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Geology Glossary

B

bed
a layer of sediment or sedimentary rock
bed
a layer of sediment or sedimentary rock
boulder
a loose rock larger than 256 millimeters (10 inches)
boulder
a loose rock larger than 256 millimeters (10 inches)

C

cleavage
the shape that occurs when a rock is split cleanly
cobble
loose particles of rock or mineral that are the size of
cobble
loose particles of rock or mineral that are the size of gravel larger than pebbles, but smaller than boulders
conglomerate
sedimentary rock made of rounded pebbles held in together with a matrix
conglomerate
sedimentary rock made of rounded pebbles held in together with a matrix
core
the huge mass in the very center of the Earth made mostly of iron and nickel. It is divided into an outer core and inner core
core
the huge mass in the very center of the Earth made mostly of iron and nickel. It is divided into an outer core and inner core
crust
the solid outermost part of the Earth. The crust is all the land you see and the land on the ocean bottom
crust
the solid outermost part of the Earth. The crust is all the land you see and the land on the ocean bottom.
crystal
a solid in which the particles are arranged in a pattern to make shapes with flat surfaces
crystal
a solid in which the particles are arranged in a pattern to make shapes with flat surfaces
crystal shape
crystals often form regular geometric shapes (cubes, hexagonals, etc.) which can aid in their identification

E

earthquake
sudden release of energy built up in an area on the crust or upper mantle sudden ground motion or vibration of the Earth
earthquake
sudden release of energy built up in an area on the crust or upper mantle sudden ground motion or vibration of the Earth
element
substances which cannot be broken down into other substances
element
substances which cannot be broken down into other substances
epicenter
the location on the surface of the earth just above the focus of an earthquake
erosion
the movement of weathered rocks and soil
erosion
the movement of weathered rocks and soil
extrusive rock
volcanic rock which solidifies on the surface of the earth rather than inside of the earth

F

fault
a crack in the earth's crust where earthquakes often occur
focus
the location under the earth's surface where an earthquake occurs
formation
a body of rock with special that allow geologists to map, describe, and name it
formation
a body of rock with special that allow geologists to map, describe, and name it
fossil
something that has lasted from a living thing that died long ago. They can be body parts, which have turned into stone or animal tracks
fossil
something that has lasted from a living thing that died long ago. They can be body parts, that have turned into stone or animal tracks.

G

geologist
a scientist who studies geology
geologist
a scientist who studies geology
geology
the science of the rocks and minerals that compose the earth, of its structure, and of its history
geology
the science of the rocks and minerals that compose the earth, of its structure, and of its history
gravel
larger than pebbles, but smaller than boulders
gravel
all sedimentary particles larger than 2 millimeters is called gravel. Gravel is subdivided into pebbles, cobbles, and boulders.
gravel
all sedimentary particles larger than 2 millimeters is called gravel. Gravel is subdivided into pebbles, cobbles, and boulders.

H

hardness
the Mohs Hardness Scale to compares the hardness of any mineral on a scale of 1 (the softest) to 10 (the hardest).

I

igneous rock
rock formed when molten rock has cooled and solidified
igneous rock
rock formed when molten rock has cooled and solidified
intrusive rock
igneous rock that forms when magma cools below the Earth's surface
intrusive rock
igneous rock that forms when magma cools below the Earth's surface

L

lava
molten rock that flows out onto the Earth's surface
lava
molten rock that flows out onto the Earth’s surface
luster
how light reflects off of a rock or mineral

M

magma
molten rock that is located beneath the Earth's surface
magma
molten rock that is located beneath the Earth's surface
magnetism
the naturally-occurring electrical field in some rocks
mantle
the thick layer of very hot, melted rock between the crust and the core of the Earth
mantle
the thick layer of very hot, melted rock between the crust and the core of the Earth
matrix
fine-grained material surrounding larger grains in a sedimentary rock
matrix
fine-grained material surrounding larger grains in a sedimentary rock
metamorphic rock
rocks that are changed from sedimentary, igneous or other metamorphic rocks by intense pressure and heat
metamorphic rock
rocks that are changed from sedimentary, igneous or other metamorphic rocks by intense pressure and heat
mineral
a non-living, solid material with particles arranged in a repeating pattern called a crystal. A mineral is usually a combination of 2 or more elements. A mineral cannot be broken down into any other substance.
mineral
a non-living, solid material with particles arranged in a repeating pattern called a crystal. A mineral is usually a combination of 2 or more elements. A mineral cannot be broken down into any other substance.
mineralogist
a scientist who studies the identification, properties, and distribution of minerals
mineralogist
a scientist who studies the identification, properties, and distribution of minerals
Moh's scale
a scale used to measure the hardness of a mineral
Moh's scale
a scale used to measure the hardness of a mineral
molten
melted
molten
melted

P

pebbles
Loose particles of rock or mineral that range in size from 2 - 64 millimeters in diameter. Pebbles are the smallest type of gravel.
pebbles
Loose particles of rock or mineral that range in size from 2 - 64 millimeters in diameter. Pebbles are the smallest type of gravel.

R

Richter Scale
a measurement scale for identifying the strength of an earthquake
rock
a combination of 2 or more minerals which have been joined either by heat, temperature, pressure, or chemical changes
rock
a combination of 2 or more minerals which have been joined either by heat, temperature, pressure, or chemical changes
rock cycle
the process in which igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks are changed over time
rock cycle
the process in which igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks are changed over time

S

sand
loose particles of rock or mineral that range in size from 0.0625 - 2.0 millimeters in diameter
sand
loose particles of rock or mineral that range in size from 0.0625
sediment
material that comes from the weathering of rock or from fragments of plants and animals that settles to the bottom of rivers, lakes, and seas
sediment
material that comes from the weathering of rock or from from fragments of plants and animals that settles to the bottom of rivers, lakes, and seas
sedimentary rock
rock formed from rock types that have weathered, cemented, and/or squeezed together
sedimentary rock
rock formed from rock types that have weathered, cemented, and/or Photo of aRocksqueezed together
sedimentation
the process of breaking up rocks into smaller fine pieces that sink to the bottom of rivers, lakes, and seas
sedimentation
the process of breaking up rocks into smaller fine pieces that sink to the bottom of rivers, lakes, and seas
seismologist
a scientist who studies the waves created by an earthquake
shale
soft rock formed from layers of mud soil - very small weathered fragments of rock mixed with decaying plant or animal material.
shale
soft rock formed from layers of mud soil
strata
layers, or bands, in rocks
strata
layers, or bands, in rocks
streak
the color that shows when a mineral is scratched on the surface

V

volcanic
igneous rock that forms when magma cools on the Earth's surface
volcanic
igneous rock that forms when magma cools on the Earth's surface

W

weathering
the breaking of rocks by water, snow, ice, wind, chemicals, gravity or plant roots
weathering
the breaking of rocks by water, snow, ice, wind, chemicals, gravity or plant roots

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