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STAAR Vocabulary Review


to test or verify (a scientific experiment) by a parallel experiment or other standard of comparison.

Topographic Map

a map showing topographic features, usually by means of contour lines.


the crust and upper mantle of the earth.

Plate Tectonics

a theory of global tectonics in which the lithosphere is divided into a number of crustal plates, each of which moves on the plastic asthenosphere more or less independently to collide with, slide under, or move past adjacent plates.

Convection Current

the transfer of heat by the mass movement of heated particles into an area of cooler fluid.

Plate Boundary

are found at the edge of the lithospheric plates and are of three types, convergent, divergent and conservative.

Convergent Boundary

a plate boundary where two plates move toward each other.

Divergent Boundary

a plate boundary where two plates move away from each other.

Transform Boundary

a plate boundary where two plates move past each other in opposite directions.

Sea-floor Spreading

when two oceanic plates pull apart, magma rises and new crust is formed.


molten material beneath or within the earth's crust, from which igneous rock is formed.


the molten, fluid rock that issues from a volcano or volcanic vent.


the various mechanical and chemical processes that cause exposed rock to decompose.


process in which sediment is laid down in new locations.


the process by which the surface of the earth is worn away by the action of water, glaciers, winds, waves, etc.


the process by which collision of the earth's crustal plates results in one plate's being drawn down or overridden by another, localized along the juncture (subduction zone) of two plates.

Metamorphic Rock

A type of rock that forms from an existing rock that is changed by heat, pressure, or chemical reactions.

Igneous Rock

a type of rock that forms from the cooling of molten rock at or below the surface.

Sedimentary Rock

A type of rock that forms when particles from other rocks or the remains of plants and animals are pressed and cemented together.

Rock Cycle

sequence of events in which rocks are formed, destroyed, altered, and reformed by geological processes.

Water Cycle

the continuous process by which water moves from Earth's surface to the atmosphere and back.


the region or area drained by a river, stream, etc.; drainage area.


any geological formation containing or conducting ground water, especially one that supplies the water for wells, springs, etc.


the falling to earth of any form of water (rain or snow or hail or sleet or mist).


the process of changing from a gaseous to a liquid or solid state.


the filtration of a liquid for extraction or purification.

Mechanical/ Physical Weathering

no chemical alteration; just breakdown/disintegration into smaller fragments.

Chemical Weathering

the process in which rock is broken down by changes in its chemical makeup.


a system formed by the interaction of a community of organisms with their environment.

Abiotic Factors

the nonliving parts of an ecosystem.

Biotic Factors

the living parts of an ecosystem.


any organism that exists by preying upon other organisms.


an animal hunted or seized for food, especially by a carnivorous animal.


organism that can capture energy from sunlight or chemicals and use it to produce food from inorganic compounds; also called an autotroph.


an organism, usually an animal, that feeds on plants or other animals.


an animal or other organism that feeds on dead organic matter.


a scavenger, such as an earthworm, that feeds on dead plant and animal matter.


an organism that lives on or in an organism of another species, known as the host, from the body of which it obtains nutriment.


a living animal or plant from which a parasite obtains nutrition.


a herbivorous (organism that eats plants) animal.


an animal that eats flesh.


an organism that eats both meat and plants.

Food Web

a community of organisms where there are several interrelated food chains.

Food Chain

a series of steps in which organisms transfer energy by eating and being eaten.

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