude and frequency of flooding can be changed significantly by human activities such as:
clearing forests, building cities, and constructing damns.
Who was the most influential greek philosopher?
Problems and issues addressed by geology include
Natural hazards, resources, world population growth, and environmental issues
the belief that earth's ladscapes had been shaped primarily by great catastrophes.
Science assumes the natural world is
__________ and ___________
consistent and predictable
Scientific method involves
Gathering facts through observations and the formulation of hypotheses and theories
Earth’s four spheres
Solid Earth
Any size group of interacting parts that form a complex whole
Open vs. closed systems
Negative feedback
maintains the status quo
Positive feedback
enhances or drives changes
The Earth system is powered by the Sun that drives external processes in the
At Earth’s surface
The Earth system is also powered by
Earth's interior
Nebular hypothesis
proposes that the bodies of our solar system evolved from an enormous rotating cloud called the solar nebula.
solar nebula is composed of
hydrogen and helium
Nebula began to contract about
5 billion years ago
Formation of Earth’s layered structure:
_____ sank to the center
_________ rose to produce a primitive crust
________________ established the three basic divisions of Earth’s interior
Primitive atmosphere evolved from _____ in Earth’s interior
Molten rock
Chemical segregation
Layers defined by composition
Layers defined by physical properties
Inner and Outer Core
Earth’s surface
Mountain belts
The stable interior
Mountain belts
Most prominent feature of continents
The stable interior
Also called a craton – composed of shields and stable platforms
Continental margins
Includes the continental shelf, continental slope, and the continental rise
Deep-ocean basins
Abyssal plains
Oceanic trenches
Ocean Basins
Continental margins
Deep-ocean basins
Oceanic ridge system
Oceanic ridge system
Most prominent topographic feature on Earth
Composed of igneous rock that has been fractured and uplifted
Basic rock types
Igneous rocks
Sedimentary rocks
Metamorphic rocks
Igneous rocks
Cooling and solidification of magma (molten rock)
Examples include granite and basalt
Sedimentary rocks
Accumulate in layers at Earth’s surface
Sediments are derived from weathering of preexisting rocks
Examples include sandstone and limestone
Metamorphic rocks
Formed by “changing” preexisting igneous, sedimentary or other metamorphic rocks
Driving forces are increased heat and pressure
Examples include gneiss and marble
The Rock Cycle: One of Earth’s subsystems
The loop that involves the processes by which one rock changes to another
Illustrates the various processes and paths as earth materials change both on the surface and inside the Earth
theory of plate tectonics
provided geologists with the first comprehensive model of Earth's internal workings.
a dynamic mass of water that is continually on the move, evaporating from the oceans to the atmosphere, precipitating to the land, and running back to the ocean again.
A life-giving gaseous envelope. Thin and tenuous.
Includes all life on Earth
Solid Earth
Lies beneath the atmosphere and the ocean
Earth Science System
to understand our planet scientists learn how land water air and life are interconnected
open systems
most natural systems--both energy and matter flow into and out of the system
closed system
energy moves freely in and out of the system but matter never enters or leaves it.
Thin, rocky outer skin is generally divided into oceanic and continental crust. Oceanic is composed of dark igneous rock basalt. Continental consists if many rock types.
The rocks of the ____ crust are younger and more dense than ______ rocks
oceanic, continental
a solid, rocky shell that extends to a depth of 2900 kilometers
composition of the core is thought to be an iron-nickel alloy with minor amounts of oxygen, silicon, and sulfur--elements that readily form compounds with iron.
Inner core
a sphere having a radius of 1216 kilometers. Despite its higher temperature, the material in the inner core is stronger thant the outer core and behaves like a solid.
outer core
a liquid layer 2270 kilometers thick. It is the convective flow of metallic iron within this zone that generates earth's magnetic feild.