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A solid homogeneous inorganic substances occurring in nature having a definite chemical composition.


A solid formed by the solidification of a chemical and having a highly regular atomic structure.


Molten rock in the earth's crust.


Atoms arranged in a pattern that is repeated over and over again.


Minerals that contain silicon and oxygen.


How easily a mineral can be scratched.

mohs scale

A scale used to determine the hardness of a mineral.

specific gravity

The relationship between the density of a material and the density of water.


The way a mineral relfects light.


The color of a mineral when it is in a powdered form.


The ability to break along smooth flat surfaces.


The tendency for minerals to break with jagged, uneven, or jagged surfaces.


Highly prized minerals because they are rare and beautiful.


A mineral or rock that contains a useful substance that can be mined at a profit.


A mixture of minerals, rock fragments, volcanic glass, organic matter, or other natural materials.

rock cycle

A model which shows the processes that create and change rocks.

igneous rock

Type of rock formed when hot magma cools and hardens.


Molten rock which has reached the earth's surface.

intrusive igneous rock

Type of rock formed from cooling magma below the earth's surface.

extrusive igneous rock

Type of rock formed from cooling lava above the earth's surface.

basaltic rock

Type of rock formed from magma which is rich in iron and magnesium. It is dark in color.

granitic rock

Type of rock formed from magma which has a low magnesium and iron content. Tends to be light in color.

andesitic rock

Type of rock with moderate amounts of magnesium and iron.

metamorphic rock

Type of rock which forms when heat and pressure cause chemical changes in existing rocks.


A type of texture where mineral grains line up in parallel layers.


Loose materials such as rock fragments, mineral grains, and bits of shell that have been moved by wind, water, ice, or gravity.


The tearing away of small pieces of rock due to wind, water, ice or gravity.

sedimentary rock

Type of rock that forms when sediments are pressed and cemented together.


A process which occurs when minerals such as quartz, calcite, and hematite are deposited between the pieces of sediment.

chemical sedimentary rock

A type of sedimentary rock formed when dissolved minerals come out of solution.

organic sedimentary rock

A type of sedimentary rock formed from the remains of once-living things.

fossil fuels

Fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas.


A rock that contains at least 50 percent plant remains.

synthetic fuel

A type of fuel extracted from solid organic material, or is created directly by humans.


A thick, black liquid formed from the buried remains of microscopic marine organisms.

natural gas

A hydrocarbon that is lighter than oil, but forms under similar conditions.


The amount of a fossil fuel that can be extracted at a profit using current technology.

nuclear energy

An alternate energy source produced from atomic reactions.

fusion reaction

A type of nuclear reaction which combines low mass atoms to form heavier ones.

solar energy

Energy which comes either directly or indirectly from the sun.

wind farm

When a large number of windmills are placed in one area for the purpose of generating electricity.

hydroelectric energy

Electricity produced by waterpower.

geothermal energy

Energy obtained by using hot magma or hot, dry rocks inside Earth.

biomass energy

Energy derived from burning organic material such as wood, alcohol, and garbage.

continental drift

The idea that continents are moving around, slowly, on the surface of Earth.


The name given to the landmass when all continents were connected.


The plastic-like layer of earth found below the lithosphere.


The outermost layer of Earth, including the crust.

plate tectonics

The theory of HOW Earth's crust is moved along due to convection currents in the Earth's mantle.

seafloor spreading

The creation of new oceanic crust as older crust is pushed away and replaced by cooling magma.

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