Vocabulary Ch 15 and 16

convergent plate boundary
Area where earth’s lithospheric plates are pushed together. See subduction zone.
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 plate boundary
Area where 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 consolidated 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. Geologists study and analyze rocks and the features and processes of the earth’s interior and surface.
high-grade ore
Ore that contains a fairly large amount of the desired mineral.
igneous rock
Rock formed when molten rock material (magma) wells up from the earth’s interior, cools, and solidifies into rock masses. Compare metamorphic rock, sedimentary rock.
lithosphere
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.
low-grade ore
Ore that contains a smaller amount of the desired mineral.
magma
Molten rock below the earth’s surface.
mantle
Zone of the earth’s interior between its core and its crust. Compare core, 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.
mineral
Any naturally occurring inorganic substance found in the earth’s crust as a crystalline solid.
mountaintop removal
Type of surface mining that uses explosives, massive shovels, and even larger machinery called draglines to remove the top of a mountain to expose seams of coal underneath a mountain.
open-pit mining
Removing minerals such as gravel, sand, and metal ores by digging them out of the earth’s surface and leaving an open pit.
ore
Part of a metal-yielding material that can be economically and legally extracted at a given time. An ore typically contains two parts: the ore mineral, which contains the desired metal, and waste mineral material (gangue).
overburden
Layer of soil and rock overlying a mineral deposit. Surface mining removes this layer.
plate tectonics
Theory of geophysical processes that explains the movements of lithospheric plates and the processes that occur at their boundaries.
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.
smelting
Process in which a desired metal is separated from the other elements in an ore mineral.
spoils
Unwanted rock and other waste materials produced when a material is removed from the earth’s surface or subsurface by mining, dredging, quarrying, and excavation.
strip mining
Form of surface mining in which bulldozers, power shovels, or stripping wheels remove large chunks of the earth’s surface in strips.
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.
subsurface mining
Extraction of a metal ore or fuel resource such as coal from a deep underground deposit.
surface mining
Removing soil, subsoil, and other strata and then extracting a mineral deposit found fairly close to the earth’s surface.
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.
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 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. See erosion.
bitumen
Gooey, black, high-sulfur, heavy oil extracted from tar sand and then upgraded to synthetic fuel oil.
coal
Solid, combustible mixture of organic compounds with 30[[endash]]98% carbon by weight, mixed with various amounts of water and small amounts of sulfur and nitrogen compounds. It forms in several stages as the remains of plants are subjected to heat and pressure over millions of years.
coal gasification
Conversion of solid coal to synthetic natural gas (SNG).
coal liquefaction
Conversion of solid coal to a liquid hydrocarbon fuel such as synthetic gasoline or methanol.
crude oil/petroleum
Gooey liquid consisting mostly of hydrocarbon compounds and small amounts of compounds containing oxygen, sulfur, and nitrogen. Extracted from underground accumulations, it is sent to oil refineries, where it is converted to heating oil, diesel fuel, gasoline, tar, and other materials.
kerogen
Solid, waxy mixture of hydrocarbons found in oil shale rock. Heating the rock to high temperatures causes the kerogen to vaporize. The vapor is condensed, purified, and then sent to a refinery to produce gasoline, heating oil, and other products.
liquefied natural gas (LNG)
Natural gas converted to liquid form by cooling to a very low temperature.
liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)
Mixture of liquefied propane (C3H8) and butane (C4H10) gas removed from natural gas and used as a fuel.
natural gas
Underground deposits of gases consisting of 50[[endash]]90% by weight methane gas (CH4) and small amounts of heavier gaseous hydrocarbon compounds such as propane (C3H8) and butane (C4H10).
net energy
Total amount of useful energy available from an energy resource or energy system over its lifetime, minus the amount of energy used (the first energy law), automatically wasted (the second energy law), and unnecessarily wasted in finding, processing, concentrating, and transporting it to users.
oil sand
Deposit of a mixture of clay, sand, water, and varying amounts of a tar-like heavy oil known as bitumen. Bitumen can be extracted from tar sand by heating. It is then purified and upgraded to synthetic crude oil.
oil shale
Fine-grained rock containing various amounts of kerogen, a solid, waxy mixture of hydrocarbon compounds. Heating the rock to high temperatures converts the kerogen into a vapor that can be condensed to form a slow-flowing heavy oil called shale oil.
petrochemicals
Chemicals obtained by refining (distilling) crude oil. They are used as raw materials in manufacturing most industrial chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides, plastics, synthetic fibers, paints, medicines, and many other products.
shale oil
Slow-flowing, dark brown, heavy oil obtained when kerogen in oil shale is vaporized at high temperatures and then condensed. Shale oil can be refined to yield gasoline, heating oil, and other petroleum products.
synfuels
Synthetic gaseous and liquid fuels produced from solid coal or sources other than natural gas or crude oil.
synthetic natural gas (SNG)
Gaseous fuel containing mostly methane produced from solid coal.
tailings
Rock and other waste materials removed as impurities when waste mineral material is separated from the metal in an ore.