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Dictionary of Geology.doc

Dictionary of Geology.doc



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Published by: sivasamandy on Jan 15, 2009
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Dictionary of Geologic Terms
A B C D E F G H I J  L M N O P Q  S T U V W X Y Z #
- A -
Aa: A blocky and fragmented form of lava occurring in flows with fissured and angular surfaces.A-horizon: The uppermost layer of a soil, containing organic material and leachedminerals.Algal mat: A layered communal growth of algae observed in fossils an in present daytidal zones associated with carbonate sedimentation.Alkali metal: A strongly basic metal like potassium or sodium.Alluvial fan: A low, cone shaped deposit of terrestrial sediment formed where a streamundergoes an abrupt reduction of slope.Alluvium: Unconsolidated terrestrial sediment composed of sorted or unsorted sand,gravel, and clay that has been deposited by water.Angle of repose: The steepest slope angle in which particular sediment will lie withoutcascading down.Angstrom: A length of 10 to the minus tenth meter or one hundred millionth of acentimeter.Angular unconformity: An unconformity in which the bedding planes of the rocks aboveand below are not parallel.Anthracite: The most highly metamorphosed form of coal, containing 92 to 98 percent of fixed carbon. It is black, hard, and glassy.Aquifer: A permeable formation that stores and transmits groundwater in sufficientquantity to supply wells.
Arkose: A variety of sandstone containing abundant feldspar and quartz, frequently inangular, poorly sorted grains.Arroyo: A steep-sided and flat-bottomed gulley in an arid region that is occupied by astream only intermittently, after rains.Artesian well: A well that penetrates an aquiclude to reach an aquifer containing water under pressure. Thus water in the well rises above the surrounding water table.Astrobleme: A circular erosional feature that has been ascribed to the impact of ameteorite or comet.Atmosphere (unit): A unit of pressure equal to 101,325 newtons per square meter, or about 14.7 pounds per square inch.Atoll: A continuous or broken circle of coral reef and low coral islands surrounding acentral lagoon.
- B -
Backwash: The return flow of water down a beach after a wave has broken.Banded iron ore: A sediment consisting of layers of chert alternating with bands of ferriciron oxides (hematite and limonite) in valuable concentrations.Bankfull stage: The height of water in a stream that just corresponds to the level of thesurrounding floodplain.Bar: A unit of pressure equal to 10 to the sixth dynes/square centimeter; approximatelyone atmosphere.Bar (stream): An accumulation of sediment, usually sandy, which forms at the borders or in the channels of streams or offshore from a beach.Barchan: A crescent-shaped sand dune moving across a clean surface with its convex faceupwind and its concave slip face downwind.Bar-finger sand: An elongated lens of sand deposited during the growth of a distributaryin a delta. The bar at the distributary mouth is the growing segment of the bar finger.Barrier island: A long, narrow island parallel to the shore, composed of sand and built bywave action.
Basalt: A fine-grained, dark, mafic igneous rock composed largely of plagioclase feldspar and pyroxene.Base-level: The level below which a stream cannot erode; usually sea level sometimeslocally the level of a lake or resistant formation.Basement: The oldest rocks recognized in a given area, a complex of metamorphic andigneous rocks that underlies all the sedimentary formations. Usually Precambrian or Paleozoic in age.Basic rock: Any igneous rock containing mafic minerals rich in iron and magnesium, butcontaining no quartz and little sodium rich plagioclase feldspar.Basin: In tectonics, a circular, syncline-like depression of strata. In sedimentology, thesite of accumulation of a large thickness of sediments.Batholith: A great irregular mass of coarse-grained igneous rock with an exposed surfaceof more than 100 square kilometers, which has either intruded the country rock or beenderived from it through metamorphism.Bathymetry: The study and mapping of sea-floor topography.Bauxite: A rock composed primarily of hydrous aluminum oxides and formed byweathering in tropical areas with good drainage; a major ore of aluminum.Bedding: A characteristic of sedimentary rocks in which parallel planar surfacesseparating different grain sizes or compositions indicate successive depositional surfacesthat existed at the time of sedimentation.Bed-load: The sediment that a stream moves along the bottom of its channel by rollingand bouncing.Beta-particle: An electron emitted with high energy and velocity from a nucleusundergoing radioactive decay.B-horizon: The intermediate layer in a soil, situated below the A-horizon and consistingof clays and oxides. Also called the zone of accumulation.Biochemical precipitate: A sediment, especially of limestone or iron, formed fromelements extracted from seawater by living organisms.Bituminous coal: A soft coal formed by an intermediate degree of metamorphism andcontaining 15 to 20 percent volatiles. The most common grade of coal.Block fault: A structure formed when the crust is divided into blocks of differentelevation by a set of normal faults.

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