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123 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
Geology is defined as
the study of the Earth
The earth's radius is
3,965 miles at the equator and 3,950 miles at the poles.
The earth's shape is referred to as
slightly oblate spheroid
The central part of the planet is known as the ________
The core is made up of ______ ______ parts: the _________ core which is believed to be __________ and the ________ core which is believed to be _________.
A __________ is a mineral that contains silicon and oxygen.
Like the core, the mantle consists of two parts: the _________ mantle and the mantle _____________
The _______ makes up the thin veneer that covers the Earth's surface.
The crust and the top part of the upper mantle are known collectively as the _____________, while the lower portion of the upper mantle is called the _________________
What is a mineral?
is any inorganic substance that naturally occurs in crystalline form and possesses a small yet definite range of chemical compositions and physical properties.
Each mineral can be distinguished by its own set of distinguishing characteristics, which include the following:
Cleavage & fracture
Crystal shape
Specific gravity
Name the most common inorganic minerals:
Feldspar consists of
aluminum silicates in combination with potassium, sodium, calcium, or barium.
Pyroxene consists of
Silicate minerals that contain calcium, sodium, magnesium, iron, or aluminum.
Amphiboles are very complex
Silicate minerals that contain calcium, sodium, magnesium, aluminum, an/or iron ions.
Where is Feldspar commonly found?
They are present in many igneous rocks.
Where is Pyroxene commonly found?
They are often found in igneous rocks.
Where is Amphibole commonly found?
The commonly exist both in igneous and metamorphic rocks.
What are rocks?
They are natural aggregates or mixtures of solid matter composed of one or more minerals.
Name the 3 types of rock

*Remeber SIM*
Describe Igneous rocks
Are those that form from the cooling and solidification of magma, or molten rock.
Name the two types of igneous rocks
Describe Intrusive Igneous Rock
It is where magma forces itself into existing subterranean rocks and solidifies in these rock.
Give an example of an Intrusive Igneous Rock
Describe Extrusive Igneous Rock
When molten material flows up from within a planet and solidifies on its surface.
Describe Sedimentary Rocks
Are those that form from the fragmented remains of other rocks.
What is Detritus?
The fragmented remains of other rocks.
Detrial material is fused together to form sedimentary rocks through what process?
What are the 3 different possible processes of lithification?
1.) Cemented together by substances such as Calcium Carbonate, silica, and iron oxides.
2.) Extreme pressure
3.) Chemical precipatation ex. Limestone forms when clacium carbonate precipitates out of seawater
Describe Metamorphic Rocks
Are those that result when high temperatures and pressure alter existing rocks.
What are the 3 process Metamorphic rocks form from?
1.) Thermal or contact metamorphism
2.) Regional metamorphism
3.) Dynamic metamorphism
Describe thermal metamorphism
Occurs when rocks of any kind come in contact with igneous intrusions and are thereby converted by heat alone.
Describe Regional metamorhpism
Takes place when existing rocks are changed by way of the heat and pressure generated by the movement of the Earth's crust.
Describe Dynamic metamorphism
Occurs when rocks are broken into pieces as a result of pressure and friction.
Limestone is morphed into
Granite is morphed into
Quartz and sandstone is morphed into
Shale or clay is morphed into
What is a fault?
is a fracture in Earth's crust along which there is differential movement; in other words, the rock on one side of the break moves in a different direction that the rock on the other side of the break
Faults can be placed in 3 categories name them
Normal fault
reverse fault
strike-slip/lateral fault
Describe a normal fault
The rock on one side of the split moves down and away from the other side of the fracture. Normal faults are generally caused by tension or the pulling apart of Earth's crust
Describe a reverse fault
The rock on one side of the break slips up and over the rock on the opposite side of the break. Reverse faults are formed as a result of compressional forces.
Describe a strike-slip or lateral fault
The rock on one side of the fracture slips past the rock on the other side of the fracture in a horizontal manner.
Joints are related to faults but
have no movement on either side of the break.
What is an Earthquake
It is the shaking of the ground that results from the abrupt release of the strain along a fault.
Earthquakes release their energy in the form of ________
Waves (earthquake) are commonly grouped into 3 types, name them
Primary waves
Secondary or S waves
Surface waves
Which wave is most destructive, in an earthquake?
Secondary or S waves
What is used to measure seismic waves?
Name the chart that seismic activity is measured on
Name the most commonly used earthquake rating system
Richter scale
What is weathering?
Is the process by which rocks of any kind are destroyed and reduced to detritus.
Name the two type of weathering
What is Mechanical weathering?
is caused by events such as the expansion of freezing water, the beating of waves, and the growth of plant roots.
What is Chemical weathering?
It alters both the physical and mineralogical composition of rocks. This process is often caused by the action of various naturally occurring acids.
What is porosity?
is a ratio that considers the volume of the small spaces or pores within a given sediment.
What is permeability?
or the ease with which it can transmit fluids.
The permeability of a given substance is also known as its
hydraulic conductivity.
Soil possesses how many layers?
Soil layers are called
Name the 3 soil horizons
Describe A horizon
consists mostly of organic debris, although it may contain small amounts of clay and sand.
Describe B horizon
Is largely make up of clay and sand.
Describe C horizon
is mainly comprised of weathered rock and other similar parent materials
What is erosion?
is the movement of material by way of water, ice, wind, and gravity
What is Alluvium?
Sediment that is carried by water, and frequently deposited in areas such as floodplains and river bends.
What are levees?
Left behind during times of flood or overflow they are large amounts of sediment that appear as low embankments along the edges of rivers and streams
________ is the amount of sediment within a given stream or river
Sediment or Load can be divided into 3 parts
1.) Dissolved Load
2.) Suspended Load
3.) Bed Load
Describe Dissolved Load
is made up of various elements and salts that have dissolved into the water from nearby rocks. On average, the dissolved load accounts for between 9 and 10 percent of a river's total load.
Describe Suspended Load
Consist of fine detrial materials that slowly settle out of the water. Many rivers and streams appear muddy because of these sediments, which generally mount to about two-thirds of their total load.
Describe Bed Load
is composed of large particles that are dragged along the bottom of a stream or river by the action of the moving water.
A ________ ___________ or river is one that on average possesses just the right slope and velocity to carry its total load.
graded stream
A _______ ______ and rivers are those that have slope and velocity insufficient to carry their large sediment loads.
braided stream
An ________ ________ is a fan-shaped deposit that forms at the point where a river or stream suddenly experiences a rapid decrease in slope.
Alluvial fan
What is solifluction?
The process by which frozen ground thaws from the top down and the resulting water-saturated material flows downslope.
What is permafrost?
The grounds subsurface remains permanently frozen. This is seen in the extreme northern and southern latitudes.
What is frost heaving?
Another form of erosion associated with the freezing process in which rocks are force to Earth's surface by the freezing and subsequent expansion of moist soil.
What are glacier?
Vast sheets or rivers of ice that slowly move from their source regions to areas of lower elevations
Name the two types of glaciers
Mountain glaciers
Continental Glaciers
Where are mountain glaciers located?
In Mountain valleys
What is a continental glacier?
A glacier that covers areas of over one million square miles.
What is glacial till?
Large amounts of clay, silt, sand, gravel, and rock accumulated by glaciers due to their erosive motion.
When this till is deposited directly from glacial ice or runoff it becomes known as
glacial drift
What are moraines?
Are features formed by the glacial deposition of entrained materials.
Name the types of moraines.
End/Terminal moraines
Recessional moraines
Lateral moraines
Describe an End/Terminal moraine
Are ridges that form at the downslope ends of glaciers as they melt.
Describe a Recessional moraine
Are crescent-shaped ridges created by glacial ices as it periodically stops during its retreat.
Describe Lateral moraines
Are pockets of glacial drift typically found in hill and mountain valleys.
What is caliche?
Water from rain and melted snow rises from the desert subsurface and evaporates, it leaves behind calcium carbonate, this salt mixes with surface sand and soils to form a natural cement, which helps protect the desert from further erosion.
What are the stages of the hydrologic cycle?
What is the driving force behind the hydrologic cycle?
The Sun
The combined activity of evaporation and transpiration is known as
The hydrologic cycle does what?
Cleanses the water of impurities such as sediments, bacteria, and noxious chemicals.
What is groundwater?
Is any water found below Earth's surface
What is phreatic or soil water
Any water found above the saturated zone.
Although groundwater makes up only 0.64% of the planet's total water resources, it comprises ______ of its available drinking water.
Define Aquifer
Is a geological formation that yields groundwater in practical amounts.
Define water table
Is the subterranean level below which the pores of the ground are water-saturated and above which the are unsaturated.
Name the basic units of time used in the geological classification system
Describe & Date the Precambrian Eon
4.6 bya - 570 mya
Earth was cooling
Atmosphere developing
Life sparse
40 known fossil locations
(mostly stomatolites)
4 mountain building episodes
Name & Date the two Era's on the Precambrian Eon
Archeozaic Era 4.6 bya - 2.5 bya
Proterozoic Era 2.5 mya - 570 mya
Describe the Archeozoic Era
Fossil rare
Rocks igneous and metamorphic
Most creatures had no skeleton or shell
Describe the Proterozoic Era
Simple plants & worms
No life on land
Describe & Date the Phanerozoic Eon
570 mya - present During this time period, the amt and variety of life forms exploded. Many life forms also disappeared during several extinctions
Name & Date the Eras of the Phanerozoic Eon
1.)Paleozoic Era
570 mya - 230 mya
2.)Mesozoic Era
230 mya - 65 mya
3.)Cenozoic Era
(Age of Mammals)
65 mya - present
Describe & Date the Paleozoic Era
570 mya- 230 mya Land & ocean plants appeared during the Pale Era. Simple animals were also developing and evolving. This era started with and abundance of sea life and ended with the extinction of many marine animals.
Name & Date the Periods of the Paleozoic Era
1.) Cambrian Period
554 mya - 490 mya
2.) Ordovician Period
490 mya - 443 mya
3.) Silurian Period
443 mya - 418 mya
4.) Devonian Period
418 mya - 362 mya
5.) Carboniferous Period
362 mya - 290 mya
6.) Permian Period
290 mya - 251 mya
Describe & Date the Cambrian Period of the Paleozoic Era.
554 mya - 490 mya Animals with hard parts; lots of tilobites and brachipods
Describe & Date the Ordovician Period of the Paleozoic Era.
490 mya - 443 mya Increase in the numbers of species; graptolites are important index fossil for this period; early vertebrates appeared.
Describe & Date the Silurian Period of the Paleozoic Era.
443 mya - 418 mya Eurysterids thrived in the ocean; plants and animals such as spiders, millipedes, insects and scorpions started to live on land.
Describe & Date the Devonian Period of the Paleozoic Era.
418 mya - 362 mya Coral reefs reach their peak; fish (jawless covered in plates) started to appear, lungfish (which gave rise to amphibians) appeared; land plants started to increase in variety (spores, seed-producing, trees with bark & conifers)
Describe & Date the Carboniferous Period of the Paleozoic Era
362 mya - 290 mya The development of crinoids & foraminfer were the high points. The coal beds of Penn, Ohio, and W. Virginia and Indiana & Illinois were created during this period. Reptiles also appeared, insects thrived, especially cock roaches.
Describe & Date the Permian Period of the Paleozoic Era
290 mya - 251 mya Mostly a dry climate, except for a major ice age.
Describe & Date the Mesozoic Era of the Phaerozoic Eon
230 mya - 65 mya This is the time of the dinosaurs. They thrived during this time and ruled the Earth. They disappeared, for the most part at the end of this Era. More than 50% of the plant & animal species were wiped out during the extinction of 65 mya. The climate during this time was mild and the poles were free of ice.
Name & Date the Periods of the Mesozoic Era.
1.) Triassic
251 mya - 206 mya
2.) Jurassic
206 mya - 142 mya
3.) Cretaceous
142 mya - 65 mya
Describe & Date the Triassic Period of the Mesozoic Era
251 mya - 206 mya Small dinosaurs evolved; in the ocean ammonites appeared (index fossil)
Describe & Date the Jurassic Period of the Mesozoic Era
206 mya - 142 mya Birds and Mammals appeared.
Describe & Date the Cretaceous Period of the Mesozoic Era
142 mya - 65 mya Large dinosaurs ruled the land; flowering plants and decidiuous trees appeared.
Describe & Date the Cenozoic Era of the Phaerozoic Eon
65 mya - present (Age of Mammals) Several ice ages, seperated by warm periods, were recorded during this time. Humans and modern plants evolved during this time.
Name & Date the Periods of the Cenozoic Era of the Phanerozoic Eon
65 mya - 1.6 mya
1.6 mya - present
Describe & Date the Tertiary Period of the Cenozoic Era
65 mya - 1.6 mya grasses appeared; grazing and carnivorous mammals flourished; birds evolved
Describe & Date the Quarternary Period of the Cenozoic Era
1.6 mya - present Humans arrived on Earth; some species became extinct from human interference (hunting, elimination of breeding grounds)