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Study Guide for Midterm 1

Chapters 1-12
Chapter 1
Understand the principle of uniformitarianism.
Understand the law of superposition (also remember for chapter 9).
Know the age of the Earth.
Understand the scientific method: observation, hypothesis, and theory.
Know the following terms: hydrosphere, atmosphere, biosphere, orogeny.
Understand the nebular theory and formation of the Earth.
How did the Earth become layered (Differentiation) and why is this important?
Know both the chemical and physical layers of the Earth (Figure 1.18).
Know and understand the major features of continents: mountain belts, craton,
shield, stable platform.
Know the major features of the continental margin and ocean floor: shelf, slope,
rise, abyssal plain, trench, seamount, mid-ocean ridge.
Know and be able to draw the Rock Cycle (Figure 1.21).
Chapter 2
What is the evidence for plate tectonics? Fit of continents, fossils, structural
similarities, rock types, paleomagnetism, hot spots, etc.
Know and understand the three types of plate boundaries. What is going on in
geologic terms, lithospheric types, and geologic features associated with each
type. Where is lithosphere created? Destroyed? Most complicated is convergent,
know about O-O, O-C, and C-C collisions.
Know the boundaries of the North American Plate. What Plates border it? Is the
east coast of North America a plate boundary? Where is the boundary?
How do the earthquakes associated with each plate boundary differ (Deep
versus shallow, large versus small, etc)?

How fast are the plates moving? Know the range of motion.
What are hot spots and how do they explain plate movement?
What are the three forces the move plates? Slab pull, ridge push, convection.
What is the Curie Point and why is it important?
Chapter 3
Know the definition of a mineral.
What is a rock?
What is glass and why is it not a mineral?
Know and be able to describe the three main mineral forming molecular bond
Explain how substitution works in mineral structures?
What is a polymorph?
Know and describe the following mineral physical properties: crystal form, luster,
color, streak, hardness, cleavage, fracture, specific gravity, special properties.
(for lab use)
Have a rough idea (main rock forming minerals) of the order of minerals on the
Mohs scale of hardness.
Chapter 4
Know the characteristics and differences between extrusive/volcanic and
Igneous rocks are classified by (2 ways) and what controls each classification?
What are the three factors that affect igneous textures? (cooling rate, % silica,
dissolved gases).
Know the following terms: aphanitic, vesicular, phaneritic, phenocrysts,
groundmass or matrix, pegmatite, pyroclastic,
Know and understand figure 4.5 and figure 4.14.

How does heat, pressure, and the presence of volatiles effect melting and
magma formation?
Understand how magmatic differentiation, asssimilation, magma mixing, and
partial melting effects magma composition.
Be able to describe and identify the following concordant and discordant intrusive
structures: pluton, batholith, lacolith, dike, sill.
Chapter 5
Know how magma viscosity relates to silica content.
Know order of magma viscosity.
How do dissolved gases affect magma and intensity of volcanic eruptions?
Know and be able to describe the characteristics of the three volcano types
(shield, cinder, composite)?
Know how eruptions are predicted.
Know the following terms: pyroclastic flow, lahar, caldera, crater, vent, flood
basalt, lava dome, fissure eruption.
Be able to identify and describe the types of igneous activity associated with
plate boundaries and intraplate activity.
Understand the relation between hot spots and flood basalts (figures 5.30).
Chapter 6
Know and understand the following processes: weathering, mass wasting,
Understand the difference between mechanical and chemical weathering.
Understand the following terms and physical processes of mechanical
weathering: frost wedging, talus slope, unloading, sheeting, exfoliation, thermal
expansion/contraction, salt crystal growth, biological activity, and abrasion.
Understand the basics of the following chemical weathering processes:
dissolution, oxidation, hydrolysis.

Which mineral is not broken down chemically?

Which minerals are most affected by dissolution?
Understand how feldspar is broken down by hydrolysis and the products that
Know how the following affect the rate of weathering: rock characteristics,
climate, differential weathering.
What factors control the formation of soil?
Chapter 7
How are sedimentary rocks classified and what are the origins and
characteristics of each type. Detrital (clastic) and chemical sedimentary rocks.
Know and understand the following terms: diagenesis, lithification,
recrystallization, compaction, cementation (know 3 types of cement and where
they come from), sorting, facies, strata, beds, bedding planes, cross-bedding,
graded bedding, ripple marks, oolites.
Know the three detrital sediment sizes and their corresponding rock names
(Figure 7.3).
What is the difference between breccia and conglomerate?
Know the rocks listed in figure 7.21.
Know relative abundances of sedimentary rocks by percent crustal volume and
percent covering the Earths surface?
Understand the sequence of precipitation of evaporites.
Understand the two terms for sedimentary textures, clastic and non-clastic
Understand seafloor sediments (not in book) including those of terrigenous
origin, the two types of oozes, and the organisms that produce each type.
Chapter 8
What is metamorphism and how are metamorphic rocks classified?

Know and understand the following terms: parent rock, confining and differential
stress, brittle and ductile behavior, foliated and non-foliated textures,
porphyoblast, aureole, index mineral, migmatite, slaty cleavage, metamorphic
zones (facies).
Know the main types of metamorphism and how each differs: contact, regional,
hydrothermal, burial, and impact. Which produces the greatest volume of
metamorphic rock?
What is the relationship between foliation and bedding plane?
What is a blueschist and where is it found?
Know the textures, grain size, parent rock, and characteristics of foliated rocks
and be able to put them in order of increasing metamorphic grade (figure 8.14).
slate, phyllite, schist, and gneiss
Know the textures, grain size, parent rock, and characteristics of these nonfolliated metamorphic rocks: marble, quartzite, and hornfels (figure 8.14).
Understand how metamorphic rocks are used to determine the pressure
temperature history in the rock record. Know the relation of index minerals to
metamorphic zones.
Chapter 9
Know the laws and principles of: superposition, original horizontality, lateral
continuity, cross-cutting relationships, fossil succession, and uniformitarianism.
What is an unconformity? (Know the 3 types: angular unconformity,
disconformity, and nonconformity).
Know the divisions of geologic time and their order from longest to shortest time
Know the Eons and Eras in order and start/end dates for each. Know what major
Earth history events happened in each.
Be able to explain the basic process of radiometric dating. In which type of rock
does it work best? Least? Why? What are the limitations?
Fossils are most common in which type of rock?

Chapter 10
Understand the factors (T/P/rock type/time) that control how a rock deforms.
Know the two deformation types (ductile and brittle), how they differ, where do
they occur in the crust.
What is the difference between stress and strain?
Be able to explain strike and dip and what they are used for.
Know and be able to describe the following fold terms: limb, hinge, anticline,
syncline, symmetrical, asymmetrical, recumbent.
What is a fracture?
Know and be able to describe the following fault terms: normal, reverse, thrust,
strike-slip, dip-slip, oblique-slip, hanging wall, footwall, fault block mountains,
horst, graben, rift valley.
Know the difference between a fault and a joint.
Know the difference between a thrust and a reverse fault.
Chapter 11
How do foreshocks and aftershocks differ.
Be able to explain how a seismograph works?
Know and be able to describe the characteristics of the following wave types
generated by an earthquake: P, S and surface waves
Know the following earthquake terms: focus or hypocenter, epicenter, slip, fault
creep, liquefaction.
Know what the Mercalli, Richter and Moment Magnitude scales are and how they
differ. Why is the moment magnitude scale used today instead of the others?
What is a tsunami and how is it generated (three ways)? What speed do they
travel at? And how are people warned about their approach?
Be able to relate earthquake depth to tectonic plate boundary type.

Chapter 12
Know the nature of seismic waves, especially P and S waves and how they are
affected by P/T.
Remember the physical and chemical layers of the Earth and how seismic waves
define and prove their existence.
Know the following terms: Moho (Mohorovicic Discontinuity), conduction,
convection, geothermal gradient, tomography.
What are seismic shadow zones? Know their size in degrees and why they
occur for both P and S waves.
What are the different layers within the mantle and how do they form?
Know how and where the Earths magnetic field is generated.
What does tomography show about where subducted tectonic plates end up?