Geology Chapter 1 - GEOL-G103-01I Earth Sci Matls & Proc 201330 - Essentials of Geology, Eleventh Ed

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Geology Chapter 1 - GEOL-G103-01I Earth Sci Matls & Proc 201330 - Essentials of Geology, Eleventh Ed
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2013-07-03 17:57:56
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IPFW Distance Learning Course - Summer Session II - 2013
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  1. What is geology?
    From the Greek geo, “Earth,” and logos, “discourse.” It is the science that pursues an understanding of planet Earth. Geology is traditionally divided into two broad areas—physical and historical.
  2. What is physical geology?
    It examines the materials composing Earth and seeks to understand the many processes that operate beneath and upon its surface.
  3. What is historical geology?
    Its purpose is to understand the origin of Earth and its development through time. Thus, it strives to establish a chronological arrangement of the multitude of physical and biological changes that have occurred in the geologic past.
  4. What is the doctrine of catastrophism?
    The belief that the earth has been shaped primarily by great catastrophes which were caused by forces that no longer operate.
  5. What is uniformitarianism?
    The belief that that the physical, chemical, and biological laws that operate today also operated in the geologic past. In other words, the forces and processes that we observe shaping our planet today have been at work for a very long time.
  6. Who is James Hutton?
    One of the founders of modern geology. He is responsible for the principle of uniformitarianism.
  7. What is erosion?
    Processes that wear land away.
  8. Who was Archbishop James Ussher?
    He was responsible for the theory of catastrophism.
  9. How old is the earth?
    4.6 billion years old.
  10. What is relative dating?
    The process of placing events in their proper sequence or order without knowing their age in years.
  11. What is the law of superposition?
    This rule applies to materials that were deposited at Earth's surface. The law simply states that the youngest layer is on top, and the oldest layer is on the bottom (assuming that nothing has turned the layers upside down, which sometimes happens). Stated another way, a layer is older than the ones above it and younger than the ones below.
  12. What are fossils?
    The remains or traces of prehistoric life.
  13. What is the principle of fossil succession?
    The belief that fossil organisms succeed one another in a definite and determinable order, and therefore anytime period can be recognized by its fossil content.
  14. What is a hypothesis?
    A tentative or untested explanation.
  15. What is a theory?
    A well tested and highly accepted view that the scientific community agrees best explains certain observable facts.
  16. What is scientific method?
    When scientists gather facts through observations and formulate scientific hypotheses and theories.
  17. What are the basic steps to the scientific method?
    • (1) collection of scientific facts(data) through observation and measurement
    • (2) the formulation of questions that relate to the facts and the development of one or more working hypotheses that may answer these questions 
    • (3) development of observations and experiments to test the hypotheses
    • (4) the acceptance, modification, or rejection of the hypotheses based on extensive testing
  18. What is the hydrosphere?
    A dynamic mass of water that is continually on the move, evaporating from the oceans to the atmosphere, precipitating back to the land, and running back to the ocean again.
  19. What is the atmosphere?
    The life-giving gaseous envelope that surrounds the earth.
  20. What is the biosphere?
    The portion of Earth that includes all life.
  21. What is the geosphere?
    The solid portion of Earth that extends from the surface to the center of the planet. It is the largest of the four spheres.
  22. What is Earth system science?
    The study of Earth as a system composed of numerous interacting parts, or subsystems.
  23. What is a system?
    It can be any size group of interacting parts that form a complex whole.
  24. What is a closed system?
    A self-contained system. Although energy may move freely in and out of a close system, matter does not enter or leave the system.
  25. What is an open system?
    A system in which both energy and matter flow into and out of the system.
  26. What is a negative feedback mechanism?
    A mechanism that works to maintain the system as it is or, in other words, to maintain the status quo.
  27. What is a positive feedback mechanism?
    Mechanisms that enhance or drive change.
  28. What is an interface?
    A common boundary where different parts of a system come in contact and interact.
  29. What are minerals?
    Chemical compounds (or sometimes single elements), each with its own composition and physical properties.
  30. What is magma?
    It is molten material that forms inside Earth.
  31. What are igneous rocks and how are they formed?
    They are the resulting rocks from when magma cools and solidifies. This process, called crystallization, may occur either beneath the surface or, following a volcanic eruption, at the surface.
  32. What is sediment?
    The resulting particles that occur when igneous rocks weather and erode away.
  33. What is lithification?
    The conversion process of sediment forming into rock.
  34. What is sedimentary rock?
    The resulting rock that forms from lithification.
  35. What is metamorphic rock?
    The result of sedimentary rock being exposed to high pressure and heat.
  36. What is the nebular theory?
    The theory that states that the bodies of our solar system evolved from an enormous rotating cloud called the solar nebula.
  37. What did the solar nebula consist of?
    Besides the hydrogen and helium atoms generated during the Big Bang, the solar nebula consisted of microscopic dust grains and the ejected matter of long-dead stars. (Nuclear fusion in stars converts hydrogen and helium into the other elements found in the universe)
  38. What is the Earth's crust?
    Earth’s relatively thin, rocky outer skin, is of two different types—continental crust and oceanic crust. Both share the word “crust,” but the similarity ends there. The oceanic crust is roughly 7 kilometers (5 miles) thick and composed of the dark igneous rock basalt. By contrast, the continental crust averages about 35 kilometers (22 miles) thick.
  39. What is the Earth's mantle?
    More than 82 percent of Earth’s volume is contained in the mantle, a solid, rocky shell that extends to a depth of nearly 2900 kilometers (1800 miles). The boundary between the crust and mantle represents a significant change in chemical composition.
  40. What is the upper-mantle?
    The upper mantle extends from the crust-mantle boundary down to a depth of about 660 kilometers(410 miles). The upper mantle can be divided into two different parts. The top portion of the upper mantle is part of the stiff lithosphere, and beneath that is the weaker asthenosphere.
  41. What is the lithosphere?
    The lithosphere (sphere of rock) consists of the entire crust and uppermost mantle and forms Earth’s relatively cool,rigid outer shell. Averaging about 100 kilo-meters in thickness, the lithosphere is more than 250 kilometers thick below the oldest portions of the continents.
  42. What is the asthenosphere?
    Beneath the lithosphere to a depth of about 350 kilometers lies a soft, comparatively weak layer known  as the asthenosphere (“weak sphere”). The top portion of the asthenosphere has a temperature/pressure regime that results in a small amount of melting. Within this weak zone the lithosphere is mechanically detached from the layer below. The result is that the lithosphere is able to move independently of the asthenosphere.
  43. What is the lower mantle?
    The portion of the mantle from a depth of 660 kilometers (nearly 410 miles) to the top of the core, at a depth of 2900 kilometers (1800 miles). Because of an increase in pressure(caused by the weight of the rock above)the mantle gradually strengthens with depth. Despite their strength however, the rocks within the lower mantle are very hot and capable of very gradual flow.
  44. What is the Earth's core?
    The 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. At the extreme pressure found in the core, this iron-rich material has an average density of nearly 11 g/cm3 and approaches 14 times the density of water at Earth’s center.The core is divided into two regions that exhibit very different mechanical strengths. It is made of up the inner core and outer core.
  45. What is the outer core?
    The liquid layer 2270 kilometers (1410 miles) thick. It is the movement of metallic iron within this zone that generates Earth’s magnetic field.
  46. What is the inner core?
    It is a sphere having a radius of 1216 kilometers (754 miles). Despite its higher temperature, the iron in the inner core is solid due to the immense pressures that exist in the center of the planet.

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