Geological Terms and Phrases

Aeolian: Age: Albite: Allochthonous Allotropy: Alluvium: Amphibole: Andalusite: Andesite: Angular unconformity: a contact in which younger strata overlie an erosion surface on tilted or folded layered rock, angular unconformities imply the following sequence of events from oldest to youngest 1) deposition and lithification of sedimentary rock (or solidification of successive lava flows if the rock is igneous) 2) uplift accompanied by folding or tilting of the layers 3) erosion 4) renewed deposition usually preceded by subsidence on top of the erosion surface Animal attack: disruption or destruction of a rocks’ physical or chemical state by an animal, i.e., animals burrowing or young geologists smashing rocks with a hammer Anorthite: Anticline: Antiform: Aphantic: a texture of rock in which the crystalline constituents are too small to be distinguished with the unaided eye Archean Eon: the geologic eon lasting from approximately 3800-2500 Million Years Ago, MYA Arêtes: Arroyos: Assimilation: the process in which very hot magma melts country rock and assimilates the newly molten material Augite: Aulacogen: Autochthonous: Banded Iron Formation - BIF: Barchan Dune: Basalt: a fine-grained, mafic, igneous rock composed predominantly of ferromagnesian minerals and with lesser amounts of calcium-rich plagioclase feldspar Batholith: a large discordant pluton with an outcropping area greater than 100 square kilometers Bedding plane: a nearly flat surface of deposition separating two layers of rock. A change in grain size or composition of the particles or even a pause during deposition can cause the formation of bedding planes. Benioff Zone: Bentonite: a clay formed from the decomposition of volcanic ash and is largely composed of montmorillonite, a swelling clay that can increase its volume by 8x when it absorbs water Biotite: iron/magnesium bearing mica Bomb: Bowen’s Reaction Series: the sequence in which minerals crystallize from a cooling basaltic magma Breccia: Calcite: a mineral with the formula CaCO3 that is commonly found in shells Caldera: Cambrian: the geologic period from 543-490 MYA

Cement: any chemical that precipitates out of solution into a pore space between grains, thus binding them together, the most common cements are silica, calcite, dolomite and various iron oxides Cenozoic Era: lkhlkhkl, informally known as the age of mammals Chalcopyrite: Chebotarev Sequence: Chert: Cirque: Clay: Cleavage: the ability of a mineral to break, when struck, along preferred directions. QUARTZ HAS NO CLEAVAGE Coarsening Upward Sequence: Concordant: Conglomerate: Contact: Contact/thermal metamorphism: Convergent plate boundary: Correlation: this is just when you determine an age equivalence of rock units, rock units may be correlated within a region, a continent, and even between continents Corundum: Country rock: any older rock into which an igneous body intrudes Craton: Cretaceous Period: the geologic period from 144-65 MYA Crop-out: Cross bedding: Cuesta: Dacite: Dendritic drainage pattern: Density: Devonian Period: the geologic period from 417-354 MYA, also known as the Age of the Fishes Diabase: Diagenesis: the sum total of all physical, chemical, and biological changes that a rock undergoes, post deposition/after it is deposited or laid down, this term describes sedimentary rocks in particular, note that there is no clearly accepted boundary between where diagenesis stops and metamorphism begins Diapir: Differential stress: Differential weathering: a term describing weathering in an area in which rocks of one layer are more resistant than another layer of varying elevation, so a more resistant layer my protrude above a softer, weaker layer beneath it Dike: Diorite: Dip: Disconformity: the contact represents missing rock strata that separates beds that are parallel to one another, typically what happens is that older rocks are eroded away parallel to the bedding plane and renewed deposition later buries he erosion surface. Note, a disconformity is the hardest type of unconformity to detect in the field, because it often appears to be just another sedimentary contact or bedding plane in a sequence of sedimentary rock and rarely is a telltale weathered zone preserved below a disconformity Discordant: Dissolution:

Divergent plate boundary: Dolomite/Dolostone: Drumlin: Ductile: Entisol: Epoch: the geochronologic unit longer than an age and shorter than a period, i.e., the Pleistocene Epoch which was the last ice age Eon: the largest unit of geologic time, immediately above era in the geochronologic hierarchy, also a way of saying 1 billion years Era: the geochronologic unit next in magnitude below an eon Erosion: the picking up or physical removal of rock particles by an agent such as wind, streams, or glaciers Esker: Exfoliation & Sheeting: the two forms of mechanical weathering caused by a pressure release or unloading, sheeting is when cracks form in a rock due to the release of overburden or pressure and the outside of the rock expands faster than the inside of the rock so cracks form parallel to the outer part of the rock and when these layers peel off like layers of an onion then it is called exfoliation. An example of sheeting and exfoliation would be what happens to granite when tremendous pressure is released and layers break off like at Stone Mountain in Georgia Exsolution Lamellae: Extrusive rock: Fault: a fracture in rock or in the earth where the two sides move relative to one another Feldspar: Felsic or Silicic: igneous rocks that are silica rich (65% or more SiO2), the most abundant of which is rhyolite Fining Upward Sequence: Fissile/Fissility: Fluorite: Fluvial: Fold: Foliation: Formation: Foot wall: the underlying body of rock or earth that lies beneath another body that has moved relative to it in an inclined fault plane Fracture: the way a substance breaks where not controlled by cleavage Friable: Frost wedging: the seepage of water into cracks in rocks and then freezing and expanding thus prying the rocks apart Gabbro: Galena: Garnet: Glauconite: Gneiss: Goethite: Graben: Graded bedding: Granite: Gypsum: Habit:

Hanging wall: the overlying body of rock or earth that lies on top of another body that has moved relative to it in an inclined fault plane Hardness: Hardpan: Hematite: Hinge Line: Hogback: Horn: Hornblende: Horst: Hydrolysis: Hydrothermal rock: Index fossil: a fossil from a very short-lived, geographically widespread species known to exist during a specific period of geologic time. Index fossils allow geologists to correlate the rock in which it is found with all other rock layers in the world containing the fossil. Most fossils are of little use as index fossils because they lived and thrived for too long of a period of time, i.e., sharks for example have been around since the Devonian Igneous: Inclusion: Indurated: Intermediate rocks: igneous rocks whose silica content is between that of mafic and felsic, the most common of which is andesite Intrusive contact: Intrusive rock: I-Type Granitoid: Joint: a fracture in rock where the two sides do not move relative to one another Jurassic Period: the geologic period from 206-144 MYA, informally known as the age of cycads Kaolinite: Karst topography: Kettle Lakes: Klippes: Kyanite: Laccolith: Laminations: Laterite: Lava: Lepidolite: Limb: Limestone: Limonite: Lineations: Liquefaction: Lithification: Loam: Luster: Mafic rocks: silica-deficient igneous rocks, rocks whose silica content is close to 50%, the most common of which is basalt Magma: Magnetite: magnetic iron ore of the spinel group

Marble: Mass wasting: a general term for a variety of processes by which large masses of earth material are moved by gravity either slowly or quickly from one place to another Matrix: Mesozoic Era: gdfdfdfdfhf, informally known as the age of gymnosperms or the age of reptiles Metamorphic: Metamorphism: Metasomatism: Mica group: a group of minerals with a sheet silicate structure, so they look like sheets of say sticky paper stacked on top of each other and the layers can peel off, the two most common micas are biotite and muscovite Microcline: Migmatite: Mineral: a naturally occurring solid that is crystalline (has a periodic arrangement of atoms), and has a specific chemical composition Mineraloid: a substance that occurs naturally, has a specific chemical composition, but does not have a definite periodic arrangement of atoms, an example of a mineraloid is opal which meets all the criteria to be a mineral except for the fact that it does not have a definite orderly arrangement of its atoms Mississippian Period: the geologic period from 354-323 MYA, note, this term only applies to North America Montmorillonite: Mud cracks: Muscovite: Nepheline: Nonconformity: a contact in which an erosion surface on plutonic or metamorphic rock has been covered by younger sedimentary or volcanic rock. A nonconformity generally indicates deep or long continued erosion before subsequent burial, because metamorphic or plutonic rocks form at considerable depths in Earth’s crust. Normal fault: a fault in which the hanging wall moves down relative to the footwall, normal faults are caused by extension Obsidian: Oligocene Epoch: the geologic epoch from 33.7-23.8 MYA Olivine: Ordovician Period: the geologic period from 490-443 MYA Orogeny: a fancy way of say a mountain building event or series of events Orthoclase: Outcrop: a location where rock is exposed to view, with no plant or soil cover Oxidation: Pahoehoe: Paleosol: Paragenesis: Parent rock: Paternoster Lakes: Pegmatite: Pennsylvanian Period: the geologic period from 323-290 MYA, like the Mississippian, this term also only applies to North America, informally known as the age of ferns, and with the Mississippian Period together is known as the coal age Peridotite: Period: the geochronologic unit lower in rank than era and higher than epoch

Permian Period: the geologic period from 290-248 MYA Perthite: Phaneritic: Phenocrysts: Phlogopite: Phonolite: Phyllite: Physical continuity: this is one method of correlating rock units between two different places, and it is being able to physically trace the course of a rock unit Plagioclase: Pluton: Pluvial Lake: Polymorphism: Porphyritic: Post-tectonic: Precambrian: Pre-tectonic: Principle of Cross-Cutting Relationships: this says that a disrupted pattern is older than the cause of the disruption Principle of Faunal Succession: this says that fossil species succeed one another in a definite and recognizable order, in general, fossils in progressively older rock show increasingly greater differences from species now living Principle of Inclusion: this says that fragments included in a host rock are older than the host rock Principle of Lateral Continuity: this says that an original sedimentary layer extends laterally until it tapers or thins at its edges Principle of Original Horizontality: this says that beds of sediment deposited in water formed as horizontal or nearly horizontal layers Principle of Superposition: this says that within a sequence of undisturbed sedimentary or volcanic rocks, the layers get younger going from bottom to top Progressive metamorphism: Proterozoic Eon: the geologic eon from 2500-543 MYA Pumice: Pyrite: Pyroclastic Flow: Pyroxene: Quartz: Quartzite: Quaternary Period: the geologic period from 1.8 MYA to present, informally known as the age of man Regional/dynamothermal metamorphism: Regression of the sea: the lowering of sea level relative to a given location Retrogressive metamorphism: Reverse fault: a fault in which the hanging wall moves up relative to the footwall, reverse faults are caused by compression Rhyolite: Ripple marks: Roche Moutonees: Rock Flour:

Root wedging: a form of physical weathering in which plant roots grow into cracks in rocks and as the roots grow, they put pressure on the surrounding rocks causing other processes like frost wedging and pressure release via sheeting to be more effective Rounding: Sabkha: Saltation: Sand: Sandstone: Saprolite: Schist: Scoria: Sedimentary: Seif: Shale: Sill: Sillimanite: Silt: Siltstone: Silurian Period: the geologic period from 443-417 MYA Sinter: Slate: Slaty cleavage: Soil: a layer of weathered, unconsolidated material on top of bedrock that typically contains organic matter that is capable of supporting plant life Soil horizon: soil layers that can be differentiated from one another on the basis of appearance and chemical composition Sorting: Spatter Cone: Specific Gravity: Speleothem: Sphalerite: Spheroidal weathering: a form of chemical weathering in which water infiltrates fractures of a blocky piece of rock and attacks/alters the edges and corners more effectively than the faces and thus turns the prismatic rock into a rounded rock S-Type Granitoid: Stalactite: Stalagmite: Staurolite: Stock: Stratovolcano: Streak: Stream Terraces: Striations: Strike: Stromatolite: Subduction zone: a region in which one tectonic plate moves under another one Suspended Load: Syenite: Sylvite:

Syncline: Synform: Syntectonic: Tarn: Tenacity: Tertiary Period: the geologic period from 65.0-1.8 MYA Texture: Thrust Fault: Till: Tourmaline: Trace Fossil: Trachyte: Transform plate boundary: Transgression of the sea: the raising of sea level relative to a given location Transitory: something which is extremely short-lived or quick Triassic Period: the geologic period from 248-206 MYA Tuff: Twinning: Unconformity: a surface or contact that represents a gap in the geologic record, with the rock unit immediately above the contact being considerably younger than the rock beneath Varve: Ventifacts: Vesicles: Vesicular: Viscosity: the resistance of a fluid to flow due to its internal friction forces Volcanic neck: Weathering: the group of destructive processes that change the physical and chemical character of rock at or near Earth’s surface Xenolith: These definitions are taken and modified from: • American Geological Institute Glossary of Geology 5th ed. -- By Neuendorf et al. • Earth Revealed: Physical Geology 5th ed. -- By McGeary et al. • American Geological Institute Dictionary of Geological Terms 2nd ed. -- By A.G.I. • Earth Structure 2nd ed. – By Ben A. Van Der Pluijm & Stephen Marshak Structural Geology Terminology: Principle of original horizontality: Uniformitarianism: Unconformity: Geosyncline Theory: Continental Drift Theory: Seafloor Spreading Hypothesis: Plate Tectonic Theory: Strain rate: Lithosphere: Asthenosphere: Convergence:

Divergence: Lateral slip: Stress: Deformation: Rotation: Translation: Strain: Terminology Related To Geometry and Representation of Geologic Structures Apparent dip: Dip of a plane in an imaginary vertical plane that is not perpendicular to the strike. The apparent dip is less than or equal to the true dip. Attitude: Orientation of a geometric element in space. Cross section: A plane perpendicular to the Earth’s surface. True dip: The slope of a surface, formally, the angle of a plane with the horizontal measured in an imaginary vertical plane that is perpendicular to the strike. Dip direction: Azimuth of the horizontal line that is perpendicular to the strike. Foliation: General term for a surface that occurs repeatedly in a body of rock (e.g. bedding, cleavage). Lineation: General term for a penetrative linear element, such as the intersection between bedding and cleavage or alignment of elongate grains. Pitch: Angle between a linear element that lies in a given plane and the strike of that plane (also rake). Plunge: Angle of linear element with earth’s surface in imaginary vertical plane. Plunge direction: Azimuth of the plunge direction. Position: The geographic location of a geometric element. Profile plane: Plane perpendicular to a given geometric element; for example, the plane perpendicular to the hinge line of a fold. Rake: Angle between a linear element that lies in a given plane and the strike of that plane (also pitch). Strike: Azimuth of the horizontal line in a dipping plane or the intersection between a given plane and the horizontal surface (also trend). Trace: The line of intersection between two nonparallel surfaces. Trend: Azimuth of any feature in map view; sometimes used as a synonym for strike. Some Terminology of Stratification Bedding: Primary layering in a sedimentary rock, formed during deposition, manifested by changes in texture, color, and/or composition; may be emphasized in outcrop by the presence of parting. Compaction: Squeezing unlithified sediment in response to pressure exerted by the weight of overlying layers. Overturned Beds: Beds that have been rotated past vertical in an Earth-surface frame of reference; as a consequence, facing is down. Parting: The tendency of sedimentary layers to split or fracture along planes parallel to bedding; parting may be due to weak bonds between beds of different composition, or may be due to a preference bedparallel orientation of clay. Strata: A sequence composed of layers of sedimentary rock. Stratigraphic facing: The direction of younger strata, or, in other words, the direction to the depositional top of beds. Younging direction: Same as stratigraphic facing. Terms to Describe Types of Bedding Massive beds: Beds that are relatively thick (typically several m) and show no internal layering. Massive bedding develops in sedimentary environments where large quantities of sediment are deposited

very rapidly or in environments where bioturbation (churning of the sediments by worms and other organisms) occurred. Medium beds: Beds that are 10-30 cm thick. Rhythmic beds: A sequence of beds in which the contrast between adjacent beds is repeated periodically for a substantial thickness of strata. Thick beds: Beds that are 30-100 cm thick. Very thick beds are tens of m thick. Thin beds: Beds that are less than 3 cm thick. Thinly laminated beds: Beds that are less than 0.3 cm thick. Common Surface Markings Animal tracks: Patterns formed when critters like trilobites, worms, and lizards tromp over and indent the surface (the characteristic trails of these organisms are a type of trace fossil). Clast imbrication: The shingle-like overlapping arrangement of tabular clasts on the surface of a bed in response to a current. Imbrication develops because tabular clasts tend to become oriented so that the pressure exerted on them by the moving fluid is minimized. Flute casts: Asymmetric troughs formed by vortices (mini tornadoes) within a fluid that dig into the unconsolidated substrate. The troughs are deeper at the upstream end, where the vortex was stronger. They get shallower and wider at the downstream end, because the vortex dies out. Flute casts can be used as facing indicators. Mudcracks: Desiccation of mud causes the mud to crack into an array of polygons and intervening mudcracks. Each polygon curls upwards along its margins, so that the mudcracks taper downwards and the polygons resemble shallow bowls. Mudcracks can be used as facing indicators, because an individual crack tends to taper downwards. Raindrop impressions: Circular indentations on the bed-surface of mudstone, formed by raindrops striking the surface while it was still soft. Ripple marks: Ridges and valleys on the surface of a bed formed as a consequence of fluid flow. If the current flows back and forth, as along a beach, the ripples are symmetric, but if they form in a uniformly flowing current, they are asymmetric. The crests of symmetric ripples tend to be pointed, whereas the troughs tend to be smooth curves. Thus, symmetric ripples are good facing indicators. Asymmetric ripples are not good facing indicators, but do provide current directions. Traction lineation: Subtle lines on the surface of a bed formed either by trails of sediment that collect in the lee of larger grains, or by alignment of inequant grains in the direction of the current to diminish hydraulic drag. Worm burrows: The traces of worms or other burrowing organisms that live in unconsolidated sediment. They stand out because of slight textural and color contrasts with the unburrowed rock. Types of Unconformities Disconformity: At a disconformity, beds of the rock sequence above and below the unconformity are parallel to one another, but there is a measurable age difference between the two sequences. The disconformity surface represents a period of nondeposition and/or erosion. Angular unconformity: At an angular unconformity, strata below the unconformity have a different attitude than strata above the unconformity. Beds below the unconformity are truncated at the unconformity, while beds above the unconformity roughly parallel the unconformity surface. Therefore, if the unconformity is tilted, the overlying strata are tilted by the same amount. Because of the angular discordance at angular unconformities, they are quite easy to recognize in the field. Their occurrence means that the sub-unconformity strata were deformed (tilted or folded) and then were truncated by erosion prior to deposition of the rocks above the unconformity. Therefore, angular unconformities are indicative of a period of active tectonism. If the beds below the unconformity are folded, then the angle

of discordance between the super- and sub-unconformity strata will change with location, and there may be outcrops at which the two sequences are coincidentally parallel. Nonconformity: Nonconformity is used for unconformities at which strata were deposited on a basement of older crystalline rocks. The crystalline rocks may be either plutonic or metamorphic. For example, the unconformity between Cambrian strata and Precambrian basement in the Grand Canyon is a nonconformity. Buttress unconformity: A buttress unconformity (also called onlap unconformity) occurs where beds of the younger sequence were deposited in a region of significant predepositional topography. Imagine a shallow sea in which there are islands composed of older bedrock. When sedimentation occurs in this sea, the new horizontal layers of strata terminate at the margins of the island. Eventually, as the sea rises, the layers appear to be truncated by the unconformity. Rocks below the unconformity may or may not parallel the unconformity, depending on the pre-unconformity structure. Note that a buttress unconformity differs from an angular unconformity in that the younger layers are truncated at the unconformity surface.

Terminology Related To Geometry and Representation of Geologic Structures Apparent dip: Dip of a plane in an imaginary vertical plane that is not perpendicular to the strike. The apparent dip is less than or equal to the true dip. Attitude: Orientation of a geometric element in space. Azimuth: The direction of a horizontal line as measured on an imaginary horizontal circle; the horizontal direction reckoned clockwise from the meridian plane of the observer, expressed as the angular distance between the vertical plane passing thru the point of observation and the poles of the Earth and the vertical plane passing thru the observer and the object under observation. Traditionally, measured clockwise from true north in degrees, which means that due East is 90º. Bearing: The angular difference between true north and the strike line. Cross section: A plane perpendicular to the Earth’s surface. True dip: The slope of a surface, formally, the angle of a plane with the horizontal measured in an imaginary vertical plane that is perpendicular to the strike. Dip direction: Azimuth of the horizontal line that is perpendicular to the strike. Foliation: General term for a surface that occurs repeatedly in a body of rock (e.g. bedding, cleavage). Lineation: General term for a penetrative linear element, such as the intersection between bedding and cleavage or alignment of elongate grains. Pitch: Angle between a linear element that lies in a given plane and the strike of that plane (also rake). Plunge: Angle of linear element with earth’s surface in imaginary vertical plane. Plunge direction: Azimuth of the plunge direction. Position: The geographic location of a geometric element. Profile plane: Plane perpendicular to a given geometric element; for example, the plane perpendicular to the hinge line of a fold. Rake: Angle between a linear element that lies in a given plane and the strike of that plane (also pitch). Strike: Azimuth of the horizontal line in a dipping plane or the intersection between a given plane and the horizontal surface (also trend). Trace: The line of intersection between two nonparallel surfaces. Trend: Azimuth of any feature in map view; sometimes used as a synonym for strike.

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