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Superglossary - Geology
Category: Sciences > Geology
Date & country: 15/12/2013, US
Words: 758


Plateau Basalt
A sequence of parallel to subparallel basalt flows that were formed during a geologically brief inte

Plinian Eruption
An explosive eruption where large volumes of rock, ash and gas are blasted at high velocity from a v

Point-Source Pollution
Water contamination that can be traced to a single point. A toxic material spill and a sewage discha

Polarity Epoch
An interval of time between reversals of Earth's magnetic field.

Polarity Event
A specific event in the history of Earth's magnetic field. Usually used in reference to a specific p

Polarity Reversal
A change in the polarity of Earth's magnetic field in which the north magnetic pole becomes the sout

Porosity
The volume of pore space in a rock, sediment or soil. Usually expressed as a percentage. This pore s

Potable Water
Water that is agreeable to the taste and not dangerous to the health.

Pothole
A cylindrical or hemispherical hold in the bedrock of a stream that is formed from the continual swi

Pratt Isostatic Compensation
The mechanism in which variations in crustal density act to counterbalance the varying weight of top

Precipitation
Movement of water from the atmosphere to the land or to a surface water body. Rain, hail, snow, dew,

Preferred Orientation
Any deviation from randomness in the distribution of the crystallographic or grain shape axes of min

Primary Recovery
Any crude oil or natural gas that is recovered from a well as a result of the natural pressure withi

Primary Seismic Waves
The fastest set of earthquake vibrations - also known as P-waves. They move through the Earth in com

Prospecting
The activities associated with the search for an area of probable mineralization. It can include

Proto-Sun
An intermediate stage in the development of a star in which a large cloud of dust and gases graduall

Proven Reserves
Deposits of fossil fuels whose location and extent are known, as opposed to potential but unproved (

Pumice
A vesicular volcanic glass of granitic composition. It has so many vesicles that it has a very low s

Pyroclastic Flow
A hot, high-velocity mixture of ash, gas and fragmented rock that flows like a liquid down slopes an

Pyroclastic Rock
A rock formed when small particles of magma are blown from the vent of a volcano by escaping gas.

Pyroclastic Texture
The unsorted, angular, and un-rounded texture of the fragments in a pyroclastic rock.

Pyroxene Granulite
A coarse-grained contact metamorphic rock that is formed at high temperatures and low pressures and

Quarry
A surface mine usually for the extraction of construction stone.

Quartz
One of the most abundant minerals in the earth's crust. Has a chemical composition of SiO2 and a har

Quartz Arenite
A sandstone containing very little except pure quartz grains and cement.

Quartzite
(1) A very hard, clean, white metamorphic rock formed from a quartz arenite sandstone. (2) A quartz

Quartzose
An adjective used in reference to a rock that is composted primarily of quartz.

Quartzose Sandstone
(1) A quartz arenite. (2) A clean quartz sandstone, less pure than a quartz arenite, that may contai

Quicksand
A bed of sand that has a high water content. The water within the sand is often flowing through the

Quicksilver
A nickname for the element mercury.

Radial Drainage
A system of streams running in a radial pattern away from the center of a circular elevation, such a

Radiative Transfer
One mechanism for the movement of heat, in which it takes the form of long-wavelength infrared radia

Radiolarian
A group of one-celled marine animals with a siliceous skeleton that occupies shallow portions of the

Radiolarian Ooze
A deep-sea pelagic sediment that contains at least 30% siliceous radiolarian remains.

Radiolarite
The lithified sedimentary rock formed from radiolarian ooze.

Rating Curve
A plot that shows the relationship between the stage and discharge (streamflow) of a specific stream

Ray
A linear landform of the lunar surface emanating from a large crater and extending as much as 100 ki

Reaction Series
A series of interactions between a melt and mineral crystals in contact with the melt. In a reaction

Recharge
Water added to an aquifer or other water body. An aquifer is recharged by precipitation in an area w

Recharge Area
The geographic area where water infiltrates into the ground and enters an aquifer.

Recrystallization
A solid state reaction in which the atoms of existing crystals within a rock are reorganized in resp

Rectangular Drainage
A drainage pattern in which stream channels develop within a large-scale network of intersecting joi

Recumbent Fold
An overturned fold that has two limbs which are nearly horizontal.

Redrilled Well
A previously drilled hole that is reentered and deepened by additional drilling.

Refraction
The bending of a seismic wave as it enters a material of different density, or, the bending of a bea

Refraction (Wave)
The departure of a wave from its original direction of travel at the interface with a material of di

Regional Metamorphism
Metamorphism across a broad area caused by the elevated temperatures and pressures of plate collisio

Regolith
A general term used in reference to unconsolidated rock, alluvium or soil material on top of the bed

Regression
A drop in sea level that causes an area of the Earth to be uncovered by seawater, ending marine depo

Relief
Variations in the height and slope of Earth's surface. Also used in reference to the vertical differ

Remote Sensing
The collection of information about an object or area from a distance. Methods employed include phot

Replacement
The dissolving or disintegration of one material followed by precipitation of a new material in its

Replacement Deposit
A deposit of ore minerals by hydrothermal solutions that have first dissolved the original mineral t

Reservoir
A subsurface rock unit that is porous and permeable, and that contains an accumulation of oil and/or

Respiration
The chemical reaction by which carbohydrates are oxidized and by which all animals and plants conver

Retrograde Metamorphism
Mineral changes within a rock that are caused by adjustments to conditions of reduced temperature an

Reverse Fault
A fault with vertical movement and an inclined fault plane. The block above the fault has moved upwa

Reversible Reaction
A chemical reaction which can proceed in either direction, depending on the concentration of reactin

Rheidity
(1) The ability of a substance to yield to viscous flow under large strains. (2) One thousand times

Rhyolite
The fine-grained volcanic or extrusive rocks that are equivalent in composition to granite. Normally

Richter Magnitude Scale
A scale that is used to compare the strength of earthquakes based upon the amount of energy released

Ridge (Mid-Ocean)
An elevated area of the sea floor in the center of an ocean basin with rugged topography, a central

Rift Valley
A fault trough formed in a divergence zone or other area of tension.

Right-Lateral Fault
A fault with horizontal movement. If you are standing on one side of the fault and look across it, t

Ring Dike
A dike in the form of a segment of a cone or cylinder, having an arcuare outcrop.

Rip Current
A strong, narrow current of high velocity and short duration that flows seaward through the breaker

Ripple
A very small dune of sand or silt whose long dimension is formed at right angles to the current. Riv

Ripple Marks
A series of parallel or sub-parallel ridges in sand or sediment that is caused by the rhythmic or di

Rock Cycle
The geologic cycle, with emphasis on the rocks produced

Rock Flour
A glacial sediment of extremely fine (silt-and clay-size) ground rock formed by abrasion of rocks at

Rock Glacier
A mass of rock material, cemented together by ice, that flows down a slope under the force of gravit

Rock Salt
A chemical sedimentary rock that forms from the evaporation of ocean or saline lake waters. It is al

Rockslide
A type of mass wasting in which a large volume of rock debris slides down a slope under the influenc

Rounding
The degree to which the edges and corners of a particle become worn and rounded as a result of abras

Runoff
Liquid water moving over the land surface as a sheet or channelized flow. The portion of precipitati

Rupture Strength
The greatest stress that a material can sustain without fracturing at one atmosphere pressure.

Saltation
The transport of sediment in short jumps and bounces above the stream bed or ground by a current tha

Sandblasting
A physical weathering process in which rock is eroded by the impact of sand grains carried by the wi

Sandstone
A detrital sedimentary rock composed of grains from 1/16 to 2 millimeters in diameter, dominated in

Schist
A metamorphic rock containing abundant particles of mica, characterized by strong foliation, and ori

Schistosity
The parallel arrangement of platy or prismatic minerals in a rock that is caused by metamorphism in

Scoria
Congealed lava, usually of mafic composition, with a large number of vesicles formed by gases coming

Sea-Floor Spreading
The mechanism by which new sea floor crust is created at ridges in divergence zones and adjacent pla

Seamount
A mountain on the sea floor that has at least 1000 meters of local relief. Most seamounts are shield

Secular Variation
Slow changes in the orientation of the Earth's magnetic field that appear to be long lasting and int

Sediment
A loose, unconsolidated deposit of weathering debris, chemical precipitates or biological debris tha

Sedimentary Rock
A rock formed by the accumulation and cementation of mineral grains transported by wind, water, or i

Sedimentary Structure
A structure in a sedimentary rock that forms at or near the time of deposition and reveals informati

Sedimentation
The process of deposition of mineral grains or precipitates in beds or other accumulations.

Seepage
The slow movement of water through the pore spaces of a solid material. This term is also applied to

Seif Dune
A large sand dune that forms parallel to the direction of a strong wind that blows in a consistent d

Seismic Discontinuity
A surface within the Earth across which P-wave or S-wave velocities change rapidly, usually by more

Seismic Profile
The data collected from a set of seismographs arranged in a straight line with an artificial seismic

Seismic Refraction
A mode of seismic prospecting in which the seismic profile is examined for waves that have been refr

Seismic Surface Wave
A seismic wave that follows the earth's surface only, with a speed less than that of S-waves. There

Seismic Transition Zone
A seismic discontinuity, found in all parts of the Earth, at which the velocity increases rapidly wi

Seismicity
The study of the worldwide distribution of earthquakes over time and the probability of an earthquak

Service Well
A well drilled to support production from other wells. Some reasons for support wells are

Settling Pond
An open pond where waste or process water is allowed to stand while suspended materials settle out.

Shale
a clastic sedimentary rock that is made up of clay-size (less then 1/256 millimeter in diameter) wea