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Geology Study Guide #1

Stephanie Carpenter

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Mantle Of, relating to, or involving a catastrophe. (Catastrophic)
Hypothesis The spherical mass, largely metallic iron, at the center of the Earth. (Core)
Principle The outer portion of Earth’s core, which is molten. (Outer Core)
Earth System A scientific statement that some aspect of nature is always observed to happen in the same way and that no deviations have ever been seen. (Law)
Athenosphere The thick shell of dense, rocky matter that surrounds the core. (Mantle)
Theory Any system with a boundary that allows the passage in or out of energy but not of matter. (Closed System)
Law The central, solid portion of Earth’s core. (Inner Core)
Moho The use of evidence that can be seen and tested by anyone who has the means to do so, consisting often of observation, formation of a hypothesis, testing of the hypothesis and formation of a theory, formation of a law, and continued reexamination. (Scientific Method)
System The science of our planet. (Geology)
Lithosphere Grand unifying theory of geology saying that Earth’s outermost 100km “eggshell” (the lithosphere) is cracked, composed of about a dozen pieces (“plates”), which float on the hot, deformable athenoshpere, moving ponderously in various directions, spreading apart, slowly colliding, and grinding past another. (Plate Tectonics Theory)
Gradualism The study of the processes that operate at or beneath the surface of Earth, and the materials on which those processes operate. (Physical Geology)
Physical Geology An unproved explanation for the way things happen. (Hypothesis)
Continental Crust The outer 100 km of solid Earth, where rocks are harder and more rigid than those in the plastic athenosphere. (Lithosphere)
Plate Tectonics Theory Any system that has a boundary that prevents the passage in or out of energy and matter. (Isolated System)
Crust The crust between the oceans. (Oceanic Crust)
Inner Core The layer of the mantle where rocks are relatively ductile and are easily deformed. It lies at a depth of 100 to 350 km below the surface. (Athenosphere)
Catastrophic The outermost and thinnest of Earth’s compositional layers, which consists of rocky matter that is less dense than the rocks of the mantle below. (Crust)
Core The primary unit in a time-stratigraphic sequence of rocks. (System)
Open System Any system that has a boundary that allows the passage in or out of both energy and matter. (Open System)
Isolated System A hypothesis that has been examined and found to withstand numerous tests. (Theory)
Benioff Zone A statement that some aspect of nature is always observed to happen in the same way and that not deviations have ever been observed. (Principle)
Outer Core The assemblage of all of Earth’s parts and the relationships between them. (Earth System)
Geology The view that speciation proceeds by imperceptibly small, cumulative steps over long periods of time rather than by abrupt, major changes. (Gradualism)
Closed System A narrow, well-defined zone of deep earthquake foci beneath a sea floor. (Benioff Zone)
Oceanic Crust The part of the Earth’s crust that comprises the continents, which has an average thickness of 45 km. (Continental Crust)
Scientific Method The seismic discontinuity that marks the base of the crust. (Moho)

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