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Physical Geology is the science of the earth, the materials of which it is composed, and the processes that are acting upon them.
Geomorphological Processes: Weathering and Erosion
Weathering is the breaking down of rocks, soils and minerals we well as artificial materials through contact with the Earth’s atmosphere, biota and waters. Weathering occurs in situ, or “with no movement”, and thus is different from erosion, which involves the movement of rocks and minerals by agents such as water, ice, snow, wind and gravity. Erosion is the process by which soil and rock are removed from the Earth’s surface by natural processes such as wind or water flow, and then transported and deposited in other locations. There are three main types of weathering:
1. Mechanical Weathering
Mechanical weathering leads to a physical disaggregation of the original rock mass into smaller particles. This can be caused by any one of several natural agents. For example, freezing of water within a crack produces an expanded wedge of ice which forces the walls of the crack apart. Other processes include erosion by ice, wave action at coasts, etc. Exfoliation: It is the process of expansion and contraction of the outer skin of a rock mass as it is heated by the sun and cooled at night in the presence of water.
2. Chemical Weathering
a. Hydration: It is a reaction in which water combines with a rock constituent producing a mineral that has hydroxyl groups (OH) in its structure, the hydroxyl group coming from the water. b. Carbonation: It is a reaction involving carbonic acid and limestone. Carbonic acid is formed when carbon dioxide from the atmosphere dissolves in water. It can then react with limestone (calcite) to produce soluble calcium or sodium bicarbonate. c. Oxidation: In the process of oxidation, oxygen combines with a rock constituent, and in two typical reactions produces new iron-bearing minerals.
3. Biological Weathering
Organic matter in soils is broken down by micro-organisms to give water and either carbon dioxide or methane and small quantities of ammonia and nitric acid. An excessive accumulation of decaying
the force of gravity begins to move it downslope. and turns to ice from the increasing weight of the new snow above it. Types of Glaciers a. Lichens are combinations of fungi and algae and contribute to weathering of rocks. it would raise the sea level about 60 meters (200 feet) and flood many cities in low-lying coastal areas around the world. they can connect with larger valley glaciers. When a glacier reaches a sufficient size and mass. Over 75 percent of this amount is on Antarctica. b.organic matter will consume all the available oxygen and produce a reducing environment. and 10 percent is on Greenland. The older snow compacts. although the precise role that they play in this is uncertain. . The ice spreads out on the flat terrain to form a wide sheet at the mouth of the valley. Valley Glaciers/Alpine Glaciers: Valley glaciers are masses of ice that are restricted to high mountain valleys. c. If the entire Antarctic ice sheet melted. Valley glaciers are common in the mountain ranges of the United States and Canada. sprawling masses of ice that form on land during cooler climatic periods. The remainder occurs in mountain regions across the world. In these circumstance sulphides form and pyrite is usually present. As they move downslope. Geological Agent: Glaciers Glaciers are thick. Glaciers begin to grow when more snow accumulates than is lost through melting during the year. About one-tenth of the land surface on Earth is covered by glaciers today. recrystallizes. Ice sheet exists in Greenland and Antarctica. Piedmont Glaciers: Piedmont glaciers are the forwardmost extension of valley glaciers and form where the ice emerges at the front of the mountain range. Ice Sheets: Ice sheets are associated with continental glaciation and covers large areas of landmass.
scouring out a U shape f. circular hollow formed at the top of a glacial valley by the mass of ice. U shaped valley: Alpine glaciers transform V-shaped valleys made by streams into deeper U-shaped valleys called glacial troughs – the ice is too massive to follow the stream bed and pushes right through.Erosional Features of Glaciers a. Arête: A steep ridge called an arête commonly extends downward from a horn to separate two adjacent glacial valleys. d. Col: Col is the low divide between two cirques produced by glacier erosion of the arête. Horn:A horn is a sharply defined peak that has formed from erosional processes along the rim of the cirque. c. Mass wasting and frost wedging also contribute to the formation of a cirque. Hanging valleys: . e. b. Cirque: Cirque is the steep-sided.
h. Two kinds of end moraines are recognized: terminal and recessional moraines. Depositional Features of Glaciers a. Moraine: Moraines are deposits of till that are left behind when a glacier recedes or that are carried on top of alpine glaciers. Fjords: Fjords are the glacial troughs filled with ocean water. or melting. Boulders that have been carried a considerable distance and then deposited by a glacier are called erratics. An extensive pile of till called an end moraine can build up at the front of the glacier and is typically crescent shaped. Till particles typically range from clay-sized to boulder-sized but can sometimes weight up to thousands of tons. . b. Till: The various unsorted rock debris and sediment that is carried or later deposited by a glacier is called till. A recessional moraine is one that develops at the front of the receding glacier. After retreat. Medial moraines are long ridges of till that result when lateral moraines join as two tributary glaciers merge to form a single glacier. Lateral moraines consist of rock debris and sediment that have worked loose from the walls beside a valley glacier and have built up in ridges along the sides of the glacier.These are the valleys produced by side glaciers entering the main valley glacier. A terminal moraine is the ridge of till that marks the farthest advance of the glacier before it started to recede. g. a series of recessional moraines mark the path of a retreating glacier. Tarn: Tarn is a cirque lake formed when the series of depressions scoured out by an advancing glacier in the underlying bedrock are later filled with water. the hanging valley floor will be above the main valley.
When the ice melts. relating to. d. Erratics:Boulders that have been carried a considerable considerable distance and then deposited by a glacier are called erratics. Kettles: The rapid build-up up of sediments can bury isolated blocks of ice. or peak not covered with ice or snow within (or at the edge of) an ice field or glacier. Outwash Plain: As a glacier melts. mountain. The broad front of outwash associated with an ice sheet is called outwash plain. Nunatak Outwash Plain Esker Kettle .Glacio-fluvial features Glaciofluvial . The sediments deposited by glacial meltwater are called outwash. often rocky rocky element of a ridge. the resultant depression is called a kettle. e. winding ridges of outwash which were deposited in streams flowing though ice caves and tunnels at the base of the glacier. Eskers: Eskers are long. Nunatak: A Nunatak is an exposed. f.of. b. or coming from streams deriving much or all of their water from the melting of a glacier a. ice c. Kames: Kames are steep-sided sided mounds of stratified till those were deposited by meltwater in depressions of openings in the ice. till is released from the ice into the flowing water.
flat bottomed valley with an abrupt ending. until the rock above collapses opening up a steep narrow valley which is then further eroded by the stream running across the impermeable valley floor. steephead or blind valley is a deep. it collects in the open pore spaces between soil particles or in crack and fissures in bedrock. Blind Valley: A steephead valley. narrow. Geologic Activity of Groundwater a. Such valleys arise in limestone or karst landscapes. . d. Natural Bridges f. The process of percolation is called infiltration. Uvula: an elongated depression c. where a layer of permeable rock lies above an impermeable substrate. Cavern: If large areas of limestone are dissolved by the action of groundwater these cavities can become caves or caverns (caves with many interconnected chambers). Karst Topography:Karst topography is an irregular land surface dotted with numerous sinkholes and depressions related to underlying cave systems. Sink: conical depression created by ground water b.Geological Agent: Groundwater Groundwater is derived from rain and melting snow that percolate downward from the surface. e. They are created by a stream flowing within the permeable rock and eroding it from within.
. b. d. Erosional Landforms due to Wind a. Air near the surface is heated and rises. Hamada: Hamada is a barren desert surface of consolidated material that usually consists of exposed bedrock but is sometimes composed of sedimentary material that has been cemented together by salts evaporated rom groundwater. Wind has the ability to transport. b. cooler air comes in to replace hot rising air and this movement of air results in winds. Arid regions have little or no soil moisture to hold rock and mineral fragments. Yardang Rock Pedestal c. Ventifacts: Ventifacts are any bedrock surface or stone that has been abraded or shaped by wind-blown sediment. Pedestal Rock: Wind sculpts stratified rock into pedestals by wind abrasion and weathering.Geological Agent: Wind (Aeolian) Wind is common in arid desert regions because: a. erode and deposit sediments. Yardang: Yardangs are streamlined wind-eroded ridges commonly found in deserts.
Transverse Dunes: They are large fields of dunes that resemble sand ripples on a large scale. c. Barchan Dunes Transverse Dunes Linear Dunes Parabolic Dunes . Barchan Dunes: These are crescent-shaped dunes with the points of the crescents pointing in the downwind direction. Sand dunes form when moving air slows down on the downwind side of an obstacle. d. Millet seed sand Depositional Landforms due to Wind Wind can deposit sediments when its velocity decreases to the point where the particles can no longer be transported. They are common in coastal areas. e. (ii) a steady wind. They form in areas where there is abundant supply of sand and a constant wind direction. Linear Dunes: They are long straight dunes that form in areas with limited sand supply and converging wind directions. rocks or fences to trap some of the sand. b. Sand Dunes: Sand dunes form when there is (i) a ready supply of sand. Parabolic Dunes (Blowout): They are U-shaped dunes with an open end facing upwind. Honey-Comb Structure f. Star Dunes: They are dunes with several arms that form in areas where there are abundant sand and variable wind directions. 1.e. and (iii) some kind of obstacle such as vegetation. a.
They form where the direction of the coast changes. Atolls: Atolls are circular shaped reefs. (Volcano – study from book) . Coral reefs help prevent sediments form washing up and damaging the shoreline. Barrier reefs: They form close to the shoreline but are not connected like fringing reefs. a.Star Dunes Geological Agent: Sea Water Coral Reefs Reefs are massive accumulations of limestone created by reef-building organism with calcite skeletons. Spits: Spits are long. which allow them to secrete calcium carbonate and form coral reefs. narrow ridges of sand running out from the coast. They act as a physical barrier which helps create a healthier. c. If a spit joins one part of the mainland to another it is called a bar. protected coastline habitat. b. which form their exoskeletons. Corals secrete calcium carbonate from their bodies. Since corals remain immobile individual polyps cluster together and form colonies. Coral reefs are physical formations primarily composed of corals which are small invertebrate marine animals. They are usually either connected to mainland or very close to the shore. Bars: Bars are ridges of sand and other material that run roughly parallel to the coast. Fringing reefs: Fringing reefs are comprised of platform-like coral rock.
Petrogenesis is a branch of petrology dealing with the origin and formation of rocks. A mineral is a combination of elements that forms an inorganic. naturally occurring solid of a definite chemical structure. much broader process/study than petrography. The magma may rise up and reach the earth’s . Intense heat at great depths melts metamorphic rocks and produces magma. the temperature and pressure turn them into “metamorphic rocks”. Petrography is the description and systematic classification or rocks. sedimentary and metamorphic rocks. occurrence. structure and history of rocks. aided by the microscopic examination of thin sections. One type of rock slowly changes to another type. Petrography and Petrogenesis Petrology is the study of the origin. Rock and Rock Cycle: Introduction A rock may be defined as an aggregate of minerals. Erosion produces sediment which is transported and deposited into deep basins under the sea.IV – Petrology Introduction: Petrology. Then it hardens to form “sedimentary rocks”. chemical and field data. The Rock Cycle: The rock cycle illustrates the relationship between the three types of rocks that is igneous. If these rocks are deeply buried. It involves a combination of mineralogical.
Igneous Rocks The defining characteristic of igneous rocks is that at one time they were molten and part of magmas or lavas. At the surface. it is termed lava. When magma cools. When magma rises along a deep fault and pours out on the earth’s surface. . Extrusive Rocks are formed. which impart a dark green to black colour. igneous rocks are exposed to weathering and erosion.surface where it cools to form “igneous rocks”. If the heat is completely lost within the depth of the earth while the magma is rising. Magmais a body of molten rock that occurs below the surface of the earth. The Discontinuous Branch: The minerals that form in the discontinuous branch are all ferromagnesian – that is. they contain high percentages of iron and magnesium. The first mineral to crystallize is olivine. and the cycle begins again. The branch is called discontinuous because the minerals form at discrete temperatures and not continuously during cooling. This process of differentiation occurs along two branches: discontinuous and continuous. amphibole and Biotite. followed by pyroxene. then Intrusive Rocks are formed and if heat is lost on the surface (volcanic lava). chemical reactions occur that create a series of different minerals. Magmatic Differentiation and Bowen’s Reaction Series The process of rock formation by the cooling and solidification of molten mobile material ‘magma’ by the crystallization is called magmatism.
who devised it in 1931. Gabbro and Basalt c. Acid Rocks: More than 65% silica. and calcium. E. Extrusive Rock: When magma reaches the earth’s surface. the texture of volcanic rocks are generally fine grained or glassy. Intrusive Rock: Intrusive rocks are formed when magma crystallizes beneath the earth’s surface. Intermediate Rocks: 55% to 65% silica. E. Pirsson and Washington.L. 2. tan. Classification of Igneous Rocks A.The Continuous Branch: The continuous branch is made up of the plagioclase feldspars. Granite 2. Basic Rocks: 45% to 55% silica. On the basis of Silica Content: a.g. The progressions in the series explains why the first lavas from a volcanic vent are rich in iron. Their textures are usually finer grained than those of plutonic rocks but coarser than those of volcanic rocks. Diorite d. and are dark green to black and why the later lavas are lighter colored and contain more quartz. Plutonic Rocks: Rocks crystallized at great depths are called plutonic rocks. As a result the mineral constituents crystallizing from it have time to grow to considerable size giving the rock a coarse grained texture. or whitish. a.g. Hypabyssal Rocks:These rocks are formed when magma solidifies close to the earth’s surface. b. . N. brown. Any magma left over after all these reaction have been completed crystallizes at the lowest temperature as quartz. E. magnesium. B. Bowen discovered these two reaction series and hence known as Bowen’s Reaction Series. This eruption generates extensive lavaflows. The rocks formed due to solidification of lava are called extrusive rocks or volcanic rocks. The first feldspars to form contain the highest amounts of calcium. The CIPW norm calculates mineral composition as if the magma were anhydrous and at low pressure. The calcium/sodium ration in this mineral type changes continuously as the magma cools. As the lava tends to cool and crystallize rapidly. are low in quartz. Ultrabasic Rocks: Less than 45% silica.g. A magma which is deeply buried in the earth’s crust cools slowly with the retention of the volatiles. CIPW Norms:The CIPW norm is named for the four Petrologists – Cross. subsequent feldspars have progressively less calcium and more sodium. Chemical Classification 1.g. Iddings. Mode of Origin/Formation/Occurrence 1. E. it causes a volcanic eruption. peridotite b. These minerals tend to be pink.
Quartz b. Plagioclase c. shape and arrangement of mineral grains in a rock. 2. potassium. The grain size of an igneous rock depends on the rate of cooling of magma. Forms of Igneous Bodies 1. IUGS Classification(IUGS-International Union of Geological Science) a. Examples of these are lavaflows. the coarser is the grain of rock. Intrusive Igneous Bodies: Intrusive igneous bodies are formed by the consolidation of magma at some depth below the earth’s surface. 2. shape of crystals and mutual relation between mineral grains. Colour of Minerals a. slower is the rate of cooling. size of grains. Mineralogical Classification 1. Lopoliths and Laccoliths). In general. b. Extrusive Igneous Bodies: Extrusive igneous rock bodies are formed from magma poured out at the earth’s surface. Mafic Rock: Mafic rocks have about 50 percent silica and high amounts of Fe. Textural Classification “Texture” means the size. sodium and aluminium and contain only small amounts of iron. These are divided into two groups: Discordant Bodies which are cut through the overlying strata (Batholiths. Typical felsic rocks are dacite and rhyolite. Stocks and Dykes) and Concordant Bodies which are those which lie between rock beds (Sills.C. In the study of texture four points are considered – degree of crystallization. . Felsic Rock:Felsic rocks are rich in silica. magnesium and calcium. Felsic magmas are the most viscous because of their high silica content. Mg and Ca and are dark in colour. Orthoclase D.
The detached fragments of parent rocks. Xenolith Xenolith is defined as the relic or remnant of parent materials within the igneous rocks. remain as patches within igneous rocks. Sedimentation Sedimentation refers to the deposition or accumulation of sediments and involves the following steps: . They may be horizontal. Phacolith Phacoliths are crescent shaped bodies of igneous rocks which occupy crests and troughs of folded strata. In sedimentary rocks. Sedimentary Rocks Sedimentary rocks are formed by the process of sedimentation. During movement of magma through the existing rock it melts them on the course of movement. sediments or minerals are randomly oriented and cemented. Dykes are often vertical or steeply inclined. Dyke A dyke is a wall like igneous body that cuts across the strata of the pre-existing rocks. There are clear bed and bedding plane. They are formed when igneous material invades the folded region. Due to the decrease of pressure the magma loses its energy to melt parent rock and remains cooled.Batholith Batholiths are large intrusive igneous bodies which full up huge spaces in the existing rocks by melting them away or keeping them aside when magma moves under high pressure. Laccolith A laccolith is a lens shaped intrusive igneous body which causes the overlying beds to arch in the form of a dome. It has a flat base and a domed top. Sill A sill is a sheet like igneous body which runs parallel to the bedding planes of the pre-existing strata. inclined or vertical depending upon the attitude of strata in which they are intruded. which are not melted completely.
Such changes are called the diagenetic changes and the process is described as Diagenesis. c. many physical and chemical changes take place within the sediments. Lithification: Lithification is a process by which soft and loose sediments are converted into hard and firm rocks. Petrification: Matters are converted into massive and hard type.a. Compaction /Cementation: Compaction occurs when the overlying layers compress the sediments below. Types of Sedimentation Mechanical. As the grains of sediments are pressed closer and closer together. there is considerable reduction in pore space and volume. Diagenesis: During Lithification. b. d. Cementation is caused when water circulates through the pores of coarse grained sediments thus dissolving mineral matter and precipitating it between the grains. Chemical and Biogenic or Organic Mechanical – caused by geological agents Chemical – includes precipitation and accumulation of soluble materials Organic – includes precipitation and accumulation of decomposed parts of organic matters Classification of Sedimentary Rocks Size of Clast Sediment Shape of Clast Sediment Textural Classification of Sedimentary Rocks Clastic Texture Percentage of Sediment Sorting of Sediment Microcrystalline (<20µm) Non-Clastic Texture Macrocrystalline (>20µm) Cryptocrystalline (not distinguished under microscope) Clastic Rocks .
Siltstone Size of sediments is measure in phi-scale: (@ Boys Can’t Pass Good Social Studies Class) 1/16 – 2 mm – Sand 1/16 – 1/256 mm – Silt < 256 mm – Clay > 5 mm – Coarse Grained Texture 1 – 5 mm – Medium Grained Texture < 5 mm – Fine Grained Texture .Clastic Sediments are broken fragments of pre-existing rocks ranging from minute clay particles to very large boulders. Claystone. On the basis of size of sediments in rocks (Diameter of sediments) >256 mm – Boulder 64 – 256 mm – Cobble 16 – 64 mm – Pebble 2 – 16 mm – Gravel Rudaceous or Rudites (2 mm siaed sediments) Conglomerate. the clastic rocks are classified into three groups. Depending upon their size. Breccia Arenaceous or Arenites (2 to 1/16 mm) Sandstone Argillaceous or Cutites (<1/16 mm) Shale. Mudstone.
Pressure – overburden load. Magnetite e. Metamorphism is the process by which pre-existing pre existing rocks are altered or modified into new rocks physically and mineralogically under the influence of pressure. directional arrangement or parallel arrangement. Dolomite b. temperature and chemical reaction (PTX).e. minerals are in preferred orientation i. tectonic process Temperature – magma. Classification of non-clastic clastic rocks on the basis of chemical composition of minerals: minerals a.Clastic Rocks Non clastic rocks include those sedimentary rocks which are formed by chemical precipitation of minerals from water or by accumulation of remains from animals and plants. Ferruginous Rock: Haematite. Evaporites: Gypsum Metamorphic Rocks These rocks are formed by the process of metamorphism.Shape of Clast Sediments Rounded sediments are of round shape Packing of Sediments Openly packed clasts or grains are loosely packed Compactly packed . Siliceous Rock: Chert c. In metamorphic rocks. Phosphate Rock: f. radioactive element and geothermal gradient . Carbonaceous Rock: Coal d.angular shaped sediments Non.clasts are tightly packed Sorting of Sediments Poorly sorted different sized grains Sub-rounded partially or semiround shape Well sorted uniform sized grains Angular . Carbonate Rock: Limestone.
Structures of Metamorphic Rocks a. Cataclastic Metamorphism: Dynamic pressure is the main factor for metamorphism. As this alteration occurs without any deformation. Dynamothermal or Regional Metamorphism:When directed pressure and heat act together in the presence of migrating hydrothermal fluids. . b. 2. Thermal Metamorphism: It is of two types. In this case a new rock is formed partly by the mechanical effects of flow and partly by the growth of new minerals that develop in the direction of flow. E. metamorphism caused due to earth’s movements such as folding and faulting. 3. a.Chemical Reaction – chemically active fluid Types of Metamorphism 1. As temperature decreases away from the intrusion. The zone of contact metamorphic rocks which occurs surrounding the intrusion is called “aureole”. the rocks are metamorphosed over wider areas. Slates. During Metasomatism. are perhaps the best example of a dynamically metamorphosed rock. such as in root regions of Fold Mountains. b. the rocks in the aureole can be divided into concentric zones which may differ greatly in mineral assemblages. a. Contact Metamorphism: This metamorphism is caused due to local heating of rocks by the intrusion of hot igneous bodies nearby. Metasomatism:Metasomatism is a type of contact metamorphism in which much material is added to the rock by the hydrothermal fluids. the composition of the parent rock is changed substantially but its volume remains unchanged. the textures and structures of the original rock are usually preserved. Cataclastic Structure: This structure is found in rocks such as crush breccia and mylonite. Regional metamorphism takes place at great depths.g. This kind of metamorphism is called the regional or Dynamothermal metamorphism. where temperatures and stresses are high. Burial Metamorphism: Static pressure is the main factor for metamorphism. These rocks are formed mainly under the influence of shearing stresses in the upper zones of the earth’s crust. Dynamic Metamorphism: A metamorphism which is associated with high pressure with little increase in temperature is called the dynamic metamorphism. Thus depending upon the degree of alteration. which possess flow cleavage. the outer rocks in the aureole are less intensely metamorphosed than that of the innermost rocks. Harder constituents of rocks are broken into pieces while softer ones are crushed to powder.
b. marbles (calcite dominant). It is the characteristic of rocks such as marbles and quartzites. schist and gneiss. feldspar. Schistose Structure:The rocks in such cases consist of parallel or sub-parallel bands or layers of flaky. gneissosity etc. a. the light and dark minerals may segregate into alternate bands parallel to the schistocity. Classification of Metamorphic Rocks Metamorphic rocks are classified on the basis of texture and structure. The spots are due to the development of bigger crystals of some minerals within the fine grained groundmass. The flaky minerals are either absent or present only in small amounts. This structure is called the Maculose structure. pyroxenes and calcite. E. b. c. etc. schistocity. They are given name mainly on the basis of constituent minerals. E. Non-foliated Rocks: Absence of parallelism in its structural constitution. a spotted rock is formed in areas where incomplete recrystallization takes place.g slates. Foliated Rocks: They show development of conspicuous parallelism in their mineralogical constituents as indicated by rock cleavages like slaty cleavage. A very general classification is based on the presence or absence of the structures indicating parallelism of the constituents. quartzite (quartz dominant). Granulose Structure: Granulose structure is produced due to predominance of equidimensional minerals such as quartz. amphibolite (amphibole group mineral dominant) . e. d. Such a coarse grained metamorphic rock showing banded or streaked appearance is called gneiss and the structure is called the gneissose structure. phyllites. mineralogical composition and mode of origin. Gneissose Structure:In rocks that have been thoroughly recrystallized under conditions of high grade metamorphism. Maculose Structure: When argillaceous rocks are subjected to contact metamorphism. platy or rod-like minerals making it very weak in the direction of parallelism.g. degree of metamorphism.
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