Environmental Science

convergentplateboundary
area where theearth’s lithospheric plates are pushed together
core
inner zone of the earth.

It consists of a solid inner core and a liquid outer core

crust
Solid outer zone of the earth. It consists of oceanic crust and continental crust.
divergent plateboundary
area where the earth’s lithospheric plates move apart in opposite directions.
earthquake
Shaking of the ground resulting from the fracturing and displacement of rock, which produces a fault, or from subsequent movement along the fault.
erosion
process or group of processes by which loose or consolidate earth materials are dissolved, loosened, or worn away and removed from one place and deposited in another.
geology
Study of the earth’s dynamic history.

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Geologists study and analyze rocks and the features and processes of the earth’s interior and surface.

igneous rock
Rock formed when molten rock material (magma) wells up from the earth’s interior, cools, and solidifies into rock masses.
lithosphere
Outer shell of the earth, composed of the crust and the rigid, outermost part of the mantle outside the asthenosphere; material found in the earth’s place
magma
molten rock below the earth’s surface
mantle
zone of the earth’s interior between its core and its crust
metamorphicrock
rock produced when a preexisting rock is subjected to high temperatures (which may cause it to melt partially), high pressures, chemically active fluids, or a combination of these agents.
minerals
any naturally occurring inorganic substance found in the earth’s crust as a crystalline solid
plate tectonics
theory of geophysical processes that explains the movements of lithospheric plates and the processes that occur at their boundaries.
rock
any material that makes up a large, natural, continuous part of the earth’s crust
rock cycle
largest and slowest of the earth’s cycles, consisting of geologic, physical, and chemical processes that form and modify rocks and soil in the earth’s crust over million of years
sedimentaryrock
rock that forms from the accumulated products of erosion and in some cases from the compacted shells, skeletons, and other remains of dead organisms
subductionzone
area in which oceanic lithosphere is carried downward under an island arc or continent at a convergent plate boundary.

A trench ordinarily forms at the boundary beteen the two converging plates.

tectonicplates
various-sized areas of the earth’s lithosphere that move slowly around with the mantle’s flowing asthenosphere. Most earthquakes and volcanoes occur around the boundaries of these plates.

transformfault
area where the earth’s lithospheric plates move in opposite but parallel directions along a fracture (fault) in the lithosphere
tsunami
series of large waves generated when part of the ocean floor suddenly rises or drops, usually because of an earthquake
volcano
vent or fissure in the earth’s surface through which magma, liquid lava, and gases are released into the environment
weathering
physical and chemical processes in which sold rock exposed at eath’s surface is changed to separate solid particles and dissolved material, which can then be moved to another place as sediment.
soil
complex mixture of inorganic minerals, decaying organic matter, water, air, and living organisms
soil horizons
horizontal zones that make up a particular mature soil. Each horizon has a distinct texture and composition that vary with different types of soils
soilpermeability
rate at which water and air move from upper to lower soil layers
soilporosity
percentage of space in rock or soil occupied by voids, whether the voids are isolated or connected
soilprofile
cross-sectional viewof the horizons in a soil
soilstructure
how the particles that make up a soil are organized and clumped together
soiltexture
determined by the relative amounts of the different sizes and types of mineral particles.
porosity
percentage of space in rock or soil occupied by voids, whether the voids are isolated or connected
permeability
degree to which underground rock and soil pores are interconnected and thus a measure of the degree to which water can flow freely from one pore to another.
percolation
passage of a liquid through the spaces of a porous material such as soil
loams
soil containing a mixture of clay, sand, silt, and humus.

Good for growing most crops

leaching
process in which various chemicals in upper layers of soil are dissolved and carried to lower layers and, in some cases, to groundwater.
infiltration
downward movement of water through soil