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inner core

a very dense layer at the center of the earth, rich in nickel and iron, which is thought to be solid

outer core

the layer of dense liquid rock that surrounds the inner core


the solid layer at the surface of the planet

continental crust

thicker and makes up continental land masses

oceanic crust

relatively thin surface of the earth which lies under the oceans

tectonic plates

crust is divided into large sections


82% of the earth's volume is contained in the layer & lies between the core and the crust


the upper layer of the mantle created heat and pressure.


the thin, rigid layer of the mantle just above the asthenosphere and the crust

geologic time

Geologic events and changes

theory of plate tectonics

theory of plates meeting at boundaries, which differ based on the direction of the plates' movements at these boundaries

convergent boundary

formed where plates are moving toward each other

divergent boundaries

formed where tectonic plates are moving away from each other

Transform boundaries

formed where plates slide past one another


fractures in the lithosphere at this type of boundary


the vibrations in the lithosphere that result from the movement of plates


an earthquake is the point on the surface of the earth directly above the focal point

focal point

the underground location where the energy from the quake is released


a large tidal wave initiated by movements of the seafloor


formed by molten rock from the asthenosphere


magma when it reaches the earth's surface


the physical features of the land


the vertical distance, or height, above sea level


how far a point is north or south of the equator


how many degrees to the east or west of the Prime Meridian a point is

topographic map

the elevation of the physical features of the land using contour lines

Contour lines

drawn on the map along specific elevations of the ground

contour interval

The vertical distance between contour lines representing the elevation change

Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

A new technology many scientists use to visualize landforms and other landscape information

depositional processes

Surface events that build up the land

erosional processes

Events that wear away the land


the process of moving loosened rock or soil away from where it was formed by wind, water, or gravity and depositing it elsewhere


large bodies of ice carve out valleys and erode mountains as they move slowly outward or downhill


rock that contains a mineral resource along with other unusable material

High-grade ore

ore from which the mineral is relatively easy to extract

Low-grade ore

ore in which the mineral is more difficult or more costly to extract


the commercial activity that harvests valuable minerals from the ground

surface mining

Layers of materials that may be covering the deposit

mining spoils

waste materials generated from mining, such as soil and rocks


the process of restoring the land to its original condition following a disturbance

subsurface mining

takes place if deposits are too deep for surface mining


the process by which a mineral resource is separated from an ore by heating

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