# Have you tried to guess the Earth’s age?

This world is far older than you can gage. Try, if you to count to four billion, then add an other six hundred million. Earth is older than you can see any river, mountain, valley, or tree. Mother Earth is four thousand, six hundred million years old (4,600 million = 4.6 billion), give or take a few hundred million years. It is older than anything you can see around you. The age of Earth is so long compared to all periods of time that we humans are familiar with, it has been given a special name: Geologic time. The age of Earth is as vast in time as the universe is vast in space. It is not easy to really get a "feel" for 4,600 million years! One way to try to get a "feel" for how big it is, is to break the number down into smaller pieces that perhaps we can understand. Just for fun you might try the activity, "What is a Million?" Then try to think about 4,600 million!
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Here we use another comparison to help show the span of time since the formation of Earth:

The odd names of the different time periods on the Staircase of Time were made up by geologists, who were the first people really interested in finding out the actual age of the Earth. Most of the names have to do with places where certain types of fossils were found.

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How Old is That Rock?
• How can you tell the age of a rock or to which geologic time period it belongs? One way is to look at any fossils the rock may contain. If any of the fossils are unique to one of the geologic time periods, then the rock was formed during that particular time period. Another way is to use the "What's on top?" rule. When you find layers of rocks in a cliff or hillside, younger rocks are on top of older rocks. But these two methods only give the relative age of rocks which are younger and which are older. How do we find out how old a rock is in years? Or how do we know how long ago a particular group of fossilized creatures lived? The age of a rock in years is called its absolute age. Geologists find absolute ages by measuring the amount of certain radioactive elements in the rock. When rocks are formed, small amounts of radioactive elements usually get included. As time passes, the "parent" radioactiv e elements change at a regular rate into non-radioactive "daughter" elements. Thus, the older a rock is, the larger the number of daughter elements and the smaller the number of parent elements are found in the rock.

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A common "parent-daughter" combination that geologists use is radioactive uranium and nonradioactive lead. As shown in the diagram at right, uranium is trapped in a newly formed rock. As the rock ages, more and more of the uranium changes into lead. The age of the rock in years can be found by measuring the rate at which a parent element decays and then measuring the ratio of parent element to daughter element in the rock. The ages in years of the different geological time periods are found by measuring the absolute ages of many rocks from all of the different periods. The absolute ages of some of the different geologic time periods are shown along the right side of the Staircase of Time. The steps of the Staircase of Time are drawn to be almost the same size, so you might think that the time periods are the same length, but they are not. The absolute ages of rocks taken from the different time periods have shown that the time periods were of greatly differing lengths. Some were very short, like the Quaternary period (only 2 million years), while others were very long, like the Proterozoic Era (almost 2 billion years). According to absolute-age measurements.
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Minerals are defined as naturally occurring, inorganic, solids with a definite chemical composition and a regular, internal crystalline structure.

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Hardness is one of the better physical properties for minerals Hardness is one measure of the strength of the structure of the mineral relative to the strength of its chemical bonds Hardness can be tested through scratching. A scratch on a mineral is actually a groove produced by micro fractures on the surface of the mineral A harder substance can only scratch a mineral. A hard mineral can scratch a softer mineral, but a soft mineral cannot scratch a harder mineral (no matter how hard you try). Therefore, a relative scale can be established to account for the differences in hardness simply by seeing which mineral scratches another. That is exactly what French mineralogist Friedrich Mohs Houideg Athmane Geologist Engineer hundred and seventy years ago. proposed almost one

For thousands, even millions of years, little pieces of our earth have been eroded-broken down and worn away by wind and water. These little bits of our earth are washed downstream where they settle to the bottom of the rivers, lakes, and oceans. Layer after layer of eroded earth is deposited on top of each. These layers are pressed down more and more through time, until the bottom layers slowly turn into rock

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Argillaceous Rocks Carbonate Rocks Siliceous Rocks Evaporites Rocks Organic Materials

Shale - Clay - Claystone - marl Limestone - Dolomite - Chalk Siltstone - Sand - Sandstone - Chert - Conglomerate Gypsum - Anhydrite - Halite Coal - Lignite - Bituminous Minerals

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1-Talc 2- Gypsum 3- Calcite 4- Fluorite 5- Apatite 6- Orthoclase 7- Quartz 8- Topaz 9- Corundum (ruby and sapphire) 10- Diamond

To remember the Mohs scale try remembering this phrase: The Geologist Can Find An Ordinary Quartz, (that) Tourists Call Diamond!

Physical Property

Definition Visible light spectrum radiation reflected from mineral

Testing Method Look at the sample and determine its colour - white, black, green, clear, etc. Use minerals of known hardness from the Mohs Hardness Kits. Scratch the unknown mineral with a known hardness to determine which mineral is harder. Continue doing this with harder or softer minerals from the kit until the hardness is determined.

COLOUR

HARDNESS

Resistance to scratching or abrasion

REACTION to HCL

Chemical interaction of Place one small drop of HCL on a sample a hydrochloric acid and watch for a reaction - effervesces (bubbles) calcium carbonate Houideg Athmane Geologist Engineer (CaCO3)

Composition

are made from the mineral calcite which came from the beds of evaporated seas and lakes and from sea animal shells Limestone rocks are sedimentary rocks, his rock is used in concrete and is an excellent building stone for humid regions, Limestone dissolves in rainwater more easily than other rocks Black Pink - Brown White - Grayish - Green Translucent Soft Firm - Friable - Indurate - Brittle

Characteristics

Colour Hardness

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CaMg(CO3)2 Ca: Calcium = 21.73 % Mg:Magnesium =13.18 % C:Carbon =13.03 % O:Oxygen = 52.06 % Reacts to HCL in its powdered form, similar properties to calcite, is similar to that of calcite, with alternate layers of calcium ions totally replaced by magnesium. This ordered arrangement of cations slightly impairs the overall symmetry of the structure but is essential to the stability of the mineral, Chemically and structurally it may be regarded as calcite with half the calcium ions replaced by magnesium , Dolomite in addition to the sedimentary beds is also found in metamorphic marbles, hydrothermal veins and replacement deposits Colour Hardness Density (g/cc) White, Gray, Reddish white, Brownish white, Gray 3.5 - 4 2.8 - 2.9

Composition

Characteristics

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FeS2

Composition

Fe: Iron = 46.55% S2:Sulfur = 53.45% "Fool's Gold“; abrasive, magnetic after heating, could be: sedimentary, magmatic, metamorphic, and hydrothermal deposits, not Radioactive, very dangerous on bits if shown as cement between Sandstone grains, but less dangerous if shown as nodules inclusions in Claystone gold metallic colour or Creamy white 6.5

Characteristics

Colour Hardness Density (g/cc)

5.01 Houideg Athmane Geologist Engineer

SiO2

Si: Silicon Composition Characteristics Colour Hardness Density (g/cc)

= 46.74 %

O: Oxygen =53.26 % is typically white or clear, abrasive, Sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous rocks, not Radioactive Clear, Transparent, Translucent, Vitreous, white, Brown, Colourless, Violet, Gray, Yellow 7(Mohs scale ), Hard to very hard 2.6 - 2.65

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Ca(SO4) (Calcium Sulphate)

Composition

Ca:Calcium = 29.44 % , S:Sulfur = 23.55 % = 47.01 %

O:Oxygen

Characteristics

A member of the evaporite group of minerals and the soft rock comprising anhydrite, formed by precipitation of Calcium Sulphate from evaporation of seawater, also after dehydration of Gypsum, Anhydrite can also form through the dehydration of gypsum, another sulphate mineral found in evaporites, Anhydrite may occur as a cap rock above salt domes, milky, grey, white 3.5 poorly indurate to moderately indurate, firm, well compacted

Colour Hardness

Density (g/cc) Geologist Engineer 2.97 Houideg Athmane

Composition

Grains of Quartz and Feldspar Sandstone rocks are sedimentary rocks made from small grains of the minerals quartz and feldspar. They often form in layers as seen in this picture. They are often used as building stones grey,white, yellowish, clear, transparent and translucent moderate indurate to well indurate, friable, could be moderately hard to very hard

Characteristics

Colour Hardness

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Composition

Is made of finer grains of Quartz and Feldspar Silt is a size term used for material that's smaller than sand (generally 0.1 millimeter), The field test for siltstone is that you can't see the individual grains, but you can feel them. Many geologists rub their teeth against the stone to detect the fine grit of silt brown, grey,white, yellowish moderate indurate to well indurate, friable, could be moderately hard

Characteristics

Colour Hardness

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Composition

Contains at least 50% of Aluminium Silicate, results to the decomposition of rocks rich in Feldspar, adsorb water to form a sticky material Shale rock is a type of sedimentary rock formed from clay that is compacted together by pressure. They are used to make bricks and other material that is fired in a kiln; impermeable black, occasinally brown, orange, dark grey, dark Plastic, soft, firm, hard, brittle, compacted to moderately compacted

Characteristics

Colour Hardness

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