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62 Cards in this Set

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Soil Creep

Consists of a very gradual downhill movement of soil & regolith. Can only be recognized by indirect evidence. Super slow.


Form of creep that is largely restricted to high latitude and high elevation ("soil flowage")

What is a good facilitator of mass wasting?


Why is clay a good facilitator of mass wasting?

Clay absorbs water and becomes a very slippery and mobile substance. Can be set in motion by rainfall or earthquake shock.


Disintegration wearing away and removal of rock material. Implies a lowering of continental surfaces.

Weathering occurs first.

Which mass wasting movement does not associate itself with gravity?


What is the best climate for mass wasting/movement to occur?

Heavy rain

Describe Bedrock

Bedrock - solid rock underlying loose deposits such as soil or alluvium.

*Important effect of mechanical weathering is to expose bedrock to the forces of chemical weathering, & shows how effective chemical weathering is.

Chemical Weathering relies most on what substance?



Curved layers peeling off bedrock

Talus Slopes

Debris is added to the slope, the slope adjusts to reestablish the angle.

Talus Cone

Debris collected on the bottom from falling off the slope

What happens to water when it freezes that makes it a major agent of mechanical weathering?

Water seeps into the rocks and as it freezes, it breaks the rock into smaller pieces.

Expands by Volume

Perennial Stream

Humid Regions -> Permanent

Intermittent Stream

More Arid -> Seasonal Streams that flow for only part of the year

Ephemeral Stream

Only carry water during or immediately after a rain

Exotic Stream

Flows into a dry region, bringing the water from somewhere else

Oxbow Lakes

Formed when a stream channel shifts through lateral erosion and cuts a new channel across it's neck, & the old loop gets cut off.


Any stream-deposited sedimentary material

Largest With a Delta


Largest without a Delta


First Order Stream

Stream without tributaries

Most numerous

Second Order Stream

2 first order streams unite

Third Order Stream

Joining of 2 second order streams


Smaller particles are moved along with the general stream flow in a series of jumps/bounces


Coarser pieces roll or slide along the streambed

Stream Discharge

Volume of flow of a stream

Affect erosive effectiveness of a stream

Flow Speed -> governed by gradient (slope angle) Steeper = Faster

Shape of the channel -> Narrower = Faster

Volume of the flow -> More Water = Faster

Natural Levees

Slightly higher ground fringing a stream channel in a flood plain; formed by deposition during flood time

Yazoo Stream

A tributary unable to enter the main stream because of natural levees along the main stream.

Flows parallel to a large/main stream

Splash Erosion

Impact of a raindrop causes material to be loosened

Sheet Erosion

Water flows across it as a thin sheet, transporting materials already loosened by splash erosion

Terminal Moraine

Ridge of till that marks the outermost limit of glacial advance.

Maximum extent of a glacier

Recessional Moraine

Glacial deposit of till formed during a pause in the retreat of the ice margin

Ground Moraine

Formed when large quantities of till are laid down from underneath the glacier rather than from its edge

Neve (Firn)

Snow granules that have become packed and begin to coalesce due to compression, achieving a density about half as great as that of water

Zone of Ablation

Lower portion of a glacier where there is a net annual loss of ice due to melting and sublimation

Zone of Accumulation

Upper portion of a glacier where there is a greater annual accumulation of ice than there is wastage

Equilibrium Line

A Theoretical line separating the ablation zone and accumulation zone of a glacier along which accumulation exactly balances ablation.

Glacial Erratics

Outsize boulder included in the glacial till, which may be different from the local bedrock

Continental Ice Sheets

Smooth & Round (reshape) the terrain

Mountain Glaciers

Steepen Slopes & increase local relief

Earth has been deglaciating for...

2 1/2 million years

Average speed of movement of glaciers

Centimeters per day

Roche Moutonnees

Glacial landform produced when a bedrock hill or knob is overridden by moving ice


Broad amphitheater hollowed out at the uppermost head of a glacial valley

Glacial Abrasion

Bedrock is worn down by the rock debris being dragged along in the moving ice

Glacial scouring by bedrock embedded by ice

Contemporary Ice Sheets Cover...

10% of Earth's land surface

What would happen if all the ice in Antarctica were to melt?

The sea level would rise significantly.

Divergent Plate Boundary

Location where 2 lithosphere plates spread apart.

2 plates may diverge from one another

Ex: Great East African Rift Valley

Convergent Plate Boundary

Location where 2 lithosphere plates collide

Converge toward one another

Ex: Andes range in South America & Cascades in NW North America

Transform Plate Boundary

2 Plates slipping past one another laterally

Ex: San Andreas Fault in California. Between Pacific and North American Plates

Crater Lake, Oregon

Walls were weakened & collapsed as enormous volumes of pyroclastic material were ejected from the Volcano

Flood Basalt

Large-scale outpouring of basaltic lava that may cover an extensive area of Earth's surface

Columnar Basalt

Lava flow cools uniformly, it contracts & forms a distinctive pattern of vertical joints, leaving hexagonal columns

Evidence used to verify seafloor spreading:

Paleomagetism - Studying paleomagnetic data from a portion of the midocean ridge system

Ocean Floor Cores - Sea-bottom sediments were analyzed

Pacific Ring of Fire

Rim of Pacific ocean basin due to widespread volcanic & seismic activity; associated with lithospheric plate boundaries (Transform & Divergent)

Continental Drift/Pangea

Continents were originally together in a massive super continent, & then broke apart into smaller pieces.

Proposed by Alfred Wegener

Mantle Plumes

Midplate volcanic activity develops over narrow plumes of heated material rising through the mantle.

Ex: Hawaiian Islands, Yellowstone, Iceland, & Galapagos Islands


Produced by shock waves resulting from a sudden displacement along a fault, or from the movement of magma, or sudden ground subsidence


Location on the surface directly above the center of fault rupture during an Earthquake

Why do glaciers carve U-Shaped Valleys?

Because they flowed down pre-existing river or V-shaped valley during the last glaciation