Unit 2 Vocabulary

Convergent plate boundary
Area where earth’s lithospheric plates are pushed together.
Inner zone of the earth. It consists of a solid inner core and a liquid outer core
Solid outer zone of the earth. It consists of oceanic crust and continental crust
divergent plate boundary
Area where earth’s lithospheric plates move apart in opposite directions
Shaking of the ground resulting from the fracturing and displacement of rock, which produces a fault, or from subsequent movement along the fault.
Process or group of processes by which loose or consolidated earth materials are dissolved, loosened, or worn away and removed from one place and deposited in another.
Study of the earth’s dynamic history. 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
Outer shell of the earth, composed of the crust and the rigid, outermost part of the mantle outside the asthenosphere; material found in earth’s plates.
Molten rock below the earth’s surface.
Zone of the earth’s interior between its core and its crust
metamorphic rock
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.
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
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 millions of years.
sedimentary rock
Rock that forms from the accumulated products of erosion and in some cases from the compacted shells, skeletons, and other remains of dead organisms
subduction zone
Area in which oceanic lithosphere is carried downward (subducted) under the island arc or continent at a convergent plate boundary. A trench ordinarily forms at the boundary between the two converging plates
tectonic plates
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.
transform fault
Area where the earth’s lithospheric plates move in opposite but parallel directions along a fracture (fault) in the lithosphere.
Series of large waves generated when part of the ocean floor suddenly rises or drops, usually because of an earthquake.
Vent or fissure in the earth’s surface through which magma, liquid lava, and gases are released into the environment.
Physical and chemical processes in which solid rock exposed at earth’s surface is changed to separate solid particles and dissolved material, which can then be moved to another place as sediment.
complex mixture of inorganic materials (clay, silt, pebbles, and sand) decaying organic matter, water, air, and living organisms
soil horizons
horizontal zones, or layers, that make up a particular mature soil. Each horizon has a distinct texture and composition that vary with different types of soils
soil permeability
Rate at which water and air move from upper to lower soil layers.
soil porosity
Rate at which water and air move from upper to lower soil layers
soil profile
cross-sectional view of the horizons in a soil
soil structure
How the particles that make up a soil are organized and clumped together.
soil texture
Relative amounts of the different types and sizes of mineral particles in a sample of soil.
Percentage of space in rock or soil occupied by voids, whether the voids are isolated or connected
The 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.
Passage of a liquid through the spaces of a porous material such as soil.
Soils containing a mixture of clay, sand, silt, and humus. Good for growing most crops.
Process in which various chemicals in upper layers of soil are dissolved and carried to lower layers and, in some cases, to groundwater.
Downward movement of water through soil.