SSHS Physical Geology Master List flashcards |

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Asthenosphere

A region of Earth's outer shell beneath the lithosphere. The asthenosphere is of indeterminate thickness and behaves plastically. (Begin Chapter 1)

continental drift

A concept suggesting that continents move over Earth's surface.

convergent boundary

A boundary between two plates that are moving toward each other.

core

The central zone of Earth.

crust

The outer layer of rock, forming a thin skin over Earth's surface.

data

Observations or measurements used by scientists to test hypotheses.

divergent boundary

Boundary separating two plates moving away from each other.

equilibrium

Material is in equilibrium if it is adjusted to the physical and chemical conditions of its environment so that it does not change or alter with time.

erosion

The physical removal of rock by an agent such as running water, glacial ice, or wind.

hypothesis

A tentative and testable theory. Usually written as an if/then statement.

igneous rock

A rock formed or apparently formed from solidification of magma.

isostatic adjustment

Concept of vertical movement of sections of Earth's crust to achieve balance or equilibrium.

lithosphere

The rigid outer shell of Earth, 70 to 125 or more kilometers thick.

magma

Molten rock, usually mostly silica. The liquid may contain dissolved gases as well as some solid minerals.

mantle

A thick shell of rock that separates Earth's crust above from the core below.

metamorphic rock

A rock produced by metamorphism.

mid-oceanic ridge

A giant mountain range that lies under the ocean and extends around the world.

plate tectonics

A theory that Earth's surface is divided into a few large, thick plates that are slowly moving and changing in size. Intense geologic activity occurs at the plate boundaries.

scientific method

A means of gaining knowledge through objective procedures.

sediment

Loose, solid particles that can originate by (1) weathering and erosion of preexisting rocks, (2) chemical precipitation from solution, usually in water, and (3) secretion by organisms.

sedimentary rock

Rock that has formed from (1) lithification of any type of sediment, (2) precipitation from solution, or (3) consolidation of the remains of plants or animals.

subduction zone

Elongate region in which subduction takes place.

tectonic forces

Forces generated from within Earth that result in uplift, movement, or deformation of part of Earth's crust.

theory

An explanation for observed phenomena that has a high possibility of being true.

transform boundary

Boundary between two plates that are sliding past each other. (End Chapter 1)

Amphibole group

Mineral group in which all members are double chain silicates. (Begin Chapter 2)

atom

Smallest possible particle of an element that retains the properties of that element.

atomic mass number

The total number of neutrons and protons in an atom.

atomic number

The total number of protons in an atom.

atomic weight

The sum of the weight of the subatomic particles in an average atom of an element, given in atomic mass units.

biotite

Iron/magnesium bearing mica.

bonding

Attachment of an atom to one or more adjacent atoms.

calcite

Mineral with the formula CaCO3.

chain silicate structure

Silicate structure in which two of each tetrahedron's oxygen ions are shared with adjacent tetrahedrons, resulting in a chain of tetrahedrons.

clay mineral group

Collective term for several clay minerals.

cleavage

The ability of a mineral to break along preferred planes.

covalent bonding

Bonding due to the sharing of electrons by adjacent atoms.

crystal form

Arrangement of various faces on a crystal in a definite geometric relationship to one another.

crystalline

Describing a substance in which the atoms are arranged in a regular, repeating, orderly pattern.

density

Weight per given volume of a substance.

earthy luster

A luster giving a substance the appearance of unglazed pottery.

electron

A single, negative electric charge that contributes virtually no mass to an atom.

element

A substance that cannot be broken down to other substances by ordinary chemical methods. Each atom of an element possesses the same number of protons.

feldspar group

Group of most common minerals of Earth's crust. All feldspars contain silicon, aluminum, and oxygen and may contain potassium, calcium, and sodium.

ferromagnesian mineral

Iron/magnesium-bearing mineral, such as augite, hornblende, olivine, or biotite.

fracture

The way a substance breaks where not controlled by cleavage.

framework silicate structure

Crystal structure in which all four oxygen ions of a silica tetrahedron are shared by adjacent ions.

glassy (vitreous) luster

A luster that gives a substance a glazed, porcelainlike appearance.

hardness

The relative ease or difficulty with which a smooth surface of a mineral can be scratched; commonly measured by Mohs' scale.

ion

An electrically charged atom or group of atoms.

ionic bonding

Bonding due to the attraction between positively charged ions and negatively charged ions.

isolated silicate structure

Silicate minerals that are structured so that none of the oxygen atoms are shared by silica tetrahedrons.

isotope

Atoms (of the same element) that have different numbers of neutrons but the same number of protons.

luster

The quality and intensity of light reflected from the surface of a mineral.

magnetite

iron oxide that is attracted to a magnet.

metallic luster

Luster giving a substance the appearance of being made of metal.

mica group

Group of minerals with a sheet silicate structure.

mineral

A naturally occurring, crystalline solid that has a specific chemical composition.

Mohs'

hardness scale Scale on which ten minerals are designated as standards of hardness.

muscovite

Transparent or white mica that lacks iron and magnesium.

neutron

A subatomic particle that contributes mass to an atom and is electrically neutral.

nonmetallic luster

Luster that gives a substance the appearance of being made of something other than metal (e.g., glassy).

nucleus

Protons and neutrons form the nucleus of an atom. Although the nucleus occupies an extremely tiny fraction of the volume of the entire atom, practically all the mass of the atom is concentrated in the nucleus.

olivine

A ferromagnesian mineral with the formula (Fe, Mg)2SiO4.

ore mineral

A mineral of commercial value.

plagioclase feldspar

A feldspar containing sodium and/or calcium in addition to aluminum, silicon, and oxygen.

potassium (orthoclase) feldspar

A feldspar with the formula KAlSi3O8.

proton

A subatomic particle that contributes mass and a single positive electrical charge to an atom.

pyroxene group

Mineral group, all members of which are single chain silicates.

quartz

Mineral with the formula SiO2.

sheet silicate structure

Crystal structure in which each silica tetrahedron shares three oxygen ions.

silica

A term used for oxygen plus silicon.

silicates

A substance that contains silica as part of its chemical formula.

silicon-oxygen tetrahedron

Four-sided, pyramidal object that visually represents the four oxygen atoms surrounding a silicon atom; the basic building block of silicate minerals. Also called a silica tetrahedron or a silicon tetrahedron.

specific gravity

The ratio of the mass of a substance to the mass of an equal volume of water, determined at a specified temperature.

streak

Color of a pulverized substance; a useful property for mineral identification.

striations

On minerals, extremely straight, parallel lines. (End Chapter 2)

Andesite

Fine-grained igneous rock of intermediate composition. Up to half of the rock is plagioclase feldspar with the rest being ferromagnesian minerals. (Begin Chapter 3)

basalt

A fine-grained, mafic, igneous rock composed predominantly of ferromagnesian minerals and with lesser amounts of calcium-rich plagioclase feldspar.

batholith

A large discordant pluton with an outcropping area greater than 100 square kilometers.

Bowen's reaction series

The sequence in which minerals crystallize from a cooling basaltic magma.

chill zone

In an intrusion, the finer-grained rock adjacent to a contact with country rock.

coarse-grained rock

Rock in which most of the grains are larger than 1 millimeter (igneous) or 2 millimeters (sedimentary).

contact

Boundary surface between two different rock types or ages of rocks.

country rock

Any rock that was older than and intruded by an igneous body.

crystal settling

The process whereby the minerals that crystallize at a high temperature in a cooling magma move downward in the magma chamber because they are denser than the magma.

diaper

Bodies of rock (e.g., rock salt) or magma that ascend within Earth's interior because they are less dense than the surrounding rock.

differentiation

Separation of different ingredients from an originally homogeneous mixture.

dike

A tabular, discordant intrusive structure.

diorite

Coarse-grained igneous rock of intermediate composition. Up to half of the rock is plagioclase feldspar and the rest is ferromagnesian minerals.

extrusive rock

Any igneous rock that forms at Earth's surface, whether it solidifies directly from a lava flow or is pyroclastic.

fine-grained rock

A rock in which most of the mineral grains are less than one millimeter across (igneous) or less than 1/16 mm (sedimentary).

gabbro

A mafic, coarse-grained igneous rock composed predominantly of ferromagnesian minerals and with lesser amounts of calcium-rich plagioclase feldspar.

geothermal gradient

Rate of temperature increase associated with increasing depth beneath the surface of Earth (normally about 25ยฐC/km).

granite

A felsic, coarse-grained, intrusive igneous rock containing quartz and composed mostly of potassium- and sodium-rich feldspars.

igneous rock

A rock formed or apparently formed from solidification of magma.

intermediate

Rock with a chemical content between felsic and mafic compositions.

intrusion (intrusive structure)

A body of intrusive rock classified on the basis of size, shape, and relationship to surrounding rocks.

intrusive rock

Rock that appears to have crystallized from magma emplaced in surrounding rock.

lava

Magma on Earth's surface.

mafic

Silica-deficient igneous rock with a relatively high content of magnesium, iron, and calcium.

magma

Molten rock, usually mostly silica. The liquid may contain dissolved gases as well as some solid minerals.

mantle plume

Narrow column of hot mantle rock that rises and spreads radially outward.

peridotite

An ultramafic rock composed primarily of the mineral olivine.

pluton

An igneous body that crystallized deep underground.

plutonic rock

Igneous rock formed at great depth.

rhyolite

A fine-grained, felsic, igneous rock made up mostly of feldspar and quartz.

rock

Naturally formed, consolidated material composed of grains of one or more minerals. (There are a few exceptions to this definition.

rock cycle

A theoretical concept relating tectonism, erosion, and various rock-forming processes to the common rock types.

silicic (felsic)

Silica-rich igneous rock or magma with a relatively high content of potassium and sodium.

sill

A tabular intrusive structure concordant with the country rock.

stock

A small discordant pluton with an outcropping area of less than 100 square kilometers.

texture

For igneous rocks, refers to the size of mineral crystals in the rock.

ultramafic rock

Rock composed entirely or almost entirely of ferromagnesian minerals.

volcanic neck

An intrusive structure that apparently represents magma that solidified within the throat of a volcano.

xenolith Fragment

of rock distinct from the igneous rock in which it is enclosed. (End Chapter 3)

andesite

Fine-grained igneous rock of intermediate composition. Up to half of the rock is plagioclase feldspar with the rest being ferromagnesian minerals. (Begin Chapter 4)

basalt

A fine-grained, mafic, igneous rock composed predominantly of ferromagnesian minerals and with lesser amounts of calcium-rich plagioclase feldspar.

block

Large angular pyroclast.

bomb

Large spindle- or lens-shaped pyroclast.

caldera

A volcanic depression much larger than the original crater.

cinder cone

A volcano constructed of loose rock fragments ejected from a central vent.

circum-Pacific belt

Major belt around the edge of the Pacific Ocean on which most composite volcanoes are located and where many earthquakes occur.

columnar structure (columnar jointing)

Volcanic rock in parallel, usually vertical columns, mostly six-sided; also called columnar jointing.

composite volcano (stratovolcano)

A volcano constructed of alternating layers of pyroclastics and rock solidified from lava flows.

crater

A basinlike depression over a vent at the summit of a volcanic cone.

extrusive rock

Any igneous rock that forms at Earth's surface, whether it solidifies directly from a lava flow or is pyroclastic.

fine-grained rock

A rock in which most of the mineral grains are less than one millimeter across.

flank eruption

An eruption in which lava erupts out of a vent on the side of a volcano.

intermediate rock

Rock with a chemical content between felsic and mafic compositions.

lava

Magma on Earth's surface.

lava flows

Outporuing of lava extruded to Earth's surface.

mafic rock

Silica-deficient igneous rock with a relatively high content of magnesium, iron, and calcium.

magma

Molten rock, usually mostly silica. The liquid may contain dissolved gases as well as some solid minerals.

Mediterranean belt

A major concentration of earthquakes and composite volcanoes that runs through the Mediterranean Sea, crosses the Mideast and the Himalaya, and passes through the East Indies.

obsidian

Volcanic glass.

phenocryst

Any of the large crystals in porphyritic igneous rock.

pillow structure (pillow basalts)

Rocks, generally basalt, formed in pillow shaped masses fitting closely together; caused by underwater lava flows.

plateau basalts

Layers of basalt flows that have built up to great thicknesses.

porphyritic rock

An igneous rock in which large crystals are enclosed in a matrix (or ground mass) of much finer-grained minerals or obsidian.

pumice

A frothy volcanic glass.

pyroclastic flow

Turbulent mixture of pyroclastics and gases flowing down the flank of a volcano.

pyroclast

Fragment of rock formed by volcanic explosion.

rhyolite

A fine-grained, felsic, igneous rock made up mostly of feldspar and quartz.

shield volcano

Broad, gently sloping cone constructed of solidified lava flows.

silicic (felsic)

Silica-rich igneous rock or magma with a relatively high content of potassium and sodium.

texture

For igneous rocks, refers to the size of mineral crystals in the rock.

tuff

A rock formed from fine-grained pyroclastic particles (ash and dust).

vent

The opening in Earth's surface through which a volcanic eruption takes place.

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