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Vocabulary Review for the Earth's Changing Surfaces Unit Exam


The chemical and physical processes that break down rock at Earth's surface


The process by which water, ice, wind, or gravity moves weathered rock and soil


The geological principle that the same geologic processes that operate today operated in the past to change Earth's surface


The grinding away of rock by other rock particles carried in water, ice, or wind

Chemical Weathering

The process that breaks down rock through chemical changes.

Causes of Chemical Weathering (Hint: There Are 5)

(1) Action of water; (2) Oxygen; (3) Carbon Dioxide; (4) Living Organisms; (5) Acid Rain

Mechanical Weathering

The type of weathering in which rock is physically broken into smaller pieces

Causes of Mechanical Weathering (Hint: There Are 5)

(1) Freezing and thawing; (2) Release of pressure; (3) Plant growth; (4) Actions of animals; (5) Abrasion


Process in which sediment is laid down in new locations

Mass Movement

Any one of several processes by which gravity moves sediment downhill

Types of Mass Movement (Hint: There Are 4)

(1) Landslides; (2) Mudflows; (3) Slump; (4) Creep


A force that moves rocks and other materials downhill


Earth materials deposited by erosion. Sediment may consist of pieces of rock or soil or the remains of plants and animals.


Water that flows over the ground surface rather than soaking into the ground

Flood Plain

Wide valley through which a river flows


A looplike bend in the course of a river

Oxbow Lake

A meander cut off from a river

Alluvial Fan

A wide, sloping deposit of sediment formed where a stream leaves a mountain range


A landform made of sediment that is deposited where a river flows into an ocean or lake


Water that fills the cracks and spaces in underground soil and rock layers


A calcite deposit that hangs from the roof of a cave


A cone-shaped calcite deposit that builds up from the floor of a cave


A large mass of moving ice and snow on land

Continental Glacier

A glacier that covers much of a continent or large island

Valley Glacier

A long, narrow glacier that forms when snow and ice build up in a mountain valley

Ice Age

Times in the past when continental glaciers covered large parts of Earth's surface


The process by which a glacier picks up rocks as it flows over the land


The sediments deposited directly by a glacier


A ridge formed by the till deposited at the edge of a glacier


A small depression that forms when a chunk of ice is left in glacial till


A part of the shore that sticks out into the ocean


Wave-washed sediment along a coast

Longshore Draft

The movement of water and sediment down a beach caused by waves coming in to shore at an angle


A beach formed by longshore drift that projects like a finger out into the water

Sand Dune

A deposit of wind-blown sand


Wind erosion that removes surface materials


A wind-formed deposit made of fine particles of clay and silt

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