GEOL 1001 FINAL (LSU, ACHIMM).

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Geologist

1 / 451

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vocabulary from prelude and chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 18, & 19

452 Terms

1

Geologist

A scientist who specializes in studying the Earth

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2

Geology (geoscience)

The study of the Earth, including our planet’s composition, behavior, and history

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3

Lithosphere

The relatively rigid, nonflowable, outer 100-150 km-thick layer of the Earth, constituting the crust and the top part of the mantle

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4

Asthenosphere

The layer of the mantle that lies between 100-150 km and 350 km deep; the asthenosphere is relatively soft and can flow when acted on by force

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5

Plate

One of about 20 distinct pieces of the relatively rigid lithosphere

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6

Theory of plate tectonics

the theory that the outer layer of the Earth (the lithosphere) consists of separate plates that move with respect to one another

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7

earth system

The interacting assembly of physical and biological reservoirs and phenomena involving the solid Earth, the hydrosphere, the atmosphere, and the biosphere

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8

Internal process

A process in the Earth System, such as plate motion, mountain building, or volcanism, ultimately caused by the Earth’s internal heat

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9

External process

A geomorphologic process—such as downslope movement, erosion, or deposition—that is the consequence of gravity or of the interaction between solid Earth and its fluid envelope (air and water); energy for these processes comes from gravity and sunlight

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10

Gravity

the attractive force that one mass exerts on another; the magnitude depends on the size of the objects and the distance between them

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11

Geologic time

The span of time since the formation of the Earth

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12

geologic time scale

A scale that describes the intervals of the geologic time

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13

Science

The systematic study of natural phenomena via observation, computation, experiment, and modeling

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14

Scientific method

A sequence of steps for systematically analyzing scientific problems in a way that leads to verifiable results

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15

Hypothesis

An idea that has the potential to explain a phenomenon; a hypothesis must be rigorously tested if it is to eventually become a theory

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16

Shatter cones

Small, cone-shaped fractures formed by the shock of a meteorite impact

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17

Theory

A scientific idea supported by an abundance of evidence that has passed many tests and failed none

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18

Scientific law

A concise statement that completely describes a natural relationship or phenomenon; it does not, however, explain the phenomenon

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19

Cosmology

The study of the overall structure of the Universe

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20

Geocentric model

An Ancient Greek idea suggesting that the Earth sat motionless in the center of the Universe while stars and other planets and the Sun orbited around it

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21

Heliocentric model

An idea proposed by Greek philosophers around 250 BCE suggesting that all heavenly objects including the Earth orbited the Sun

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22

Element

A material consisting entirely of one kind of atom; elements cannot be subdivided or changed by chemical reactions

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23

atom

The smallest piece of an element that has the properties of the element; it consists of a nucleus surrounded by an electron cloud

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24

Atomic number

The number of protons in the nucleus of an atom

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25

atomic mass

The amount of matter in an atom; roughly, the sum of the number of protons plus the number of neutrons in the nucleus

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26

Molecule

The smallest piece of a compound that has the properties of the compound; consists of 2 or more atoms attached by chemical bonds

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27

Gas

Matter that consists of atoms or molecules that are not attached to each other; fills the container that contains it

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28

Liquid

Matter that can flow to conform to the shape of the container that holds it

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29

Solid

A material that can maintain its shape indefinitely

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30

Energy

The capacity to do work

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31

Universe

All of the space and all of the matter and energy within it

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32

star

An object in the Universe in which fusion reactions occur, producing vast amounts of energy

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33

Galaxy

An immense system of hundreds of billions of stars

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34

Solar system

Our Sun and the materials that orbit it (including planets, moons, asteroids, Kuiper Belt objects, and Oort Cloud objects)

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35

Planet

an object that orbits a star, is roughly spherical, and has cleated its neighborhood of other objects

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36

Ecliptic

the plane defined by a planet’s orbit

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37

Terrestrial planets

Planets that are of comparable size and character to the Earth and consist of a metallic core surrounded by a rock mantle

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38

Giant planets

The four outer, or Jovian, planers of our Solar System, which are significantly larger than the rest of the planets and consist largely of gas and/or ice

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39

Moon

A sizable solid body locked in orbit around a planet

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40

Asteroid

One of the fragments of solid material, left over from a planet formation or produced by collision of planetesimals, that resides between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter

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41

Comet

A ball of ice and dust, probably remaining from the formation of the Solar System, that orbits the Sun

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42

Expanding Universe Theory

The theory that the whole Universe must be expanding because galaxies in every direction seem to be moving away from us

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43

Big bang theory

A theory suggested by scientists in which a cataclysmic explosion represents the formation of the Universe; before this event, all matter and all energy were packed into one volume-less point

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44

Nuclear fusion

The process by which the nuclei of atoms fuse together, thereby creating new, larger atoms

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45

Big bang Nucleosynthesis

The formation of new atomic nuclei (mostly hydrogen and helium) during the Big Bang

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46

Nebula

A cloud of gas or dust in space

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47

Vacuum

Space that contains very little matter in a given volume (e.g. a region in which air has been removed)

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48

Thermal energy

The total kinetic energy in a material due to the vibration and movement of atoms in the material

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49

Heat

Thermal energy resulting from the movement of molecules

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50

Temperature

A measure of the hotness or coldness of a material

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51

Accretion disk

A pancake-shaped accumulation of matter that forms as a nebula and then transforms into a star and its associated planets; the bulbous central zone of the accretion disk become the star

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52

Protostar

A dense body of gas that is collapsing inward because of gravitational forces and that may eventually become a star

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53

Supernova

A short-lived, very bright object in space that results from the cataclysmic explosion marking the death of a very large star; the explosion ejects large quantities of matter into space to form new nebulae

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54

Stellar Nucleosynthesis

The production of new, larger atoms by fusion reactions in stars; the process generates more massive elements that were not produced by the Big Bang

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55

stellar wind

The stream of atoms emitted from a star into space

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56

Nebular theory of planet formation

The concept that planets grow out of rings of gas, dust, and ice, surrounding a newborn star

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57

Protoplanetary disk

The plate-shaped region of gas and dust, surrounding the newborn Sun, from which the planets formed

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58

volatiles (volatile materials)

Elements or compounds such as H2O and CO2 that evaporate at relatively low temperatures and can exist in gaseous forms at the Earth’s surface

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59

Refractory materials

Substances that have a relatively high melting point and tend to exist in solid form

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60

Planetesimal

Tiny, solid pieces of rock and metal that collect in a planetary nebula and eventually accumulate to form a planet

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61

Protoplanet

A body that has green by the accumulation of planetesimals but has not yet become a planet

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62

Differentiation (of a planet)

A process early in a planet’s history during which dense iron alloy melted and sank downward to form the core, leaving less dense mantle behind

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63

Magnetic filed

The region affected by the force emanating from a magnet

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64

Dipole

A magnetic field with a north and south pole, like that of a bar magnet

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65

Magnetosphere

The region protected from the electrically charged particles of the solar winds by the Earth’s magnetic field

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66

Earth system

the interacting assembly of physical and biological reservoirs and phenomena involving the solid earth, the hydrosphere, the atmosphere, and the biosphere

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67

Groundwater

Water that resides under the surface of the earth, mostly in pores or cracks of rock or sediment

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68

Hydrosphere

The earth’s water, including surface water (lakes, rivers, and oceans), groundwater, and liquid water in the atmosphere

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69

Cryosphere

The realm of the earth system that consists of frozen water (ice); it includes glaciers, sea ice, and permafrost

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70

Geosphere

In the context of the earth system, the solid part of the earth from the surface to the center

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71

Topography

Variations in elevation

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72

Bathymetry

Variations in depth

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73

Earth materials

a general term for the great variety of substances that make up this planet

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74

Organic chemical

A carbon-containing compound that occurs in living organisms, or that resembles such compounds; it consists of carbon atoms bonded to hydrogen atoms along with varying amounts of oxygen, nitrogen, and other chemicals

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75

Mineral

A naturally occurring solid inorganic substance with a definable chemical composition and an internal structure characterized by an orderly arrangement of atoms, ions, or molecules in a lattice; most are inorganic

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76

Crystal

A single, continuous piece of a mineral bounded by flat surfaces that formed naturally as the mineral grew

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77

Glass

A solid in which atoms are not arranged in an orderly pattern

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78

Melt

Molten (liquid) rock

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79

Rock

A coherent, naturally occurring solid, consisting of an aggregate of minerals or a mass of glass

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80

Grain

A fragment of a mineral crystals or of a rock

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81

Sediment

An accumulation of loose mineral grains, such as boulders, pebbles, sand, silt, or mud, that are not cemented together

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82

Metal

a solid composed almost entirely of atoms of metallic elements; it is generally opaque, shiny, smooth, malleable, and can conduct electricity

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83

Silicate rock

rock composed of silicate minerals

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84

Biosphere

The region of the earth and atmosphere inhabited by life; this region stretches from a few km below the earth’s surface to a few km above

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85

meteor

A streak of bright, glowing, gas created as a meteoroid vaporizes in the atmosphere due to friction

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86

meteorite

A piece of rock or metal alloy that fell from space and landed on the earth

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87

Crust

The rock that makes up the outermost layer of the earth

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88

Moho

The seismic-velocity discontinuity that defines the boundary between the earths crust and mantle

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89

Mantle

The thick layer of rock below the earths crust and above the core

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90

Core

The dense, iron-rich center of the earth

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91

Continental drift

The hypothesis that continents have moved and are still moving slowly across the Earth’s surface

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92

Mid-ocean ridge

A 2 km high submarine mountain belt that forms along a divergent oceanic plate boundary

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93

Trench

A deep, elongated trough bordering a volcanic arc; a trench defines the trace of a convergent plate boundary

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94

Volcanic arc

A curving chain of active volcanoes formed adjacent to a convergent plate boundary

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95

Fracture zone

A narrow band of vertical fractures in the ocean floor; lie roughly at right angles to a mid-ocean ridge, and the actively slipping part is a transform fault

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96

Seamount

An isolated submarine mountain

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97

Seismic belts

The relatively narrow strips of crust on the earth at which most earthquakes occur

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98

Seafloor spreading

the gradual widening of an ocean basin as new oceanic crust forms at a mid-ocean ridge axis and then moves away from the axis

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99

Paleomagnetism

The record of ancient magnetism preserved in rock

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100

Magnetic declination

The angle between the direction a compass needle points at a given location and the direction of true north

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