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hot spot

an area where magma from deep within the mantle melts through the crust above it


a force that acts on rock to change its shape or volume


stress that stretches rock so that it becomes thinner in the middle


stress that pushes masses of rock in opposite directions, in a sideways movement


A material found in magma that is formed from the elements oxygen and silicon; it is the primary substance of Earth's crust and mantle


not currently active but able to become active in the future (like a volcano)


the point beneath Earth's surface where rock first breaks under stress and causes an earthquake


the point on Earth's surface directly above an earthquake's focus

Richter scale

a scale that rates an earthquake's magnitude based on the size of its seismic waves

moment magnitude scale

a scale that rates earthquakes by estimating the total energy released by an earthquake

land reclamation

the process of restoring land to a more natural, productive state


the action of clearing forests


the development of large land areas for cities


the buildup over time of nutrients in freshwater lakes and ponds that leads to an increase in the growth of algae


human-made gases containing chlorine and fluorine (also called CFCs) that are the main cause of ozone depletion


pollutants that are released into the air

photochemical smog

a brownish thick haze that is a mixture of ozone and other chemicals formed when pollutants react with sunlight


a form of oxygen that has three oxygen atoms in each molecule instead of the ususl two; toxic to organisms where it forms near the Earth's surface

acid rain

rain or another from of precipitation that is more acidic than normal, caused by the release of molecules of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide into the air


a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas

ozone layer

the layer of the upper atmosphere that contains a higher concentration of ozone than the rest of the atmosphere


a stream or river that flows into a larger river


the land area that supplies water to a river system

water table

the top of the saturated zone, or depth to the groundwater under Earth's surface


a chemical that kills insects and other crop-destroying organisms


a land area that is covered with a shallow layer of water during some or all of the year

mid-ocean ridge

an undersea mountain chain where new ocean floor is produced; a divergent plate boundary under the ocean

sea-floor spreading

the process by which molten material adds new oceanic crust to the ocean floor

deep-ocean trench

a deep valley along the ocean floor beneath which oceanic crust slowly sinks toward the mantle


the process by which oceanic crust sinks beneath a deep-ocean trench and back into the mantle at a convergent plate boundary


a section of the lithosphere that slowly moves over the asthenosphere, carrying pieces of contintental and oceanic crust

divergent boundary

a plate boundary where two plates move away from each other

convergent boundary

a plate boundary where two plates move toward each other

transform boundary

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

plate tectonics

The theory that pieces of Earth's lithosphere are in constant motion, driven by convection currents in the mantle


a break in Earth's crust along which rocks move

rift valley

A deep valley that forms where two plates move apart


land, earth



vit- viv-


relative age

the age of a rock compared to the ages of other rocks

absolute age

the age of a rock given as the number of years since the rock formed

law of superposition

the geologic principle that states that in horizontal layers of sedimentary rock, each layer is older than the layer above it and younger than the layer below it


a break in Earth's crust along which rocks move

index fossil

fossils of widely distributed organisms that lived during a geologically short period

radioactive decay

the process in which radioactive elements break down, releasing fast-moving particles and energy


the time it takes for half of the atoms of a radioactive element to decay

continental drift

the hypothesis that the continents slowly move across earth's surface


the name of the single landmass that began to break apart 200 million years ago and gave rise to today's continents

un- , in-, im-, il-, ir-



not, or opposite of




full of


the preserved remains or traces of an organism that lived in the past


a type of fossil that is a hollow area in sediment in the shape of an organism or part of an organism


a fossil that is a solid copy of an organism's shape, formed when minerals seep into a mold

petrified fossil

a fossil in which minerals replace all or part of an organism

carbon film

a type of fossil consisting of an extremely thin coating of carbon on rock

trace fossil

a type of fossil that provides evidence of the activities of ancient organisms


a scientist who studies fossils to learn about organisms that lived long ago


change over time; the process by which modern organism's have descended from ancient organisms


1. a group of related organisms that has died out and has no living members. 2. term used to describe a volcano that is no longer active and unlikely to erupt again


Give an account of; present in detail the characteristics by which an object or action can be recognized, or an event or process visualized


mark as different


make by combining materials and parts


to put in a clear and definite form of statement of expression


the process of drawing a conclusion by applying clues


provide evidence for; stand as proof of

extrusive rock

igneous rock that forms from lava on Earth's surface

intrusive rock

igneous rock that forms when magma hardens beneath Earth's surface


term used to describe metamorphic rocks that have grains arranged in parallel layers or bands


small, solid pieces of material that come from rocks or the remains of organisms; earth materials deposited by erosion


the chemical and physical processes that break down rock and other substances


the process by which water, ice, wind, or gravity moves weathered particles of rock and soil


process in which sediment is laid down in new locations


the process by which sediments are pressed together under their own weight

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

metamorphic rock

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


stating briefly and succinctly


the opposition or dissimilarity of things that are compared


clarify by giving an example of


put side by side, balance, match up to

seismic wave

A vibration that travels through earth carrying the energy released during an earthquake

inner core

a dense sphere of solid iron and nickel at the center of Earth


the solid part of the earth consisting of the crust and outer mantle


the soft layer of the mantle on which the lithosphere floats

outer core

the liquid layer of the Earth's core that lies beneath the Mantle and surrounds the inner Core


energy that is radiated or transmitted in the form of rays or waves or particles


the transfer of heat through a fluid (liquid or gas)


a dense dark gray fine-grained igneous rock


the force applied to an area of surface


A usually light colored igneous rock that is found in continental crust


the layer of the earth between the crust and the core


the amount of matter in a given space (calculation: mass/volume)


the direct transfer of heat from one substance to another substance that it is touching


the outer layer of the Earth

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