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69 Cards in this Set

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Geological Principles: Uniformitarianism

Processes operating at the present are the same processes that have operated in the past.

Geological Principles: Original Horizontality

Beds of sediment deposited in water were formed as horizontal of nearly horizontal layers. Normal for most sedimentary rocks.

Geological Principles: Superposition

The layers of undistributed sedimentary rocks get younger going from bottom up. Oldest--> youngest.

Geological Principles: Principle of Lateral Continuity

Usually sediments will accumulate as continuous sheets in an area. Subsequent erosion can remove materials making them discontinuous.

Geological Principles: Cross-Cutting Relationship

The disruption (folding/tilting) is younger that the original layering of the rocks.

Geological Principles: Principle of Fossil Succession

Fossils are the preserved remains or traces of organisms from the past.

Geological Principles: Inconclusions

Fragments of rock unit that are found within another rock unit.

Stratigraphic Column

A vertical cross-section where the rock layers are divided into stratigraphic fragments.


Rock layers that are deposited over time mainly without interruptions are said to be conformable beds. (GAP IN TIME)

Unconformities- Three Types

1. Angular

Where the tilted beds underlies a horizontal bed.

Unconformities- Three Types

2. Non-conformity

Where a break in time occurs between older metamorphic or igneous rocks and younger sedimentary rocks.

Unconformities- Three Types

3. Disconformity

Where a gap in time is not readily apparent with horizontal beds on either side.

Metamorphic Rock

Are formed by the transformation of pre-existing rock by high pressure, temperature, or chemically active fluids.

Foliated Rocks

Occur when there is pressure and the composition of the rock includes minerals such as mica. Platy mineral, layered look.

Non-Foliated Rocks

Occur when the pressure is low or not a factor or the composition of the rocks does not include platy minerals such a mica. Marble.


The changes in size or form of a rock that occurs when subjected to forces greater than its strength.


A force is any influence that causes a free body to undergo an acceleration.


A type of stress.

Differential Stress

Describes when stress is unequally applied.

Compositional Stress

Occurs with collisions when plate margins come together, causes folding and some faulting.

Tensional Stress

When plate margins or rocks are pulled apart. Results in faulting.

Shear Stress

Slippage, rock surfaces of plates sliding past each other. Stress that acts parallel to a surface.

Deformation is Depedent on?

Speed- Slow speed, the rock deforms elastically and can snap back to original shape.

Rock Type- Some are brittle, some can bend.

Location- Often fractures occur in rocks near the surface with low confining pressure and temp.

Strike and Dip Box

Water flows down an inclined surface parallel to the dip. The strike is always 90' to the dip.


Angle of the inclined surface from horizontal (45')


The compass bearing of a horizontal surface when intersects an inclined surface.


The upfolded parts of the rock layers (arch).


The down folded parts of the rock layer (trough).


Fractures along which there has been some movement.

Hanging Wall

The wall directly above the fault line.

Foot Wall

The wall directly below the fault line.

Fault Surface (PLANE)

The fracture surface between one block and another along which movement occurs.


Origin of the earthquake, the point within the crust where movement first occurred.

Body Waves

Travel through the earths interior. P-waves (primary) push waves, and S-waves (secondary) up and down.

Surface Waves

Travel through the lithosphere. Love waves and Rayleigh waves. Form from unexpended P and S waves


Push waves, compression waves, the first to be detected at a recording station. Velocity 4-10km/sec. Transmit through solid of fluid material.


Shear waves, a shearing motion only goes through rock material. Velocity 2-5km/sec.

Mercalli Intensity Scale

Perceptions by people near the epicenter, therefore is subjective. has 12 degrees of intensity.

Richter Scale

Based on the maximum amplitude of seismic waves (P/S) and to distance.

Movement Magnitude (Mw)

Expresses the total energy released over the entire fault zone and the volume of rock involved.

Six Volcanos/Eruption Types

1. Flood Basalts

Made of basaltic lava. Very fluid, ejected from a fissure, and the low viscosity lava floods over the land.

Six Volcanos/Eruption Types

2. Shield Volcanos

Largest Volcanos. Form from basalt, gentle slopes (5'-12'). Eruptions via fissures and vents.

Six Volcanos/Eruption Types

3. Cinder Cones

A small volcano cone. The slope angle is approx. 24'-32' to the horizontal.

Six Volcanos/Eruption Types

4. Composite Cones or Stratovolcanos

Intermediate in size, variable slope angles.

Six Volcanos/Eruption Types

5. Caldera

A volcanic crater that develops from the explosion and collapse of a composite volcano.

Six Volcanos/Eruption Types

6. Other

Lava Domes- Lava flows quickly and piles up at vent.

Splatter Cones- Very small.

Volcanic Plugs- Lava cools and plugs the vent.

Weathering Processes

1. Frost Wedging

Block fields surface with angular blocks likely due to weathering.

Weathering Processes

2. Thermal Expansion

Heating and cooling results in differential expansion and contraction. Stresses the rock and eventually breaks the bonds within the rocks.

Weathering Processes

3. Salt Crystal Growth

Occurs in arid regions, and marine coastlines.

Weathering Processes

4. Plant Wedging

Seed exploits crack in rock as root grows it exerts force on surrounding rock.

Six Main Weathering Processes

1. Dissolution

Dissolving of solid rock material in water. Not a permanent process.

Six Main Weathering Processes

2. Carbonation

Water and Co2 combine to form a weak acid that is effective on certain rock groups.

Six Main Weathering Processes

3. Hydration

The absorption of water molecules in the mineral molecules. Results in swelling of rock and disruption of structure.

Six Main Weathering Processes

4. Hydrolysis

The absorption of water by a rock to form a new material.

Six Main Weathering Processes

5. Oxidation

Formation of rust.

Six Main Weathering Processes

6. Chelation

Rocks decomposed by the action of organic acids produced by organisms.


Soil = f (CLORPT) + HI Climate, organisms, relief, parent material, time, and human impact.

Zone of Leaching

Removal and transportation of soil mineral in suspension and/or in solution within the soil by downward or lateral movement of water.

Zone of Accumulation

Where ion and clays accumulate.


Depositional processes of soil material that has been transported from one horizon to another.

Mass Wasting

Based on rate of movement, type of material, and type of movement.

Mass Wasting Movement

1. Creep

Slowest type of movement by gravity of any type of material. Very widespread, imperceptible.

Mass Wasting Movement

2. Flow

Materials on a slope becomes saturated with water, from heavy rain/snow melt and material is liquified leading to fluid deformation.

Mass Wasting Movement

3. Slide (slip/slump)

Occurs on a very steep slope where materials slide along a well defined shear zone.

Mass Wasting Movement

4. Fall

Free fall of materials detached from steep surfaces (cliffs), little contact with face once launched, so reaches high speeds.

Geological Time Scale

Geological events are placed into a chronological (absolute time) and hierarchical framework (relative time).

Geological Time Periods

Pretty Cold Oysters Seldom Develop Coloured Pearls, Their Juices Congeal Too Quickly

Pre-cambiran, cambrian, ordovician, silurian, devonian (develop), carboniferous, permian, triassic, jurassic, cretaceous, tertiary (mammals), quaternary.

Absolute Age

Actual age/ time in years (carbon dating).

Relative Age Dating

The relative order of events within a sequence.