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REVIEW CLASS FOR

PRINCIPLES OF GEOLOGY
Geology - from the Greek words geo (earth) and logos (discourse); literally the science of the Earth, dealing with the study of its composition, structure, history, past life forms and processes responsible for the Earths present configuration. Geology is already recognized to be of important use in economics, engineering, environmental studies, agriculture, land use, urban planning, and even for seemingly unrelated disciplines such as sociology and politics. The two main branches of Geology are: 1) Physical or Dynamic Geology involved in the study of the material composition, appearance, structure and processes of the Earth. 2) Historical Geology deals with the history of the Earth. This includes the Earths origin, relative and absolute timing of events that has shaped the Earth, as well as the life forms that has appeared in Earths history.

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Geological Branches and Specializations


Geophysics Geochemistry Petroleum geology Economic geology Hydrogeology and hydrology Engineering geology Environmental geology Seismology Geochronology Geomorphology
Planetary geology or cosmogeology Glaciology Marine geology Mineralogy Paleontology Petrology Sedimentology and stratigraphy Structural geology Volcanology

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Earth origins
1) Ca. 4.7 B years ago - accumulation of the planet by the gathering of planetesimals (unsorted conglomeration of Si compounds, and Fe and Mg oxides and smaller amounts of natural chemical elements. 2) Gravity compression leads to temperature rise; heat accumulated in the Earths interior, probably averaging 1000C.

3) Spontaneous disintegration of radioactive elements (e.g., U, Th, K) further caused heating of the Earths interior.

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Planetary differentiation At about 1 billion years after the Earth was formed, the T at depths of 400-800 km was enough to melt Fe. Large drops of Fe have fallen toward the center, displacing the lighter minerals. About 1/3 of the material sank to the center, a large part being converted to a molten state.

The molten material floated upward to cool and form a primitive crust Such differentiation resulted in the Earths internal layering

Differentiation probably initiated the escape of gases from the interior which eventually led to the formation of the atmosphere and oceans, and ultimately, life. the transfer of internal heat to the surface was accomplished by convection, even when the mantle solidified.

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The major structural units of Earth

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Layers Based on Composition


The Crust consists of: 1) The continental crust - relatively light granitic rock that includes the oldest rock of the crust; generally richer in Na and K; thickness ranges from 30 to 80 km, sometimes attaining 100 km in some portions. 2) The oceanic crust - composed of dark, dense volcanic rocks (basalt) with densities much greater than that of granite; more Fe-rich than the continental crust and thinner, ranging from 3 to 10 km in thickness; young and relatively undeformed by folding.

The Mantle - surrounds or covers the core; constitutes the great bulk of Earth (82% of its volume and 68% of its mass); composed of iron and magnesium silicate rock.
The Core - central mass about 7000 km in diameter; density increases with depth but averages about 10.78 g/cm3; constitutes only 16% of Earths volume but accounts for 32% of Earths mass; mostly composed of iron.

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Internal Layers Based on Physical Properties


Lithosphere - the strong rigid outer layer consisting of the crust and a portion of the upper mantle. Asthenosphere (weak sphere)- a major zone within the upper mantle where temperature and pressure are at just the right balance so that part of the material melts. The rocks become soft plastic in behavior and flowing like warm tar. The boundary between the lithosphere and the asthenosphere is distinct but does not correspond to a compositional change but due to a major change in the physical properties of the rock. It is as much as 200 km thick.

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Mesosphere layer below the asthenosphere; the region between the asthenosphere and the core-mantle boundary; stronger and more rigid because the high pressure at this depth offsets the effect of high temperature.
The Core - marks a change in both physical properties and composition; composed mostly of iron and is therefore distinctly different from the silicate (rocky) material above. On the basis of physical properties, the core has two distinct partsa solid inner core and a liquid outer core. EARTHS OUTER LAYERS The outermost layers of Earth are the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere. The continents and ocean basins are Earths major surface features.

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The Continents and Ocean Basins


The ocean basins occupy about two-thirds of Earths surface; characterized by a spectacular topography. The continents rise above the ocean basins as large platforms. The difference in elevation of continents and ocean basins represents a fundamental difference in rock density.

PRINCIPLES OF GEOLOGY REVIEW

PRINCIPLES OF GEOLOGY REVIEW

Major features of the continents: 1. Most continents are roughly triangular in shape. 2. They are concentrated in the Northern Hemisphere. 3. Although each may seem unique, all continents have three basic components: (a) a shield - large areas of highly deformed igneous and metamorphic rock (basement complex) (b) a stable platform or craton - extensive flat, stable regions of the continents in which complex crystalline rocks are exposed or buried beneath a relatively thin sedimentary cover (c) folded mountain belts uplifted mountain ranges that are sites of tectonic convergence 4. Continents consist of rock that is less dense than the rock in the ocean basins. 5. The continental rocks are old, some as old as 3.8 billion years. 6. The climatic zone occupied by a continent usually determines the style and variety of landforms developed on it.

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Shield Stable platform

Continental crust
Flood basalt Young mountain belt

Old mountain belt


Oceanic crust Trench Rift Zone

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Major features of the ocean floor 1. Mostly basalt, a dense volcanic rock, and its major topographic features are somehow related to volcanic activity The oceanic crust, therefore, is entirely different from the continental crust. 2. The rocks are young in a geologic time frame; most are less than 150 million years old 3. The rocks have not been deformed by compression. 4. The major provinces of the ocean floor are a. Oceanic ridge - most striking and important feature on the ocean floor; extends continuously from the Arctic basin down the center of the Atlantic Ocean, into the Indian Ocean, and across the South Pacific; A huge, cracklike valley, called the rift valley, runs along the axis of the ridge throughout most of its length b. The abyssal floor - vast areas of broad, relatively smooth, deep-ocean basins on both sides of the ridge; lies at depths of about 4000 m; consists of: c. Seamounts - isolated peaks of submarine volcanoes. d. Trenches - the lowest areas on Earths surface; adjacent to island arcs or coastal mountain ranges of the continents. e. Continental margins - zone of transition between a continental mass and an ocean basin consisting of continental shelf and continental slope

PRINCIPLES OF GEOLOGY REVIEW

PRINCIPLES OF GEOLOGY REVIEW

PLATE TECTONICS
The lithosphere is broken into a series of separate plates that move relative to each other. The Earths lithosphere floats on the denser, plastic asthenosphere beneath, and it rises and sinks in attempts to maintain equilibrium. Tectonics study of the origin and arrangement of the broad structural features of the earths surface (e.g., continents, mountain belts, island arcs, earthquake belts, faults, folds, etc.) . Plate a large, mobile slab of rock that is part of the earths surface. It may be made up entirely of sea floor (e.g., Nazca plate) or both continental and seafloor (e.g., North American plate). Plate tectonics the principle that the earths surface is divided into large, thick plates that move slowly and change size relative to one another. Plate boundary narrow areas of intense geologic activity where plates move away from one another, past one another or toward one another.

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The major plates of the world

Eurasian Plate African Plate North American Plate South American Plate Antarctic Plate Arabian Plate

Pacific Plate Indian-Australian Plate Philippine Sea Plate Nazca Plate Cocos Plate Scotia Plate

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Distribution of earthquakes and volcanoes

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Diverging plate boundaries


-where plates move away from each other, either within the ocean or continent.

1. Continental extension

2. Continental rifting

3. Ocean spreading

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Converging plate boundaries - where two plates move


toward each other OCEAN-OCEAN CONVERGENCE

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OCEAN-CONTINENT CONVERGENCE

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CONTINENT-CONTINENT CONVERGENCE
1. Ocean-continent convergence

2. Ocean closing

3. Continent-continent collision

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Transform boundaries where one plate slides horizontally past another


plate along a fault or a group of parallel faults. - the displacement along the fault abruptly ends or transforms into another kind of displacement

MOR-MOR

MOR-Trench

Trench-trench

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Plates move by mantle convection

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ROCKS AND MINERALS


Rock the material or substance, consisting of a mineral or aggregate of minerals, the Earth is made of. Mineral a solid chemical compound that is characterized by a definite composition or a restricted range of chemical compositions and by a specific, regular architecture of the atoms that make it up.

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PRINCIPLES OF GEOLOGY REVIEW

The nature of minerals


Minerals are the major solid constituents of Earth. A precise definition is difficult to formulate, but for a substance to be considered a mineral, the following conditions must be met: 1. It occurs naturally as an inorganic solid. 2. It has a specific internal structure; that is, its constituent atoms are precisely arranged into a crystalline solid. 3. It has a chemical composition that varies within definite limits and can be expressed by a chemical formula.

4. It has definite physical properties (hardness, cleavage, crystal form, etc.) that result from its crystalline structure and composition.
The differences among minerals arise from the kinds of atoms they contain and the ways the atoms are arranged in a crystalline structure.

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The Structure of Minerals


Law of constancy of interfacial angles - each mineral has a characteristic crystal form. Although the size and shape of a mineral crystal form may vary, similar pairs of crystal faces always meet at the same angle. Polymorphism - ability of a specific chemical substance to crystallize with more than one type of structure. Example: Diamond and graphite, pyrite and marcasite, etc.

Physical Properties of Minerals


1) Crystal Form - natural crystal faces that assumes a specific geometric form.

2) Cleavage - tendency of a crystalline substance to split or break along smooth planes parallel to zones of weak bonding in the crystal structure.
3) Hardness - measure of a minerals resistance to abrasion. (Review Mohs Scale) 4) Specific Gravity - the ratio of the weight of a given volume of a substance to the weight of an equal volume of water. 5) Color - most minerals are found in various hues, depending on such factors as subtle variations in composition and the presence of inclusions and impurities. 6) Streak. It is the color of a mineral in powder form; usually more diagnostic than the color of a large specimen.

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Cubes of pyrite

Prismatic crystals of quartz

Gypsum scratched by fingernail

Perfect cleavage in mica

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SILICATE MINERALS contain a basic building block called the silicon-oxygen tetrahedron, a complex ion [(Si04)4 -] in which large oxide ions (O2-) arranged to form a four-sided pyramid with smaller silicon ion (Si4) fitted into the cavity between them. The major groups minerals differ mainly in the arrangement of such silica tetrahedral crystal structures.

The silica tetrahedron

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Silicon-oxygen tetrahedra combine to form minerals in different ways. In the simplest combination, the oxygen ions of the tetrahedra bonds with other elements, such as iron or magnesium (e.g., Olivine). Most silicate minerals are formed by the sharing of an oxygen between two adjacent tetrahedra.
The sharing of oxygen with the silicon ions results in several fundamental configurations of tetrahedra defining the major silicate groups: 1.Single chains - pyroxenes 2.Double chains - amphiboles 3.Two-dimensional sheets - micas, chlorites, and clay minerals 4.Three-dimensional frameworks - feldspars and quartz REVIEW THE ROCK FORMING MINERALS (e.g., silicates, carbonates, sulfates, etc.)

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IGNEOUS ACTIVITY
An igneous rock is one that formed from the solidification of magma. Magma - is the hot-liquid molten material, generated within the Earth, that forms igneous rocks when solidified Magmas may be: 1) Intrusive (plutons) - magmas stored within the crust 2) Extrusive magma erupted on the surface either as lava or as fragments sent into the air (pyroclastic material). Plutons may be emplaced as concordant or discordant bodies in relation to the layering of the intruded rock or host rock. - Sills are concordant plutons; they are flat, tabular bodies intruded parallel to the layering of the host rock. - Dikes are discordant plutons that cut across the layering of the host rock. When no layering in the host rock is evident, the pluton is called a dike. - A volcanic neck is an intrusive structure apparently formed within the throat of a volcano.

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-Laccoliths are mushroom-shaped bodies that rises near the surface and domes the overlying layers while it spreads laterally. - Batholiths are enormous, complex rock bodies that cover at least 100 km2. - Stocks are plutons similar to batholiths but smaller in size (<100 km2).

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Igneous rock textures


Phaneritic texture coarse grained; the mineral components are visible to the naked eye; charactersitic of deep intrusive rocks that slowly cooled.

Aphanitic texture fine grained; the mineral components are not visible to the naked eye (i.e., microscopic); formed by relatively fast cooling of some volcanic rocks (e.g., basalt).

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Glassy texture of igneous rock with a high glass content; formed by very rapid cooling, such that minerals had no time to form crystals.

Porphyritic igneous texture in which crystals visible to the naked eye are embedded in a matrix of aphanitic texture; it represents a solidifying magma that has suddenly erupted to the surface.

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Classification of igneous rocks


Peridotite family (Ultramafic rocks). Peridotite - a dark, coarse-grained intrusive rock composed mainly of olivine, with lesser amounts of pyroxene with little or no plagioclase, believed to form the bulk of the upper mantle. Mg and Fe aare dominant constituents Basalt-gabbro family (Mafic rocks). Basalt - a fine-textured, dark brown to black extrusive rock, composed primarily of Ca-plagioclase feldspar, pyroxene and olivine.

Gabbro - coarse-textured, deep intrusive equivalent of basalt. Dolerite or diabase - intermediate between basalt and gabbro, as it is intruded near the surface. Mg and Fe minerals remain important components but in lesser amounts than those in ultramafic rocks. They compose the entire oceanic crust, basalt forming the upper layers and dolerite and gabbro forming the thicker internal layer upon which the basalt rests. Hotspot volcanoes and some arc volcanoes also erupt basalts.

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Andesite-diorite family (Intermediate rocks) Andesite - a gray, fine-grained volcanic rock consisting of plagioclase, pyroxene, amphibole and/or biotite (mica). The plagioclase has about equal amounts of Ca and Na ions. Diorite - the coarse-grained intrusive equivalent. The andesite family is typical of subduction-related magmatism.

Granite-rhyolite family (silicic or felsic rocks) Granite - a light-colored, coarse grained intrusive rock consisting primarily of quartz, K-feldspar and/or Na-plagioclase. Ferromagnesian minerals such as hornblende and biotite may or may not be present in subordinate amounts. Granite and its slightly more mafic variety, granodiorite, are the most common igneous rocks of the continental crust. Rhyolite - the extrusive equivalent of granite and is also generally confined to the continental crust.

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How magma forms


Magma originate principally by partial melting of pre-existing rock.

Sources of heat: 1) Geothermal gradient 2) The hotter mantle geothermal gradients are higher in hot spots, where mantle plumes, which are narrow upwellings of hot material within the mantle occur. Factors affecting melting temperatures: 1) Pressure In general, the melting point of a mineral increases with increasing P. Upwelling mantle material originating from deeper high pressure portions would melt at shallower portions where there is lower P. 2) Water water vapor under high pressure can lower the melting T of rocks.

How magmas of different composition evolve


1) Differentiation Magma stored within the earths crust, if allowed to remain liquid, will undergo differentiation, the process by which different ingredients separate from an originally homogenous mixture. Differentiation is attained when minerals crystallize and separate from the mother magma, altering the magma composition in the process.

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According to experiments by N.L. Bowen in the early 20th century, it is possible to derive mafic and felsic magma from a common parental source through differentiation.
Bowens reaction theory Bowens reaction series

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2) Source rock the composition of the resultant magma is, in general, more felsic than the parent magma. Thus, peridotite melting produces basaltic magma, while melting a basaltic source will give rise to intermediate to felsic rocks, depending on partial melting degree. 3) Partial melting The first minerals to melt are those in the later portion in the Bowen reaction sequence. Thus, the lower the partial melting degree is, the more felsic the rock becomes. 4) Assimilation A very hot magma may melt the country rock and assimilate the newly molten material into the magma. 5) Magma mixing If two magmas meet and merge in the crust, the combined magma will be compositionally intermediate.

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Geologic settings of igneous activity


Andesitic/rhyolitic volcanoes Basaltic lava plateau
Granitic pluton

Andesitic island arc

Basaltic MOR Trench Basaltic shield volcano Trench

Rhyolitic ash flow

Rift valley

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WEATHERING AND SOILS


Weathering changes that take place in minerals and rocks at or near the surface of the earth in response to the atmosphere, water and plant and animal life. Some definitions: 1) Bedrock the solid rock underlying all parts of the land surface. 2) Regolith soil and loose fragments that may cover the bedrock 3) Soil surface accumulation of sand, clay and decayed plant material (called humus) Types of weathering 1) Mechanical weathering also called disintegration process by which a rock is broken down into smaller and smaller fragments as the result of energy developed by physical forces. a) Expansion and contraction changes in T, if they are rapid and great enough, may bring about the mechanical weathering of a rock. b) Frost action When water trickles down into the cracks, crevices and pores of a rock mass and freezes, its volume increases about 9%. This expansion sets up pressures directly outward from the inside of a rock and frost wedging results. A second type of frost action is frost heaving, which occurs when moisture absorbed by loose soil or fragments freezes at shallow levels, heaving the ground above.

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c) Exfoliation process in which curved plates of rock are stripped from a larger rock mass by physical forces. - it develops two types of landscape features: 1) exfoliation domes joints parallel to the surface of a rock mass may develop. This may be accomplished through exhumation of the deeper portions of the rock mass by erosion (e.g., sheeting). 2) spheroidally weathered boulders boulders that have been rounded by the spalling off of a series of concentric shells of rock. The shells develop from pressures set up within the rock by when minerals become altered (or chemically weathered) and expand. Rocks that have considerable amount of feldspar are susceptible to spheroidal weathering because of the expansion of these minerals during chemical weathering.

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Other types of weathering Plants also play a role in mechanical weathering. The roots of trees and shrubs growing in rock crevices sometimes exert sufficient pressure to dislodge previously loosened fragments of rock. The mechanical mixing of soil by ants, worms and rodents, makes the soil more susceptible to chemical weathering.

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2. Chemical weathering also called decomposition; more complex process involving chemical alteration or changes, transforming the original material into something different. These changes either involve the transformation of a mineral to clay or another mineral or the solution of soluble minerals.
Factors influencing chemical weathering 1) Particle size The greater the surface area of a particle, the more vulnerable it is to chemical attack.

2) Composition of original material Minerals respond at different rates to weathering 3) Climate rocks respond to to different climate conditions 4) Moisture when moisture is accompanied by warmth, rate of chemical weathering is faster. 5) Plants and animals they produce oxygen carbon dioxide and certain acids that enter into chemical reactions with earth materials.

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Chemical weathering of minerals 1) Quartz very slowly affected, relatively stable mineral. 2) K-Feldspars Feldspars are among the first minerals to break down under chemical attack. - Aluminum silicate, derived from the chemical breakdown of feldspar, combines with water to form hydrous aluminum silicate minerals, or clays. Products of orthoclase weathering: a) Clay the H ion from the water forces the potassium out of the orthoclase, disrupting its crystal structure. The H ion combines aluminum silicate to form the new clay mineral. The mineral undergoes hydration, the process by which waer combines with other molecules. - clays are very fine, sometimes colloidal (0.2-1 mm) Types of clay: 1) kaolinite derived from the Chinese kao-ling, or high hill, the name of the hill from which the first kaolinite shipped to Europe came. 2) montmorillonite first described from a town in central France, Montmorillon. 3) illite named by state geologists of Illinois in honor of their state. b) Potassium ions some of the potassium is carried away by water, some are absorbed by plants, and some are absorbed by clay minerals or taken into their crystal structure. c) Silica - appears as silica in solution or finely divided quartz of colloidal size.

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3) Plagioclase the weathering products are similar to those of K-feldspars, but instead of K, either Na or Ca carbonate is formed. These are soluble in water, and may eventually reach the sea. 4) Ferromagnesians they produce similar products when weathered: clay, soluble salts, and silica. The presence of Fe and Mg, however, makes the formation of other minerals possible. Fe may combine with O to form hematite (Fe2O3), a deep red color mineral (from the Greek word haimatits or bloodlike). The Fe may unite with O and a hydroxyl ion to form goethite (FeO(OH)) (named after the German scientist Goethe). Another substance produced is limonite or plain rust. It is not a true mineral because its composition is not fixed. Mg is removed in a solution as a carbonate or taken up in illite and montmorillonite clays. Rates of weathering - Some rocks weather rapidly and others only slowly. Rate of weathering is governed by the rock type, mineral composition, moisture, temperature, topography, and plant and animal activity - Minerals commonly found in igneous rocks can be arranged according to the order in which they are chemically decomposed at the surface.

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Rate of weathering of minerals in relation to Bowens reaction series

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SOIL
Definitions: Soil - the residue of weathering. It is the layer of weathered unconsolidated material above bedrock. Bedrock - the unweathered rock beneth the soil; also termed as parent rock. Regolith loose fragments that may cover the bedrock; soil is the upper part of the regolith Loam soil of approximately equal amounts of sand, silt and clay; they are well drained and often fertile. Topsoil the upper fertile protion of soil. Subsoil Stony part of the soil, lacking organic matter. Soil consists of: 1) Clay minerals help to hold water and plant nutrients in soil. They are negatively-charged microscopic plates that attracts water and nutrients (e.g., Ca++ and K+) in the soil.

2) Quartz form sand grains that help keep soil loose and aerated, allowing good water drainage
3) Water molecule is neutrallly charged, but with posititve and negative end; its positive end is attracted to clay to make it available for uptake by plant roots.

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Soil Horizons are the soil layers that can be distinguished from one another by appearance and chemical composition. Their boundaries are transitional.

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O horizon dark-colored layer rich in organic materialand forms just below surface vegetation. It contains humus or decomposed plant material, and contributes to the formation of organic acids that accelerate the leaching of the underlying A horizon. A horizon this is the zone of leaching, where there is downward movement of water. Water that percolates leach or carry dissolved chemicals and clay downward to lower levels. Leaching may make this horizon pale and sandy, but the uppermost part is often darkened by humus. B horizon where leached material from A horizon accumulates. It is often clayey and stained red or brown by hematite and limonite. Calcite may build up in B horizons. C horizon incompletely weathered parent material or bedrock; it is the transition between unweathered bedrock below and developing soil above.

Residual soil soil that develops in situ; it developed on the rock beneath it.
Transported soil soil that developed from parent material that was brought to a site from other region such as sediment deposited by running water, wind or ice. Mud deposited by a river during flooding may form fertile soil

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Effect of parent rock Soil from granite develops sand and clay; sand is composed of quartz, while clay comes from weathering of the feldspars.

Soil from basalt is never sandy but always clayey


Effect of time Given enough time, soil will mature and parent material becomes immaterial. The presence of quartz grains is the only characteristic with long term significance.

With time, soils become thicker.


A new deposit of volcanic ash maybe covered with grass in just a few years but a new lava flow weathers much more slowly. Effect of slope Soils tend to be thick on flat land where erosion is slow and water collects; they are thin on steep slopes where gravity pulls water and soil particles downslope. Effect of organic activity Organic activity aides mechanical and chemical weathering

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Effect of climate Soil tends to be thick in wet climates, and characterized by downward movement of water to form pedalfer, which has a high content of aluminum and iron. Soils are thin in arid climates where pedocals are developed. They are characerized by little leaching, scant humus and the upward movement of soil water beneath the land surface by evaporation. The evaporation of water beneath the surface can cause the precipitation of calcium salts.

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Hardpan This is a general term for a hard layer of earth material that is often clayey. Hardpan in wet climates are usually formed of clay minerals, silica and iron compounds that have accumulated in the B horizon. In arid climates, caliche forms from the cementing of soil by calcium carbonate and other salts that precipiitate as water evaporates.

Hardpans are very hard and impermeable; they can break plows, prevent water drainage and act as barrier to plant roots.
Laterites and bauxites Laterites highly leached soils that develop in tropical climates. Intense and deep weathering develops red soil composed entirely of iron and aluminum, which are the least soluble products of rock weathering. Iron laterites may form from basalt, and other iron-bearing rocks. Nickel laterite is produced from weathering of ultramafic rocks. Laterites are unproductive soil. If exposed to the sun, it is apt to bake into a very hard layer that may be quarried to make bricks. Bauxite forms from the weathering of aluminum-rich rocks. If found in thick pure layers, they are mined for aluminum. The aluminum is concentrated residually by removal of other components.

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Laterite soil

Bauxite formation

Paleosol soil buried by younger deposits of lava, volcanic ash, dust or sediment. They may be extensive layers useful for interpreting past climates and topography.

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SEDIMENTARY PROCESSES
Sediment particles that have been mechanically transported by water, wind or
ice or chemically precipitated from solution, or secreted by organisms, and deposited in loose layers on the Earths surface. they contain the entire fossil record of the Earth. in them are recorded the composition, climate, topography of former landmasses, as well as physical, chemical and biological conditions of the oceans that no longer exist. they provide the means of retaining the chronological record of the past also of significant economic importance: groundwater, gold, copper, zinc, iron, lead, diamonds, limestone, sand, gravel, clay, oil, gas, coal.

Size classification:
1) 2) 3) 4) Gravel includes particles coarser than 2 mm in diameter (boulder > 256 mm, cobble 256-64 mm and pebble 64-2 mm) Sand grains from 1/16-2 mm Silt grains from 1/2561/16 mm; too small to see without a magnifying glass. Clay finest sediment, at least 1/256 mm in size.

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3)Types of sediments:
1) Detrital fragments derived from the weathering of rocks, transported by water, wind or ice and deposited in loose layers on the Earth;s surface. 2) Chemical particles precipitated directly from water.

3) Biochemical precipitated directly or indirectly by the activities of organisms

Origin of sedimentary rocks:


Weathering the physical disintegration and chemical alteration and decomposition of rocks exposed to the atmospheric influences at the Earths surface. Transport The disintegrated rock particles are transported by water, wind or ice. During transport, the sediments are subjected to: a) rounding the grinding away of sharp edges and corners of rock fragments during transport.

b) Sorting process in which sediment grains are selected and separated according to grain size or grain shape and specific gravity.

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Deposition when transported material settles or comes to rest as the medium of transport loses energy and can no longer transport its load. - also refers to the accumulation of chemical or organic sediment, such as shells, in the sea floor or plant material on the floor of a swamp. - Deposition of salt crystals can take place as seawater evaporates. environment of deposition the location in which deposition occurs (deep sea floor, desert valley, river channel, coral reef, lake bottom, beach, sand dune). Preservation sediments are preserved when they are protected from further erosion, usually by being buried by later sediments. Lithification The conversion of sediment into rock trough such processes as compaction, cementation and recrystallization. compaction reduction in volume of sediments resulting from the weight of newly deposited sediments above. The spaces between grains of sediments are called pores, which may be empty or filled with finer sediment called matrix. If the matrix consists of clay and silt, compaction will harden the matrix. If the matrix is filled with groundwater or saltwater saturated with silica, calcium carbonate or iron oxides, these compounds will precipitate and bind the grains together in a process called cementation. Recrystallization the formation of new crystalline mineral grains in a rock.

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COMPACTION AND CEMENTATION

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Classification of sedimentary rocks


Sedimentary rock rock that has formed from: (i) lithification of sediment; (ii) precipitation from solution; consolidation from the remains of plants and animals. Types of sedimentary rock: 1) 2) Clastic (or detrital) formed from cemented sediment grains that are fragments of preexisting rocks (e.g., conglomerate, sandstone, shale) Chemical deposited by precipitation of minerals from solution (e.g., rock salt, limestone

3)

Organic or biochemical rocks formed by the accumulation of the remains of organisms.

Clastic (or detrital rocks)


Breccia and conglomerate
Sedimentary breccia coarse-grained sedimentary rock formed by the cementation of coarse, angular fragments of rubble; formed not far from the source (e.g, landslides, talus, etc.)

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Conglomerate coarse-grained sedimentary rock formed by the cementation of rounded gravel; though formed not far from the source, some transport was necessary to round the angular edges.

Sandstone a medium-grained sedimentary rock formed by the cementation of sand grains. Quartz sandstone sandstone in which more than 90% of the grains are

quartz
Arkose sandstone in which more than 25% of the grains are feldspar; the rock has not underegone severe chemical weathering; transportation distance is relatively short. Graywacke (lithic sandstone) more than 15% of the rocks volume consists of fine-grained matrix; often tough and dense, generally dark grey or green in color. The sand grains consist primarily of lithic (or rock) fragments, feldspar, quartz.

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Maturity of detrital sediments

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Turbidite deposits Most graywacke probably formed from sediments transported by turbidity currents, dense masses of sediment-laden water that flow downslope along the sea floor. The sediments that result are called turbidites.

Fine-grained rocks Shale fine grained sedimentary rock notable for its splitting capability (called fissility). Splitting takes place along the surfaces of very thin layers called laminations within the shale. They deposit on lake bottoms, at the ends of rivers in deltas, beside rivers in floods, and on the quiet parts of the ocean floor. Depending on the size of particles fine grained rocks are called siltsone, shale and mudstone.

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Carbonate rocks
Limestone a sedimentary rock composed mostly of calcite (CaCO3), usually precipitated in shallow seawater through the actions of organisms. Carbonate sediments are directly precipitated in the warm, shallow waters of tropical to subtropical seas Types of limestone: 1) Biochemical limestone a) chalk fine-grained limestone consisting of billions of microscopic organisms that settled in shallow water. b) coquina composed of large, poorly cemented shell fragments. c) micrite fine-grained limestone formed from the lime mud; deposited in water devoid of current or wave action (e.g., tidal flat or quiet lake) Coral reefs built of the myriad skeletal secretions of tiny colonial coral. Live coral must grow close to sea level where light can penetrate.

Chemical limestone
Oolitic limestone directly precipitated limestone consisting of caviar-sized particles called ooids. An ooid consists of a minute sand-grain nucleus, around which are wrapped layers of calcium carbonate.

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Other sedimentary rocks 1) Evaporites rocks that formed from crystals that precipitate during evaporation of water (e.g., rock gypsum and rock salt) 2) Chert A hard, compact, fine-grained sedimentary rock formed almost entirely of organisms that secrete silica for their shells. These organisms, radiolaria and diatoms, are very tiny single celled. 3) Coal a sedimentary rock formed from the consolidation of plant material; it is rich in carbon and usually black; it burns readily. Coal usually develops from peat, a brown, lightweight unconsolidated deposit of moss or of the plant material that accumulates in wet bogs.

Sedimentary structures
Bed (or stratum) The smallest division of stratified (or bedded) sedimentary rock, consisting of a single distinct sheetlike layer of sedimentary material, separated from the beds above and below by relatively well-defined planar surfaces called bedding planes which mark a break in sedimentation. Stratification the condition shown by sedimentary rocks of being disposed in horizontal layers of beds. Lamina the thinnest or smallest recognizable unit layer of original deposition in a sediment or sedimentary rock<1 cm in thickness

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Types of bedding: 1) Current or cross-bedding the development of internal laminations within a stratum inclined at an oblique angle to the main bedding planes, resulting from changes in the direction of water or wind currents during deposition. It is most commonly developed in sandstones.

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2) Graded bedding Sedimentary bedding in which particles show a size distribution. The coarsest material forms the base and the sequence becomes progressively finer upwards. It is often present in turbidity deposits.

3) Mud cracks also known as dessication cracks, they are irregular fractures in a crudely polygonal pattern formed by the shrinkage of clay, silt or mud in the course of drying under the influence of atmospheric surface conditions.

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Ripple marks - most common minor beach morphological form, consisting of fairly regular and generally small ridges formed in sediment on a river bed, in the intertidal zone, or on the seabed seaward of low-water mark. Ripples are caused by water or wind flow, and are aligned more or less perpendicularly to the flow direction.

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SEDIMENTARY ENVIRONMENTS

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Glacial deposit Boulder-clay or till is the dominant deposit, consisting of unsorted and unstratified heterogenous mixture of clay, sand, gravel and boulders varying widely in size and shape. Alluvial fan a low, outspread, relatively flat to gently sloping mass of loose rock material, shaped like an open fan or a segment of a cone, deposited by a stream at the place where it issues from a narrow mountain valley upon a plain or broad valley, or where a tributary stream is near or at its junction with the main stream, or wherever a constriction in a valley abruptly ceases or the gradient of the stream suddenly decreases.

Flood plain flat surfaces adjacent to streams over which streams spread in times of flood. It is built of alluvium (recent clastic sediments) carried by the river during floods. The sediments are called flood plain deposit. River channel deposit may consist of sediments of all sizes and shape. Abundant load can result in the formation of channel bars, elongate deposits of sand and gravel located in the course of the stream. Lake deposit sedimentary deposit laid down conformably on the floor of a lake, usually consisting of coarse material near the shore and sometimes passing rapidly into clay and limestone in deeper water; most of it is fluvial or glacial in origin. Sand dunes consists of loose sand piled or heaped up by the wind, commonly found along low-lying seashores above high-tide level, more rarely on the border of a large lake or river valley, as well as in various desert regions.

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Delta The low, nearly flat alluvial tract of land deposited at or near the mouth of a river, commonly forming a triangular or fan-shaped plain of considerable area. Beach a shore of a body of water, formed and washed by waves or tides, usually covered by sandy or pebbly material. Lagoon - A shallow stretch of seawater, near or communicating with the sea and partly or completely separated from it by a low, narrow, elongate strip of land such as a reef, barrier island, sandbank, etc. Sand and silt dominate the sediments deposited, with or without organic matter. Barrier island a long, low, narrow wave-built sandy island representing a broadened barrier beach that is sufficiently above high tide and parallel to the shore, and that commonly has dunes, vegetated zones, and swampy terranes extending lagoonward from the beach.

Shelf continental shelf; a relatively wide, shallowly submerged platform Slope continental slope; the steep part of the continental margin abutting the continental shelf. Abyssal fan a terrigenous (land-derived sediments) cone- or fan-shaped deposit located seaward of large submarine canyons. They often form turbidites. Pelagic sediments deep-sea sediments without terrigenous material; they are either inorganic clay or organic ooze (pelagic sediment consisting of at least 30% skeletal remains of pelagic organisms, and clay).

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METAMORPHISM
Metamorphism the set of processes by which preexisting rocks (also called
parent rocks) are changed by pressures, temperatures and chemical conditions that prevail deep within the earth. - alters the mineralogy, texture and structure of the rocks, to give rise to metamorphic rocks. - Occurs at pressures and temperatures well above those prevailing at the Earths surface but below melting temperatures.

Factors controlling the characteristics of metamorphic rocks


1)Composition of the parent rock usually, no new chemical compounds are added to the rock, except, perhaps, water (except for contact metasomatism). 2)Temperature any mineral is stable only within a given temperature. High T causes ions of the minerals to vibrate more rapidly, causing chemical bonds to break, forcing them to realign in combinations suitable with the high-energy environment; New minerals form while old ones are destroyed. Heat also causes plastic deformation. 3) Pressure and stress - buried rocks are subjected to confining pressure (or geostatic pressure), or the pressure applied equally on all surfaces of a body as a result of burial.

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Differential stress: the stronger or weaker stress acting on a body at different directions; often caused by tectonic forces. Ther are 2 types: a) Compressive stress due to compression b) Shearing stress due to sliding of one body past another.

Compressive stress

Shearing stress

Foliation planar texture that develops as a result of differential stress. Minerals that are subjected or form under differential stress tend to follow the direction of shearing or align themselves perpendicular to the compressive stress.

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4) Fluids hydrous fluids charged with dissolved gases greatly accelerate chemical reactions. The water may come from the rocks themselves or from an outside source.
5) Time - Minerals that form by metamorphism need time to grow. Silicates have very slow chemical reaction rates, often requiring millions of years to attain significant growth.

Classification of metamorphic rocks


Non-foliated rocks (Name based on mineral content)
Usual parent rock Limestone Dolomite Rock Name Marble Dolomitic marble Quartzite Predominant minerals Calcite Dolomite Identifying characteristics Coarse interlocking grains. Calcite (or dolomite) has rhombohedral cleavage. Calcite effervesces in weak acid. Hardness between glass and fingernail. Interlocking small granules of quartz; sugary appearance, vitreous luster; scratches glass.

Quartzose sandstone

Quartz

Shale
Basalt

Hornfels
Hornfels

Fine-grained micas; ferromags, plagioclase

Fine-grained dark rock that generally will scratch glass; may have a few coarser minerals present

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Non-foliated rocks

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Foliated rocks (Name based on kind of foliation)


Texture
Slaty Intermediate (slaty to schistose)

Rock Name
Slate Phyllite

Identifying characteristics
Fine-grained rock with earthly luster. Splits easily into thin, flat sheets Fine-grained rock with silky luster. Generally splits along wavy surfaces.

Schistose
Gneissic

Schist
Gneiss

Visible platy or elongated minerals with planar alignment


Light and dark minerals are found separate, parallel layers or lenses. Dark layers commonly include biotite and hornblende; light-colored layers consist of quartz and feldspars. Layers may be folded or contorted.

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Types of foliation texture:


a) Slaty rock splits easily along nearly flat and parallel planes indicating microscopic platy minerals pushed into alignment.

b) Schistose visible platy or needle-shaped minerals have grown essentially parallel to a plane due to differential stress.

c) Gneissic minerals separate into distinct light and dark layers or lenses.

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Metamorphic facies
Facies Assemblage of mineral, rock (or fossil) features reflecting environment in which rock was formed; such features are used to differentiate one rock facies from other neighboring units. Rocks having the same mineral assemblage that formed within a welldefined set of pressure-temperature conditions are regarded as belonging to the same metamorphic facies. Such minerals that characterizes a given intensity of metamorphism are called index minerals.

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Distribution of facies across a convergent plate boundary

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Types of metamorphism:
1) Regional metamorphism metamorphism of an extensive area of the crust; generally associated with intensive compression and mountain building; induced during subduction and collision that produce fold mountain ranges. Rocks are almost always foliated due to differential stress (e.g., from green schist to amphibolite) 2) Shear metamorphism the transformation of rocks within the shear zone associated with active fault movement; mainly involves grinding, pulverizing and recrystallization of the rocks. Shear faulting produces a rock type called mylonite. 3) Contact metamorphism the transformation of rocks caused by heat escaping from an igneous intrusion. It may be accompanied by metasomatism, which is a replacement process whereby the elements of a rock are exchanged with those of a magmatic fluid. 4) Burial metamorphism results in response to the pressure exerted by the weight of the overlying rock; occurs deep into thick sedimentary basinsThe deeper rocks are subjected to higher temperature and pressures, giving rise to progressive metamorphism.

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5) Shock metamorphism changes in rock and minerals caused by shock waves from high-velocity impacts, mainly from meteorites.

Metamorphism and plate tectonics


Specific metamorphic rocks are associated with specific tectonic environment. Examples: regional metamorphism at subduction zones, shear metamorphism long faults, contact metamorphism due to rising magma, and hydrothermal metamorphism of the sea floor.

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Seafloor metamorphism
Fractures that develop within the MOR act as passageways for seawater circulating within the crust. The seawater heated by magma rises and reacts with the basaltic crust, converting it to hydrous rocks such as serpentinite. Metals extracted from the crust are redeposited and concentrated high within the crust and on the surface.

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CRUSTAL STRUCTURE AND DEFORMATION


Stress, Strain and Strength of Rocks Deformation of the Earths crust can be described in terms of change in volume, change of shape, or a combination of both. Compression produces change in volume without change in shape

Shear causes change of shape without change of volume

Deformation may involve a combination of both

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Stress A force applied to a material that tends to change that materials dimensions. Unit stress total force divided by the area over which the force is applied. Strain the amount of deformation caused by stress. Rocks are said to be elastic if deformation disappears when stress is removed. However, rocks may may not regain their former shape at an instant, as there is a retardation of recovery. A materialss resistance to elastic shear is called rigidity. Plastic deformation is permanent. It involves a property of rock called viscosity. A material that is deforming plastically does so by the propagation and movement of dislocations (or small structural defects of the material). If the rate of flow is proportional to the stress causing it, the material is said to be viscous. Viscosity is an important property in some geological processes; it governs the ability of magma to flow and enables the mantle to adjust to crustal loads. There are different types of stress: Extension stretching stress, can cause increase in volume of material Compression tends to decrease the volume Shear produces changes in shape. A stress beyond a materials strength can cause rupture. Strength is the limiting stress that a solid can withstand without failing by rupture or continuous plastic flow (compressive strength, shear strength, and tensile strength.)

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Structural geology deals with deformed masses of rock, their shapes and stress that caused the deformation. Relief the difference in elevation between the highest and lowest points in a specified area. Structural relief the difference in elevation of parts of a deformed bed; it is used as a measure of deformation In describing the attitudes of structural features, it is convenient to use two special terms: Angle of Dip the acute angle that a rock layer or linear structure forms with the horizontal. Strike the course of bearing of the inclined rock layer or structure, measured along the line of intersection that the inclined layer or structure makes with a horizontal plane. Direction of dip direction in which a rock layer is inclined downward from a horizontal plane. Dip is measured perpendicular to the strike.

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Horizontal

Vertical

Inclined Overturned

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Folding is the bending or warping of rock strata caused by compressive stress. The structure that develops is called a fold.

Types of fold:
Monocline a double flexure connecting strata at one level with the same strata at another level. Anticline an arch-shaped fold Syncline a trough-shaped fold.

Anticlines and synclines are symmetrical if their limbs have approximately equal dips. If one limb is steeper than the other, the fold is asymmetrical.

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Overturned fold An aysmmetrical fold in which one limb has been tilted beyond the vertical.

Recumbent fold a fold in which the axial plane has been overturned.

Isoclinal fold fold in which the beds on both limbs are nearly parallel, whether upright, overturned or recumbent.

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Fold nomenclature: a) Limbs the two sides or legs of the fold b) Axis the direction of an imaginary line connecting the points of maximum flexure of the fold c) Axial plane an imaginary plane containing all the fold axes within a deformed layer of rock layers. The axes of most folds are inclined. The angle of dip of its axis is the plunge.

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The sedimentary rocks covering much of the continental interiors have been mildly warped into: Domes circular or elliptical structural or topographic highs in which beds dip away to all directions; when eroded, the oldest rocks are exposed at the center. Basins circular or elliptical structural or topographic lows or downwarps in which beds dip towards the center; when eroded, the youngest rocks are exposed at the center.
A warped plane

Outcrop pattern of an eroded dome and basin structure

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Joints - fractures or cracks developed on the rock, along which no significant movement of blocks has occurred. Columnar joints - joints resulting from the cooling of dikes, volcanic flows and volcanic necks (similar to mud cracking Sheeting A pattern of essentially horizontal joints. This is especially common in the shallow portions of granites, and may be related to pressure release upon exhumation. Faults deformation by rupture in which the blocks of rock on each side of the break move relative to each other. Types of faults: Dip-slip fault usually, faults are inclined. When the displacement occurs is along the direction of the dip, it is called dip slip fault. The block above the fault plane is called the hanging wall, while the opposite block is the footwall. Dip slip faults are classified according to the relative movements of these blocks.

Normal fault a dip-slip fault in which the hanging wall appeared to have moved down with respect to the footwall. Also known as gravity fault. It is mostly associated with extensional stresses.

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Thrust fault or reverse fault, a dip-slip fault in which the hanging wall appears to have moved up relative to the footwall. It is largely the result of horizontal compressive stresses.

Hanging wall the block at the top of a dipping fault or structure. Footwall the corresponding block below a dipping fault or structure.

Extension or stretching of the crust may cause a series of related normal faults that would be expressed as:
Graben a structure in which a central block dropped down in relation to two adjacent blocks; they form topographic basins marked by relatively straight parallel walls. Horst - a structure in which a central block was upraised in relation to two adjacent blocks; ahorsts commonly blocklike plateaus or mountain ranges bounded by faults.

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Sag pond

Strike-slip fault a fault along which the movement is essentially horizontal, i.e., parallel to the strike; also called transcurrent fault Right lateral fault a strike-slip fault in which the block on the right appears to have moved towards the observer; also known as dextral fault. Left-lateral fault a strike-slip fault in which the block on the left appears to have moved towards the observer; also known as sinistral fault.

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Oblique-slip fault a fault in which movement has both vertical and horizontal components

Hinge fault a fault in which one block appears to have rotated with respect to another block, such that the displacement dies out at a definite point or axis.

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Unconformity a structural feature representing the relationship between a buried erosional surface and younger overlying sediments. There are several types: a) Angular unconformity formed when the older strata dip at an angle from that of the younger strata.

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b) Nonconformity formed when the underlying eroded rocks are crystalline, either igneous or metamorphic.

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c) Disconformity develops when the eroded rocks are parallel to the overlying younger rocks. The top portions of the buried rocks are typically irregular because of erosion.

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EARTHQUAKES
Earthquake trembling or shaking of the ground caused by the sudden release
of energy stored in the rocks beneath the earths surface 2 types: 1) Volcanic due to volcanic activity (eruption or rising magma under a volcano) 2) Tectonic due to movement of rocks past one another along faults; when a rock breaks, waves of energy are sent out or produced, known as seismic waves, causing earthquakes. Elastic rebound theory: involves the sudden release of progressively stored strain in rocks, causing movement along a fault.
1)
2) 3) 4)

5)

deep-seated tectonic forces act on a mass of rock over many decades The rock bends but does not break. More and more energy is stored in the rocks as the bending becomes severe. The energy stored exceeds the the breaking strength of the rock, and the rock breaks suddenly, producing an earthquake. The movement may be vertical, horizontal or both (diagonal or oblique).

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Seismic waves
Focus or hypocenter the point within the earth where seismic waves originate; the point of initial movement of a fault. Epicenter the point on the earths surface directly above the hypocenter.

2 types of seismic waves: 1. 2. Body waves travel trough the earths interior, spreading outward from the hypocenter in all directions (like sound in air). Surface waves travel on the earths surface away from the epicenter (like ripples on water); slowest wave, can cause more property damage.

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2 types of body waves: P wave compressional; parallel to direction of wave propagation S wave secondary wave; transverse to direction of wave propagation.

P wave Very fast at speeds of 4 to 7 km/sec. First wave to arrive at a station Can pass through solid and fluid (gas or liquid)

S wave Slow, at 2-5 km/sec. Arrives at a later time than P wave does Can pass through solid but not fluid

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Recording earthquakes
Seismometer the instrument used to detect seismic waves. A heavy suspended mass is held as motionless as possible, suspended by springs or hanging it as a pendulum. When the ground moves, the frame of the instrument moves with it.

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Seismograph a seismometer with a recording device that produces a permanent record of earth motion, usually in the form of wiggly line drawn on a moving strip of paper. There are numerous seismograph stations all over the world.

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Seismogram the paper record of earth vibration. The different waves travel at different rates, so they arrive at seismograph stations in a definite order: first P waves, then S waves, and finally, the surface waves. Analysis of seismograms can reveal the location and strength of the earthquake.

REVIEW LOCATING EARTHQUAKES

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Measuring earthquake strength


2 methods of measurement: 1) Intensity finding out how much damage the quake has caused. Intensities are expressed in Roman numereals from I to XII on the modified Mercalli scale; higher numbers indicate greater damage disadvantage: (i) damage lessens away from the epicenter, so different locations report different intensities; (ii) damage to buildings and infrastructure depend on geology and quality of building. 2) Magnitude the amount of energy released by the quake is calculated and assigned a number; usually done by measuring the height or amplitude of one of the wiggles in a seismogram the larger the quake, the bigger the wiggle. It is now conventional to report such measurement on a Richter scale

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THE EARTHS INTERIOR


Layers of different compositions
If the Earths composition was homogenous, the velocity of P and S waves would increase smoothly at depth. Distinct boundaries (or discontinuities, as they are called in geology) can be readily detected by reflection and refraction of seismic waves.

Seismic body waves as they are reflected and refracted in the Earths interior.

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The Crust In the early 20th century, Mohorovii discovered that for shallow ( 40 km depth) focused earthquakes two distinct P and S waves are recorded by seismographs that lie within a distance of 800 km from the epicenter. One set of waves have traveled directly from the focus to the seismograph station, and another set arrived slightly earlier, leading to the conclusion that the latter was refracted by another layer in which the waves traveled faster (high velocity zone) before being refracted back to the surface. Conclusion: there is a distinct compositional boundary that separates an outer layer (the crust) from a deeper layer (the mantle) of higher density. This boundary is called the Mohorovii discontinuity, also known as M-discontinuity or the Moho.

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Seismic wave speeds can be measured for different rock types in the laboratory and the field. With this data, the composition and thickness of the crust (or the depth of the Moho) can be measured. Seismic velocities in the continental crust, in general, are markedly different (slower) than those in oceanic crust. P-wave speed in the crust ranges from 6 to 7 km/s (similar to granite, diorite and gabbro).

The Mantle
We cannot see the mantle but we can infer its composition from seismic studies. Beneath the Moho, speeds are greater than 8 km/s (similar to rock with denser minerals called peridotite). We conclude that the mantle must be made up of peridotite.

The Core
a depth of about 2900 km, P and S waves are so strongly influenced by another At discontinuity. waves are so strongly reflected and refracted that the boundary casts a P-wave P shadow, or an area on the Earths surface opposite the epicenter where no P-waves are detected.

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Geoscientists consider that this discontinuity corresponds to the boundary of the mantle and the core. P-wave reflections indicate the presence of a solid material in the inner portion of the core. Thus, the core consists of a liquid outer layer and a solid inner portion. The core density is about 10-11 g/cm3, corresponding to iron. The same boundary casts an even more pronounced S-wave shadow, because it cannot traverse this boundary. It is concluded that beyond this boundary is liquid material.

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Discontinuities in the mantle


The low velocity zone

From the base of the crust to a depth of about 100 km, P-wave velocity rises to
~8.3 km/s. Then velocity drops slowly to just below 8 km/s down to depths of 350 km. At about 400 km depth, the seismic waves increase in velocity, but not so much as to indicate a change in composition.

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The 670 km seismic discontinuity represents another increase in seismic


velocity, the cause of which is unknown. Several hypotheses are given, including polymorphic and compositional transition and the presence of cold subducted slab at these depths.

Gravity and Isostasy


Gravity The earth is not a perfect sphere, but an ellipsoid. The radius at the equator is 21 times longer than that at the poles. The pull of gravity is greater at the poles than at the equator because gravitational attraction is inversely proportional to the square of the distance between their centers of mass. The gravitational pull of the earth can be measured by an instrument called a gravimeter.

A simple gravimeter

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If the rock masses between the gravimeter and the center of the earth were everywhere uniform in thickness and composition, there would be no variations in gravitational pull. However, large and significant variations do exist, and these are called gravity anomalies. The anomalies are due to bodies of rock having differing densities.

How a gravimeter works

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Example of a gravity anomaly

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Crustal thickness profile

Seismic analysis

Gravity analysis

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Isostasy
- balance or equilibrium between adjacent blocks of brittle crust floating on the upper mantle.

Analogy of the principle of isostasy

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Isostatic compensation due to erosion

Isostatic rebound due to glacier melting

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Crustal thickening due to magma underplating

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A region in isostatic balance gives a uniform gravity reading (or measurement)

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A region held up out of isostatic equilibrium gives a positive gravity anomaly

A region held down out of isostatic equilibrium gives a negative gravity anomaly

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Crustal blocks float on the mantle They tend to rise or sink gradually until they are balanced by the weight of displaced mantle material. This concept of vertical movement to reach equilibrium is called isostatic adjustment. The rise of the crust after removal of its load is called crustal rebound. Isostatic compensation or adjustment may occur when the crust thickens by magmatism, compression or collision.

Magnetism
The Earth is one gigantic magnet. Thus, it is surrounded by a magnetic field. The field has north and south magnetic poles, near the geographic poles. Magnetic poles are displaced about 1130 from the geographic poles. The strength of the magnetic field is greatest at the poles coming out from the south and entering the north.

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Magnetic reversals

- The earths magnetic field has periodically reversed its polarity in the past. - During a time of normal polarity, magnetic lines of force leave the earth near the south pole and enter near the north pole (like it is today). - opposite happens during a time of reversed polarity.

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Magnetic anomalies
The instrument used to measure the strength if the earth;s magnetic field is called a magnetometer.

The strength of the earths magnetic field varies from place to place. The deviation from the average reading is called a magnetic anomaly. It may be positive or negative.

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The Earths Internal Heat


Geothermal gradient the temperature increase with depth into the earth.

The average T increase is 25C/km near the surface. The T of the asthenosphere is estimated at 1150C/km. The geothermal gradient must taper off sharply a short distance into the earth, to as low as 1C/km The transition at 400-670 km depth must have a T of around 1500 C at the top and about 2000 C at the bottom. Estimates of T at the outer coremantle boundary is around 4500 to 4800 C. The inner core-outer core limit has a T of 6600 C, and the center of the earth is approximated to be 6900 C.

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Heat flow a small but measurable amount of heat from the earths interior that is being lost gradually through the earths surface. What is the origin of the heat? 1. Original heat (or thermoremanent heat) if the earth formed as a hot mass that is cooling down. 2. Radioactive decay may actually be warming the earth. Some regions on earth have high heat flow indicating either the presence of hot material underneath (e.g., magma) or rocks with high content of radioactive elements (e.g., uranium).

Regional patterns of high and low heat flow on the seafloor may also be explained by convection of mantle rock.

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PLATE TECTONICS AND SEAFLOOR SPREADING


CONTINENTAL DRIFT
Soon after the first reliable world maps were made, scientists noted that the continents, particularly Africa and South America, would fit together like a jigsaw puzzle if they could be moved. Antonio Snider-Pelligrini, a Frenchman, showed in 1858 how the continents looked before they separated and cited fossil evidence in North America and Europe, but based his reasoning on the catastrophe of Noahs flood. Alfred Wegener, a German meteorologist, was the first to make an exhaustive investigation of the idea of continental drift and based his theory not only on the shapes of the continents, but also on geologic evidence such as similarities in the fossils found in Brazil and Africa. He drew a series of maps showing three stages in the drift process, beginning with an original large landmass, which he called Pangaea (meaning all lands). Alexander du Toit (friend of Wegener) divided Pangea into two parts which initially separated: Laurasia North America, Greenland and Eurasia Gondwanaland South America, Africa, India, Australia, Antarctica

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135 65 million years ago 180 million years ago Present 200

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Wegener believed that the continents, composed of light silicic rock, somehow plowed through the denser rocks of the ocean floor, driven by forces related to the rotation of Earth. Most geologists and geophysicists rejected Wegeners theory, for the lack of a plausible explanation of how such a process could happen. The early arguments concerning the breakup of the supercontinent Pangaea and the theory of continental drift were supported by some important and imposing evidence, most of which resulted from regional geologic studies. Paleontological Evidence The striking similarity of certain fossils found on the continents on both sides of the Atlantic is difficult to explain unless the continents were once connected. Floating and swimming organisms could migrate in the ocean from the shore of one continent to another, but the Atlantic Ocean would present an insurmountable obstacle for the migration of land-dwelling animals, such as reptiles and insects, and certain land plants.

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Examples: a) Fossils of Glossopteris, a fernlike plant, have been found in rocks of the same age from South America, South Africa, Australia, and India and within 480 km of the South Pole, in Antarctica. Lystrosaurus, strictly a land dweller. Its fossils are found in abundance in South Africa, South America, and Asia, and in 1969 a United States expedition discovered them in Antarctica.

b)

c)
d)

Remains of Mesosaurus, a freshwater reptile, were found in both Brazil and Africa.
Fossils of Cynognathhus, a Triassic land reptile, were also found in Argentina and southern Africa.

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Jigsaw-fit of continental margins and their structure and rock types

The continents on both sides of the Atlantic fit together, not only in outline, but in rock type and structure.
The geologic similarities on opposite sides of the Atlantic are found only in rocks older than the Cretaceous period, which began about 137 million years ago. The continents are believed to have split and begun drifting apart in Jurassic time, about 200 million years ago.

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Evidence from Glaciation During the latter part of the Paleozoic Era (about 300 million years ago), glaciers covered large portions of the continents in the Southern Hemisphere. The deposits left by these ancient glaciers can be readily recognized, and striations and grooves on the underlying rock show the direction in which the ice moved. Except for Antarctica, all of the continents in the Southern Hemisphere now lie close to the equator. In contrast, the continents in the Northern Hemisphere show no trace of glaciation during this time. In fact, fossil plants indicate a tropical climate in that area.

If the continents were grouped together as Wegener proposed, the glaciated areas would have comprised a neat package near the South Pole and Paleozoic glaciation could be explained nicely.

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Similarity in sedimentary record

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Evidence from Other Paleoclimatic Records

Great coal deposits in Antarctica show that abundant plant life once flourished on that continent, now mostly covered with ice.
On the other continents, salt deposits, formations of windblown sandstone, and coral reefs provide additional clues that permit us to reconstruct the climatic zones of the past.

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DEVELOPMENT OF THE THEORY OF PLATE TECTONICS


The plate tectonics theory was developed during the early 1960s, when new instrumentation permitted scientists to map the topography of the ocean floor and to study its magnetic and seismic characteristics. The Geology of the Ocean Floor In the 1950s and 1960s, newly developed echo-sounding devices enabled marine geologists and geophysicists to map the topography of the ocean floor in considerable detail. They revealed that the ocean basins are divided by a great ridge approximately 64,000 km long and about 1500 km wide. At the crest of the ridge is a central valley, from 1 to 3 km deep. This feature appears to be a rift valley, which is splitting apart under tension. Other evidence shows that ocean basins are relatively young. Seismic studies have established that the oceanic crust (composed largely of basalt) has a completely different composition from the continental crust and is much thinner. The oceanic crust is not deformed into folded mountain structures and apparently is not subjected to strong compressional forces.

In 1960, H. H. Hess, a noted geologist from Princeton University, proposed a theory of sea-floor spreading which suggested a possible mechanism for continental drift.

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He postulated that the ocean floors are spreading apart, and are moving symmetrically away from the oceanic ridge. This continuous spreading produces fractures in the rift valley, and magma from the mantle is injected into these fractures to become new oceanic crust. The continents are driven away from the oceanic ridge. The oceanic crust descends into the mantle and is reabsorbed at deep-sea trenches. He pointed to mantle convection as the mechanism to propel seafloor spreading. EVIDENCES SUPPORTING THE THEORY Paleomagnetism Certain rocks, such as basalt, are fairly rich in iron and become weakly magnetized by Earths magnetic field as they cool.

The mineral grains in the rock become fossil magnets, oriented with respect to Earths magnetic field at the time when the rock was formed, and thus preserve a record of paleomagnetism.
Similarly, the iron in grains of red sandstone becomes oriented in Earths magnetic field as the sediment is deposited, so red sandstone also can indicate the orientation of the paleomagnetic fields. These rocks therefore retain an imprint of Earths magnetic field at the time of their formation.

PRINCIPLES OF GEOLOGY REVIEW

PRINCIPLES OF GEOLOGY REVIEW

Apparent Polar Wandering. Studies of paleomagnetism of widely different ages demonstrate that Earths north magnetic pole apparently has steadily changed its position with time. Paleomagnetic studies at different parts of the globe indicate several apparent polar wandering curves.

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It is impossible that there were numerous magnetic poles migrating systematically and eventually merging. The most logical explanation is that there has always been only one magnetic pole, which has remained fixed while the continents moved with respect to it.

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Magnetic Reversals on the Sea Floor. Recent studies of the magnetic properties of numerous samples of basalt from many parts of the world demonstrate that Earths magnetic field has been reversed many times over. Epochs of normal polarity, when the magnetic field was oriented as it is today, alternated with epochs of reverse polarity.

The major intervals of alternating polarity (about 1 million years apart) are termed polarity epochs, and the intervals of shorter duration are termed polarity events.

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Determining magnetic anomalies on the seafloor

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From the sequence of magnetic anomalies and their radiometric ages, a reliable chronology of magnetic reversals has been established.

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In 1963, Fred Vine and D. H. Matthews saw a way to test the idea of sea-floor spreading. Sea-floor spreading should be recorded in the magnetism of the basalts in the oceanic crust. (The same idea was developed independently by L. W Morley.)
If Earths magnetic field reversed intermittently, new basalt forming at the crest of the oceanic ridge would be magnetized according to the polarity at the time when it cooled. As the ocean floor spreads, a symmetrical series of magnetic stripes, with alternating normal and reversed polarities, would be preserved in the crust along either side of the oceanic ridge. Subsequent investigations have conclusively proved this theory proposed by Vine and Matthews and by Morley.

PRINCIPLES OF GEOLOGY REVIEW The patterns of magnetic reversals away from the rest of the ridge are the same as those found in a vertical sequence of rocks on the continents, from youngest to oldest. An important aspect of these reversal patterns is that they enable us to determine rates of plate movement. From the pattern of magnetic reversals, the rate of sea-floor spreading appears to range from 1 to 17 cm per year.

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Magnetic surveys have now determined patterns of magnetic reversal for much of the ocean floor, and from these patterns, the age of various segments of the sea floor has been established. These studies show that most of the deep-sea floor was formed during Cenozoic time (during the last 65 million years).
It now seems probable that very little or none of the present ocean basin was formed before the Jurassic.

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Evidence from Sediment on the Ocean Floor


As is predicted by the plate tectonics theory, the youngest sediment resting on the basalt of the ocean floor is found near the oceanic ridge, where new crust is being created. Away from the ridge, the sediments that lie directly above the basalt become progressively older, with the oldest sediment nearest the continental borders. Also, the sediments become thicker away from the MOR. The ages of the sediment matches the age of the ocean floor that it directly covers. Equatorial microorganisms are found even north of the equator in the Pacific Ocean.

With no seafloor spreading

With seafloor spreading

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Evidence in topography
Depth of the ocean floor increases, and heat flow decreases away from the MOR.

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Evidence from seamounts

Ages of the volcanic Hawaiian islands and the Emperor seamount chain increase steadily as they approach the Aleutian trench.

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Each volcano probably formed over a stationary magma source, a hotspot (an area of volcanic activity produced by a plume of magma rising from the mantle), then moved away as the seafloor spread.

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The major plates of the world

Individual plates are not permanent features. They are in constant motion and continually change in size and shape. Plates that do not contain continental crust can be completely consumed in a subduction zone. Plate margins are not fixed. A plate can change its shape by splitting along new lines, by welding itself to another plate, or by accretion of new oceanic crust along its passive margin.

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PLATE BOUNDARIES
Three kinds of plate boundaries are recognized and define three fundamental kinds of deformation and geologic activity: (1) divergent plate boundarieszones of tension, where plates split and spread apart, (2) convergent plate boundaries (also called subduction zones) zones where plates collide and one plate moves down into the mantle, and (3) transform fault boundarieszones of shearing where plates slide past each other without diverging or converging Processes at Divergent Plate Boundaries Divergent plate boundaries, or spreading axes, form where a plate splits and is pulled apart. Where a zone of spreading extends into a continent, rifting occurs, and the continent splits to form a new and continually enlarging ocean. Divergent plate boundaries are thus characterized by tensional stresses that produce block faulting, fractures, and open fissures along the margins of the separating plates. Basaltic magma derived from the partial melting of the mantle is injected into the fissures or extruded as fissure eruptions.

The magma then cools and becomes part of the moving plates.
More than half of Earths surface has been created by volcanic activity along divergent plate boundaries during the past 200 million years.

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Examples of continental rifting in various stages are found in various parts of the world. The initial stage is represented by the system of great rift valleys in East Africa. The long, linear valleys, partly occupied by lakes, are huge, downdropped fault blocks, which result from the initial tensional stress. Magma rising from the mantle into the rift zone produces volcanism, exemplified by the great volcanoes of Mount Kenya and Mount Kilimanjaro.

The Red Sea illustrates a more advanced stage of rifting. The Arabian Peninsula has been completely separated from Africa, and a new linear ocean basin is just beginning to develop.
The Atlantic Ocean represents a still more advanced stage of continental drift and sea-floor spreading.

PRINCIPLES OF GEOLOGY REVIEW Processes at Convergent Plate Boundaries Convergent plate boundaries, or subduction zones, where the plates collide and one moves down into the mantle, are areas of complicated geologic processes, including igneous activity, crustal deformation, and mountain building. If both plates at a convergent boundary contain oceanic crust, one is thrust under the margin of the other, in a process called subduction. The subducting plate descends into the asthenosphere, where it is heated and ultimately absorbed in the mantle. If one plate contains a continent, the lighter continental crust always resists subduction and overrides the oceanic plate. If both converging plates contain continental crust, neither can subside into the mantle, although one can override the other for a short distance. Both continental masses are instead compressed, and the continents are ultimately fused or welded together into a single continental block, with a mountain range marking the line of suture.

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The zone of convergence between two plates is a zone of deformation, mountain building, and metamorphism. If the overriding plate contains continental crust, compression deforms the margins into a folded mountain belt, and the deep roots of the mountains are metamorphosed.
Crustal deformation MetamorphismHigh T, high P zone Metamorphism and crustal deformation Andesitic volcanism Granitic intrusions

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As cold, wet oceanic crust is subducted into the hot asthenosphere, water is driven off by metamorphic dehydration reactions at elevated temperatures.The water was originally incorporated into the oceanic crust on its path from the ridge to the subduction zone. As the light, water-rich fluids rise into the overlying wedge of mantle, they act as fluxes and lower the melting temperature of the mantle sufficiently to produce the distinctive magmas of subduction zones. The characteristic magmas of subduction zones are andesites, but more-silicic magmas are found there as well. Some geologists think that the magmas of subduction zones are products of direct melting of the oceanic crust as it becomes hot in the subduction zone. Some of this magma is extruded at the surface as lava and forms an island arc or a chain of volcanoes in the mountain belt of the overriding plate. Usually most of the magma intrudes into the deformed mountain belt to produce batholiths. Both extrusion and intrusion add new material to the continental plate, and thus continents grow by accretion. This is an important mechanism in the differentiation of Earth, whereby less-dense material, enriched in elements such as Si, Al, K, and Na, is concentrated in the upper layers of the planet.

PRINCIPLES OF GEOLOGY REVIEW Back-arc spreading (extension and spreading of the sea floor behind the island arc) may also result at convergent plate margins, presumably as a result of complex convective eddies in the asthenosphere above the subducting plate or by pulling away of the adjacent plate Back-arc basin is characterized by crustal thinning and block faulting. The back-arc region is somewhat similar to a major spreading axis. The floors of the basins are young. Sediment is generally thin, and exposed rocks include fresh basalt. Heat flow is high, but there is no well-defined ridge or rift valley, and magnetic anomalies appear jumbled and unorganized.

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Processes at Transform Fault Boundaries Transform fault boundaries are zones of shearing where plates slide past each other without diverging or converging and without creating or destroying lithosphere. A transform fault, is simply a strikeslip fault between plates (that is, movement along it is horizontal and parallel to the fault). The term transform is used because the kind of motion between plates is changed transformedat the ends of the active part of the fault. Transform faults connect convergent and divergent plate boundaries in various combinations.

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Where segments of the oceanic ridge have been offset, a transform fault connects the two divergent plate boundaries and creates a major topographic feature called a fracture zone.
In fracture zones, the relative motion between the plates and seismic activity occur only in the area between the offset segments of the ridge. This zone is the only place where the fault forms a boundary between the plates. Beyond this zone, the plates on either side of the fracture are moving in the same direction and at the same rate and can be considered to be linked together. Note that the oceanic ridge is not being offset by motion along the transform fault. It was offset previously and may represent an old line of weakness in the rifted continental crust that preceded the development of oceanic crust.

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GEOLOGIC TIME
Catastrophism
CREATION was thought to have involved forces of tremendous violence, surpassing anything experienced in nature, in so short a time.

This was the generally accepted idea of how the Earth was formed
A noted French naturalist, Georges Cuvier (1769-1832) , an able student of fossils, concluded that each fossil species was unique to a given sequence of rocks. He cited this discovery in support of the theory that each fossil species resulted from a special creation and was subsequently destroyed by a catastrophic event.

Uniformitarianism
James Hutton (17621797) saw evidence that Earth had evolved by uniform, gradual processes over an immense span of time. He argued that past geologic events can be explained by natural processes we observe operating today, such as erosion by running water, volcanism, and gradual uplift of Earths crust. The concept of Uniformitarianism - the laws of nature do not change with time .

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UNCONFORMITIES
Geologic time is continuous; it has no gaps. In any sequence of rocks, however there are many major discontinuities (unconformities) that indicate significant interruptions in the rock-forming processes. At least four major events are involved in the development of an angular unconformity: (1) an initial period of sedimentation during which the older strata are deposited in a near-horizontal position.

(2) a subsequent period of deformation during which the first sedimentary sequence is folded

(3) development of an erosional surface on the folded sequence of rock, and

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(4) a period of renewed sedimentation and the development of a younger sequence of sedimentary rocks on the old erosional surface. The relationship, in which plutonic igneous or metamorphic rocks are overlain by sedimentary shale, is called a NONCONFORMITY. This implies four major events: (1) the formation of an ancient sequence of rocks (2) intrusion of granite and/or metamorphism (3) uplift and erosion to remove the cover and expose the granites or metamorphic rocks at the surface

(4) subsidence and deposition of younger sedimentary rocks on the eroded surface.

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When the rock strata above and below the erosion surface are parallel, a DISCONFORMITY is formed

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RELATIVE DATING
Relative dating is simply determining the chronologic order of a sequence of events.

No quantitative or absolute length of time in days or years is deduced.


An event can only be inferred to have occurred earlier or later than another. To establish the relative ages of these events is to determine their proper chronologic order. To apply relative dating, we utilize several principles of remarkable simplicity and universality:

1) The Principle of Superposition


It states that in a sequence of undeformed sedimentary rock, the oldest beds are on the bottom and the higher layers are successively younger. The relative ages of rocks in a sequence of sedimentary beds can thus be determined from the order in which they were deposited

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2) The Principle of Faunal Succession


States that groups of fossil animals and plants occur in the geologic record in a definite and determinable order and that a period of geologic time can be recognized by its characteristic fossils. Fossils provide geologists with a means of establishing relative dates.

3) The Principle of Crosscutting Relations


States that igneous intrusions and faults are younger than the rocks they cut. Crosscutting relations can be complex, however, and careful observation may be required to establish the correct sequence of events.

4) The Principle of Inclusion


States that a fragment of a rock incorporated or included in another is older than the host rock.

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Succession in Landscape Development


Many landforms evolve through a definite series of stages. The composite diagram in the Figure below shows several kinds of crosscutting relationships as well as unconformities and superposition of major rock bodies. The major rock bodies, faults, and unconformities are labeled by letters arranged in alphabetical order from oldest (A) to youngest (N). The same events are listed in sequence from the youngest (N, top) to the oldest (A, bottom) in the accompanying table.

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1) The oldest rocks in the diagram are the metamorphic rocks, A.


2) the granite, B, intrudes these rocks and is younger; but the granite is not in contact with the tilted strata, U, so their age relationship is not certain. 3) An erosional surface, C, developed on the metamorphic terrain 4) A sequence of sedimentary rocks, D, were deposited. 5) These rocks were then intruded by dikes and sills, E. 6) Faults, F, displaced the sequence D. 7) Widespread erosion then occurred, developing the unconformity, G, which cuts across all of the units A-F.

8) The sequence of horizontal rocks H, was then deposited.


9) Two igneous intrusions, I and J, occurred. Intrusion I formed a laccolith, whereas J formed a dike and sill. 10) From crosscutting relationships, intrusionJ is older than the fault, K, and the volcanic rocks, M. 11) Lava flow, M, is younger than the alluvial fan, L. Both are cut by recurrent movement on fault K. Note the amount of displacement along the fault of the sedimentary rocks, H, and the small amount of displacement of the fan, L, and lava flow, M. judging from the lack of erosion on the volcanoes, it would appear that the cones are very young features.

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THE STANDARD GEOLOGIC COLUMN


Using the principles of superposition and faunal succession, geologists have determined the chronological sequence of rocks throughout broad regions of every continent and have constructed a standard geologic time scale that serves as a calendar for the history of Earth.

The original subdivision of the geologic column was based simply on the sequence of rock formations in their superposed order as they are found in Europe.
Rocks in other areas of the world that contain the same fossil assemblages as a given part of the European succession are considered to be of the same age and commonly are referred to by the same names.

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Nomenclature of the Geologic Column


The Precambrian represented by a group of highly complex metamorphic and igneous rocks, which form a large volume of the continental crust. To produce these rocks, great thicknesses of sedimentary and volcanic rocks were intensely folded and faulted and were intruded with granitic rock. Precambrian rocks contain only a very few fossils of the more primitive forms of life. Arrangement of individual rock layers in their proper detailed stratigraphic sequence is therefore difficult if not impossible in this group of rocks. The structure is too complex. The Paleozoic Era Rocks younger than the Precambrian are much less complex and contain great numbers of fossils, permitting geologists to identify them worldwide. Paleozoic means ancient life; they contain numerous fossils of marine organisms, primitive fish, and amphibians. The era is subdivided into periods distinguished largely according to the rock formations of Great Britain. Cambrian comes from Cambria, the Latin name for Wales, where these rocks were first studied. In most areas of the world, Cambrian rocks rest on the highly deformed Precambrian metamorphic complex.

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Ordovician is derived from the name of an ancient Welsh tribe, the Ordovices. Ordovician strata overlie the Cambrian but differ in the types of fossils they contain.
Silurian designates rocks are exposed on the border of Wales, a territory originally inhabited by a British tribe, the Silures. Devonian was first used to refer to rocks exposed in Devonshire, England.

Carboniferous is the name of a sequence of coal-bearing formations that lie above the Devonian rocks. In the United States, Carboniferous rocks are subdivided into two major units:Pennsylvanian (named after the state of Pennsylvania) and the Mississippian (named after the upper Mississippi valley).
Permian was introduced to refer to rocks exposed over much of the province of Perm, Russia, just west of the Ural Mountains. The Mesozoic Era Mesozoic means middle life. The term is used for this period of geologic time because the presence of fossil reptiles and a significant number of more modern fossil invertebrates dominates these rocks. The Mesozoic Era includes three periods:

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Triassic refers not to a geographic location hut to the striking threefold division of the rocks overlying the Paleozoic in Germany. Jurassic was first introduced for strata outcropping in the Jura Mountains.

Cretaceous refers to the chalk formations in France and England, The name is derived from the Latin creta, chalk.
The Cenozoic Era Cenozoic means recent life. Fossils in these rocks include many types closely related to modern forms, including mammals, modern plants, and invertebrates. The Cenozoic Era has two periods: Tertiary is a term held over from the first attempts to subdivide the geologic record into three divisionsPrimary, Secondary, and Tertiary The companion divisions, Primary and Secondary, have been replaced by Precarnbrian, Paleozoic, and Mesozoic. Quaternary is the name proposed for very recent deposits, which contain fossils of species with living representatives. The geologic column by itself indicates only the relative ages of the major periods in Earths history. It tells us nothing about the specific duration of time represented by a period.

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RADIOMETRIC MEASUREMENTS OF ABSOLUTE TIME


Radiometrlc dating provides a method for measuring geologic time directly in terms of a specific number of years (absolute dating). It has been used extensively during the last 60 years to provide an absolute time scale for the events in Earths history. Principle Radioactive isotopes are unstable: their nuclei spontaneously disintegrate, transforming them into completely different atoms. Each radioactive substance disintegrates at its own rate and that for many substances the rate is extremely slow. The rate of radioactive decay is defined In terms of half-life, the time it takes for half of the nuclei in the sample to decay. In one half life, half of the original atoms decay. In a second half life, half of the remainder (or a quarter of the original atoms) decay. In a third half life, half of the remaining quarter decay and so on.

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The time elapsed since the formation of a crystal containing a radioactive element can be calculated from the rate at which that particular element decays. The amount of the radioactive element remaining in the crystal (parent isotope) is simply compared with the amount of the disintegration product (daughter isotope).

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Another important radioactive clock uses the decay of carbon-14 (C), or radiocarbon, which has a half life of 5730 years. (REVIEW PRINCIPLE)

THE RADIOMETRIC TIME SCALE


The currently accepted geologic time scale is based on the standard geologic column, established by faunal succession and superposition, plus the finite radiometric dates of rocks that can he placed precisely in the column. Each dating system provides a cross-check on the other because one is based on relative time and the other on absolute time.

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From this radiometric time scale we can make several general conclusions about the history of Earth and geologic time.
1) Present evidence indicates that the age of Earth is about 4.5 to 4.6 billion years. 2) The Precambrian constitutes more than 80% of geologic time. 3) Phanerozoic time (the Paleozoic and later) began about 570 million years ago. Rocks deposited since Precambrian time can be correlated worldwide by means of fossils, and the dates of many important events during their formation can be determined from radiometric dating. 4) Some major events in Earths history are difficult to place in their relative positions on the geologic column but can be dated by radiometric methods.

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MASS MOVEMENT
Mass movement the movement of surface material caused by gravity. Factors contributing to mass movement 1) Gravity provides the energy for the downslope movement of surface debris and bedrock 2) Water surface tension of interstitial water gives a certain cohesion to the soil. When heavy rain forces all the air out of the pore spaces, this surface tension is completely destroyed and the whole mass becomes susceptible to downslope movement. 3) Air air trapped beneath rapidly moving masses of rock debris acts as cushion to reduce the friction of the debris with the ground, making possible high velocity movement of rock slides. 4) Angle of repose the maximum slope at which rock or other loose material can remain stable. If that angle is exceeded, the material begins to move downslope. Coarser and more angular materials have higher angles of repose than finer and rounded materials.

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5) Vegetation tends to stabilize the soil on a slope; its absence promotes erosion and mass movements. 6) Climate in higher latitudes, downslope movement may be promoted by freeze-thaw cycles. Heavy rainfall in tropical climates tend to saturate the ground to promote mass movements. 7) Rock type certain rock types, such as shale, may become very slick when wet so that overlying rock layers may slide along the shale. 8) Structures bedding planes and alignment of crystals, as well as joints and faults may present planes along which material may be weaker. 9) Seismicity provides additional energy, especially where material is disposed at a critical angle of stability.

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Types of mass movement i) Slump also called slope failure; the downward and outward movement of rock or unconsolidated material traveling as a unit or as a series of units along a curved plane.

ii) Rockslide the most catastrophic of all mass movements; sudden, rapid slides of bedrock along planes of weakness.

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iii) Rockfall free fall of rocks from steep cliffs.

iv) Debris slides a small, rapid movement of largely unconsolidated material that slides or rolls downward and produces a surface of low hummocks with small intervening depressions.

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b) Debris flow consists of mixtures of rock fragments, mud and water that flows downslope as a viscous fluid.

i) Mudflow debris flow consisting of a large percentage of silt and clay particles, usually resulting from sudden heavy rain or thaw. Their water content may be as much as 30%.
ii) Lahar or volcanic mudflow; consisting of abundant loose pyroclastic material that has accumulated at the foot of a recently erupted volcano, and which has been remobilized by heavy rain or thaw.

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c) Earthflow the plastic movement of unconsolidated material lying in solid bedrock, usually helped along by excessive moisture.
d) Talus a slope built up by the accumulation of rock fragments at the foot of a cliff or ridge.

e) Subaqueous mass movement water-saturated sediments flowing or sliding downslope of the seafloor.

f) Subsidence downward movement of earth material lying at or near the surface; movement is essentially vertical with little or no horizontal component. Subsidence may be induced by solution of underlying rocks in limestone areas, large underground mining (e.g., block-caving), or too much pumping of groundwater.

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2) Slow movements more difficult to recognize, they operate over long periods of time. They are probably responsible for the transportation of more material than rapid and violent movements of rock and soil. a) Creep the slow downward movement of surface material that operates even on gentle slopes with a protective cover of grass and trees. b) Solifluction (from the Latin solum or soil and fluere, to flow) refers to the downslope movement of debris under saturated conditions; most pronounced in higher latitudes, where there is alternating freeze and thaw of the ground.

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GROUNDWATER
Groundwater water contained within the openings (pores, fractures, etc.) of the rocks beneath the Earths surface.

POROSITY AND PERMEABILITY Porosity the percentage of the openings within a given volume of rock; it determines how much water a rock mass can hold. 4 main types of pore spaces: 1) Spaces between mineral grains In sand and gravel deposits, pores space can constitute from 12 to 45%. The infilling of pore spaces by smaller grains reduces porosity. 2) Fractures All rocks are cut by fractures, and in some dense rocks (e.g., granite), fractures constitute the only significant pore spaces. 3) Solution cavities some limestones have high porosity because this rock is soluble in water, forming pits and holes. Movement of water along bedding planes and joints may result in solution cavities which may become caves. 4) Vesicles Vesicles are commonly concentrated near the top of a lava flow and form zones of very high porosity.

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Groundwater

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Permeability the capacity of a rock to transmit a fluid; it varies with the fluids viscosity,
hydrostatic pressure (the pressure within a given point of a fluid at rest), the size of the openings, and the degree of interconnection between the openings. THE WATER TABLE Zone of aeration the zone above the water table which is partly filled with air and partly filled with water; the water forms a thin film, clinging to grains by surface tension. Zone of saturation below the zone of aeration, where all the pores are filled with water.

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Water table the upper surface of the zone of saturation. In general, the water table tends to mimic the surface topography. The water table is at the surface in lakes, swamps and most streams. In arid regions, most streams lie above the water table, so they loose much of their water through seepage into the surface. Perched water table - is produced when an impermeable layer (e.g., shale) occurs within the zone of aeration. If a perched water table extends to the side of a valley, springs and seeps occur.

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The movement of groundwater Hydraulic head the difference in elevation between parts of the water table. Base of groundwater also called lower limit, occurring at considerable depths, all pore spaces in the rocks are closed by high pressure, and there is no free water. Natural and artificial discharge Natural discharge occurs wherever the water table intersects the surface of the ground (stream channels, floors and banks of marshes, lakes). It provides the major link between groundwater reservoirs and other parts of the hydrologic cycle. Spring a place where groundwater flows or seeps naturally to the surface. Well holes dug into the ground to reach the zone of saturation, in order to access the fluid.

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Cone of depression the cone-shaped line of the water table as it is depressed due to pumping of fluid from a well.

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Artesian water confined in an aquifer between impermeable beds. It is under pressure, like water in a pipe; where a well or fracture intersects it, the aquifer water rises in the opening, producing a flowing well or an artesian spring. The occurrence of artesian water requires: 1) The rock sequence must contain interbedded permeable and impermeable strata (e.g., sandstone and shale). The permeable beds are called aquifers. 2) The rocks must be tilted and exposed in an elevated area where water can infiltrate into the aquifer. 3) Sufficient precipitation and surface drainage must occur in the outcrop area to keep the aquifer filled.

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Thermal springs and geysers Groundwater migrating through areas of recent igneous activity or hot rocks becomes heated and, when dicharged to the surface, produces thermal springs and geysers. Geyser a thermal spring that intermittently erupts steam and boiling water. (REVIEW HOW GEYSERS FORM) Geothermal energy energy useful to human beings that can be extracted from steam and hot water found within the Earths crust. It can be used directly to heat the homes in winter countries (e.g., Iceland), or steam can be used to run electric generators to provide electricity.

Erosion by groundwater Slow-moving groundwater can dissolve huge quantities of soluble rock (e.g., limestone, gypsum) and carry it away in solution. It transports the dissolved mineral matter and either discharges it into other parts of the hydrologic system or deposits it within the pore spaces within the rock. Groundwater erosion starts with water percolating through joints, faults and bedding planes and dissolving the soluble rock. In time, the fractures enlarge to form a subterranean network of caves.

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Sinkhole produced when caves frow larger until the roof collpses and a crater-like depression results. Caves a naturally formed subterranean open area, chamber, or series of chambers, commonly produced in limestone by solution activity.

Karst topography a distinctive type of terrain resulting largely from erosion by groundwater, characterized by sinkholes, solution valleys, rounded hills and knobs and other features produced by groundwater activity. Tower karst a particular type of karst topography developed in tropical areas where dissolution is at a maximum because of the abundance of water from heavy rainfall. It is characterized by steep, cone-like hills.
Deposition by groundweater The mineral matter dissolved by groundwater can be deposited in a variety of ways. The change from solution to precipitation is commonly caused by lowering of the water table, because the main solution processes occur in the zone of saturation, and precipitation occurs in the zone of aeration after the pore spaces and caves have been drained. Dripstone collective term for groundwater deposits formed from by precipitation from slow percolating and dripping groundwater rich in mineral matter.

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Evolution of stalactites, stalagmites and columns Stalactite an icicle-chaped deposit of dripstone hanging from the roof of a cave. Stalagmite a conical deposit of dripstone built up from a cavefloor. Drip curtain a thin sheet of dripstone hanging from the ceiling or wall of a cave; it may follow the trace of a fracture on the ceiling or wall. Travertine terraces terraced deposits of calcium carbonate deposited by flowing pools of water on the cave floor or carbonate-rich water discharged along a slope. These deposits, however, are trivial compared to the amount of material deposited in the pore spaces of a rock.

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Hot spring deposits calcium carbonate deposition, usually of travertine, from hot springs in geothermal areas. PROBLEMS OF GROUNDWATER SYSTEM Pollution Any concentration of chemical or waste creates local pockets that potentially can contaminate the groundwater reservoir. Leaching the process by which groundwater dissolves and transports soluble components of rock or soil, usually downward or down-gradient. Leachate the solution produced by leaching. Material that is leached from waste disposal sites, including both biological and chemical contaminants, can pollute the groundwater system. Saltwater encroachment too much pumping in places near seawater may cause incursion of saltwater into the water table Changes in the position of the water table - Raising of the water table by too much irrigation can produce springs where there were no springs before, inducing erosion and mass wasting. Lowering of the water table, in turn could result in droughts and subsidence. Subsidence -the sinking or settling of a part of the Earths crust with respect to the surrounding parts.

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River Systems
River system a network of connecting channels through which water, precipitated on the surface, is collected and funneled back to the ocean. MAJOR CHARACTERISTICS: A river system or a drainage basin consists a main channel and all the tributaries (a stream flowing into or joining a larger stream) that flow into it. The surface of the ground slopes toward the network of tributaries. It is bounded by a divide (ridge) beyond which water is drained by another system. Within a river system, the surface of the ground slopes toward the network of tributaries, so the drainage system acts as a funneling mechanism for removing surface runoff (water that flows over the land surface) and weathered rock debris.
3 subsystems of a river system: 1) Collecting system consists of a network of tributaries in the headwater (the higher portions of the river), which collects and funnels water and sediment to the main stream. 2) Transporting system the main trunk stream, which functions as a channelway through which water and sediment move from the collecting area toward the ocean. It may also collect additional water and sediment.

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3) Dispersing system - consists of a network of distributaries (stream branches into which a river divides where it reaches its delta) at the mouth of a river, where sediment and water are dispersed into an ocean, a lake or a dry basin. The major process is deposition.

Parts of a drainage system

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Order in stream systems


Individual streams and their valleys are joined together into networks. We can rank the relationship of theses streams using a hierarchy. Small headwater streams can be ranked as 1st order. Two 1st order streams would combine to form a 2nd order stream, and so on.

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Stream pattern The overall pattern developed by a system of streams and tributaries depends partly on the nature of the underlying rocks and partly on the history of the streams. The most common stream patterns are:

1) Dendritic or treelike, it develops when the underlying bedrock is uniform in its resistance to erosion. 2) Radial streams radiate outward in all directions from a central high, likely to develop on the flanks of a volcano. 3) Rectangular occurs when the underlying bedrock is criss-crossed by fractures, the streams flow at nearly right angles to each other. 4) Trellis consisting of parallel streams that develop on alternating resistant and non-resistant rocks.

3 1

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DYNAMICS OF STREAM FLOW The most important variables in stream dynamics: 1) Discharge the amount of water passing a given point during a specific interval of time, usually measured in cubic meters per second. Groundwater seepage is important because it can maintain the flow of water throughout the year. Continual seepage establishes permanent streams. If the supply of groundwater is depleted seasonally, streams become intermittent, dry during low rainfall (or dry) season, becoming alive again with increased rainfall.

2) Velocity
The velocity of water is not uniform throughout the stream channel, and depends on the shape and roughness of the channel and on the stream pattern. Velocity is usually greatest at the center of the channel and above the deepest part, away from the frictional drag of the channel walls and floor. As the channel curves, the zone of maximum velocity shifts to the outside bend, and a zone of minimum velocity forms on the inside of the curve.

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VARIATIONS IN STREAM VELOCITY

STREAM FLOW PATTERN

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3) Stream gradient the slope of the stream channel. The gradient is steepest in the
headwaters and decreases downslope. The longitudinal profile (a cross section of a stream from its headwaters to its mouth) is a smooth, concave upward curve that becomes very flat at the lower end of the stream. 4) Sediment load the amount of suspended and dissolved matter that the river transports. The capacity of a stream to transport sediment increase to a 3rd or 4th poweer of its velocity, i.e., doubling the velocity will increase the transporting capacity of the stream by 8 to 16 times. Sediment is transported in 3 ways: a) Suspended load generally the largest fraction of material moved by a river, mostly consisting of silt and clay, or particles that remain in suspension most of the time and move downward at the velocity of flowing water. b) Bed load particles of sediment too large to remain in suspension, such that they collect on the stream bottom. Thee particles move by sliding, rolling and saltation transportation of particles by wind or water through a series of bouncing movements). The bed load moves only when there is sufficient velocity to move the large particles. c) Dissolved load matter transported in the form of chemical ions and is essentially invisible. The most abundant materials in solution are calcium and bicarbonate ions, but also includes Na, Mg, chloride, ferric and sulfate ions. Organic acids are also present.

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Movement of sediment load

Base level the lowest level to which the stream can erode its channel. It is, in effect, the elevation of the streams mouth where the stream enters the ocean, or lake, or another stream.
PROCESSES OF STREAM EROSION River systems erode the landscape by three main processes: 1) Removal of regolith loose rock debris is washed downslope into the drainage systemand is transported as sediment load in streams and rivers. Soluble material is carried in solution. 2) Downcutting of stream channels this process is accomplished by abrasion (mechanical wearing away of rock by friction, rubbing, scraping, or grinding). Of the channel floor by sand and gravel as they are swept downstream by the flowing water. Sometimes, the rotational movement of sand, gravel and boulders acts like a drill and cuts deep holes called potholes.

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3) Headward erosion streams have a universal tendency to erode headward, or upslope, to increase the length of their valleys, until they reach the divide.

With headward erosion, the following can be accomplished: a) Stream piracy or capture occurs when the tributaries of one stream extends upslope and intersects the middle course of another stream, thus diverting the headwater of one stream to the other.

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b) Superposed stream a stream with a course originally established on a cover of rock now removed by erosion, so that the stream or drainange system is independent of the newly exposed rocks and structures. Consider the following example:

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1) Initially, a dendritic pattern on horizontal sedimentary rocks covering older folded strata is established.

2) Regional uplift causes erosionto remove the horizontal sediments, so that older, folded rocks are exposed at the surface. The dendritic drainage pattern is then superposed upon the folded rocks

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3) Streams cut across resistant and nonresistant rocks alike

4) Rapid headward erosion along exposurtes of weak rocks results in stream capture and modification of the original dendritic pattern to a trellis pattern.

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PROCESSES OF STREAM DEPOSITION 1) Floodplain the flat, occasionally flooded area bordering a stream. It is usually covered with large quantities of sediments. Certain features are developed:

a) Meanders and pointbars Meanders are broad, looping bends in a river.

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Point bar a crescent-shaped accumulation of sand and gravel depoisted on the inside of a
meander bend. Oxbow lake a lake formed in the channel of an abandoned meander.

b) Natural levees a broad, low embankment built up along the banks of a river channel
during floods. Flooding significantly reduces stream velocity, causing deposition of some suspended sediments. The coarsest sediments are deposited close to the channel, creating natural levees.

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c) Backswamp the marshy area of a floodplain at some distance beyond and lower
than the natural levees that confine the river. It is swampy because it is poorly drained. Tributary streams in the backswamp are unable to flow upslope the natural levees, so they are forced to empty into the backswamp or to flow as yazoo streams, which flows parallel to the main stream for a considerable distance before joining it.

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d) Braided stream a stream with a


complex of diverging and converging channels separated by bars or islands. They form where more sediment is available than can be removed by the discharge of the stream.

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2) Alluvial valleys
Streams may fill part of their valleys with sediment, and then cut through the sediment fill, creating alluvial valleys. This is accompanied by the formation of stream terraces (a series of level surfaces in a stream valley representing the dissected remnants of an abandoned floodplain, stream bed of valley floor produced in a previous stage of erosion or deposition). Stream terraces develop as follows:

i) A stream cuts a valley by normal downcutting and headward erosion processes

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ii) Changes in climate, base level, denudation or other factors that reduce flow energy cause the stream to partially fill its valley with sediments, forming a broad, flat floor. iii) An increase in flow energy causes the stream to erode through the previously deposited alluvium.

iv) The stream shifts laterally and forms lower terraces as subsequent changes cause it to erode though the older valley fill.

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3) Delta a large, roughly triangular body of sediment deposited at the mouth of a


river. As a river enters a lake or ocean, its velocity suddenly diminished and most of its sediment load is deposited to from the delta. 2 major processes are fundamental to the formation of a delta: a) The splitting of a stream into a distributary channel system, which extends into the open water in a branching pattern b) The development of local breaks, called crevasses, in natural levees, through which sediment is diverted and deposited as splays in the area between distributaries.

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Shoreline systems
WAVES Wave generation As wind moves over the open ocean, the turbulent air distorts the surface of the water. Gusts of wind depress the surface where they move downward, and as they move upward, they cause a decrease in pressure, elevating the water surface. These changes in pressure produce irregular, wavy surface in the ocean and transfer part of the winds energy to the water. Wave motion in water Wavelength the horizontal distance between adjacent wave crests (the highest part of a wave) or adjacent wave troughs (the lowest part of the trough between successive crests).

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Wave height the vertical distance between wave crest and wave trough. Wave period also known as frequency, is the time between the passage of two
successive crests. Wave motion has a circular orbit. A floating object move forward as the crest of a wave approaches and then sink back into the following trough.

The morphology of a wave

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Beneath the surface this orbital motion dies out rapidly, becoming negligible at a depth equal to about the wavelength. This level is known as the wave base.

Fig. 16.3

The energy of a wave depends on its length and height the greater the wave height, the greater the size of the orbit, and the deeper is the wave base.

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Breakers As a wave approaches shallow water: 1) the wavelength decreases because the wave base touches the ocean bottom, and the resulting friction gradually slows down the wave. 2) The wave height increases as the column of water encounters the sea floor and is pushed up. 3) The wave height continues to increase, while the velocity decreases, and acritical point is reached at which the wave crest extends beyond the support range of the underlying column of water, and the wave collapses or breaks 4) At this point, all the water in the column moves forward, releasing its energy as a wall of moving, turbulent surf called a breaker. Swash the rush of water up onto a beach after a wave breaks; it causes the landward movement of sand and gravel. Backwash the return sheet flow down a beach after a wave is spent.; some of the water, however, seeps into the sand and gravel

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WAVE REFRACTION Waves approaching a shore are bent, or refracted, so that energy is concentrated on headlands (an extension of land promontory, cape or peninsula seaward from the general trend of the coast) and dispersed in bays (wide, curving recesses or inlet between two headlands). Refraction occurs because the part of a wave in shallow water slows down, while segments in deeper water move forward at normal velocity.

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LONGSHORE DRIFT Development of longshore drift 1) As a wave strikes the shore at an angle of <90, water and sediment are transported obliquely up the beach in the direction of the waves advance. 2) When the energy of the wave is spent, the water and sediment return with the backwash directly down the beach, perpendicular to the shore. This process is known as beach drift. 3) A similar process that develops in the breaker zone is called a longshore current, which transports material in suspension and by saltation. 4) The combined action of 2) and 3) is called longshore drift. If the wave is constant, longshore drift occurs in one direction only. It can be reversed when there are seasonal changes in the angle of the waves approach to the shore. Longshore currents can pile significant volumes of water on the beach, which return seaward through the breaker zone as a narrow rip current, which can be dangerous to swimmers.

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COASTAL EROSION Erosion along coasts results from the abrasive action of sand and gravel moved by waves and currents and, to a lesser extent, from solution and hydraulic action. Coastal erosion produces certain landforms: Sea cliff or wave-cut cliff, produced where steeply sloping land descends beneath the water, and waves cut a notch into the bedrock at sea level. The cliff ultimately collapses, and fallen debris is removed by wave action, after which the process is repeated.

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As the sea cliff retreats, a wave-cut platform is produced at its base. Sediment derived from the erosion of the cliff and transported by longshore drift may be deposited in deeper water to form wave-built terrace. Stream valleys that formerly reached the coast at sea level are shortened and left as hanging valleys when the cliff recedes. As the platform is enlarged, the waves break progressively farther from the shore, wave action on the cliff is reduced, and beaches can then develop at the base of the cliff.

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Sea caves, sea arches and sea stacks Sea cave cave formed by wave action, usually from the erosion of joint systems and fault planes in the rock. Sea arch an arch formed by the erosion from two opposite sides of a headland. Sea stack an isolated pinnacle that remains after a sea stack collapses.

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DEPOSITION ALONG COASTS Sediment transported along the shore is deposited in areas of low energy and produces a variety of landforms Beach a shore built of unconsolidated sediment. Sand is the most common material, but some beaches are composed of cobbles and boulders, and others of fine silt and clay. Beaches composed of fine-grained material are generally flatter. Spit a sandy bar projecting from the mainland into the open water, formed by deposition of sediment by longshore drift. It usually forms where a straight shoreline is indented by bays or estuaries (bays at the mouths of rivers formed by subsidence of the sand or rise in sea level, and where fresh and seawater mixes.

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Tombolo a beach or bar connecting an island to the mainland, formed by the islands effect on wave refraction and longshore drift.

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Barrier island long, low offshore islands of sediment trending parallel to the shore. They are typically separated from the mainland by a shallow lagoon.

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Tectonic uplift may elevate sea cliffs and wave-cut platforms, resulting in elevated marine terraces.

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REEFS A reef is a solid structure built of shells and other secretions of marine organisms, particularly coral. Most grow and thrive only in the warm, shallow waters of semitropical and tropical regions.

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Reef ecology The marine life that forms a reef can flourish only under strict conditions of temperature, salinity and water depth. 1) Most modern coral (a bottom-dwelling marine invertebrate organism of the class Anthozoa) reefs occur in warm tropical waters between the limits of 30 south and north latitudes. 2) Colonial reefs cannot live in water deeper than 76 m, because they need sunlight 3) They survive only if the salinity of the water ranges from 27-40 ppt. Thus, corals are good indicators of past climatic, geographic and tectonic conditions. Types of reefs

Fringing reefs generally ranging from 0.5 to 1 km wide, are attached to shores of
volcanic islands. The corals grow seaward toward their food supply. They are usually absent near deltas and mouths of rivers where the waters are muddy. Barrier reefs are separated from the mainland by a lagoon, which can be >20 km wide.

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Atolls roughly circular reefs that rise from deep water, enclosing a shallow lagoon in
which there is noe exposed landmass. They are the most common type of coral reef. Over 330 are known. Drilling into the coral reefs confirm Darwin;s theory on the origin of atolls. Platform reefs grow in isolated patches in warm, shallow water on the continental shelf.

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TIDES On most shorelines, the sea advances and retreats in a regular rhythm twice in approximately 24 hours. These changes are called tides. The origin of tides was not known until Newton showed how tides arise from the gravitational attraction of the Moon and the Earth.

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The gravitational force exerted by the moon tends to pull the oceans facing the Moon into a bulge.another tidal bulge, on the opposite side of the Earth, is caused by centrifugal force. Earth and Moon lies at the same center of gravity, about 4500 km from the center of the Earth. The eccentric motion of the Earth as it revolves around this center of gravity creates a large centrifugal force, which forms the second tidal bulge. Earth rotates beneath the bulges, so the tides rise and fall twice every 24 hours. TSUNAMI Movement of the ocean floor by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions or submarine landslides frequently produces an unusual wave called a tsunami (from the Japanese word for harbor wave), which has a long wavelength and travels across the ocean at great speeds. As tsunami approach the shore, wavelengths decrease and their wave heights increase. Therefore, tsunami can be formidable agents of destruction along shorelines.