Geology 001B West Valley College

Historical Geology R. Lopez

Study Questions 1:

Earth as a System, Basic Concepts on Geology, Time, the Scientific Method

  1. What is implied with the statement, "Earth as a system"? State and define the four physicochemical spheres and the one biological sphere.
  2. What is actualism and why is it only partly true? Give an example.
  3. What is the Principle of Uniformitarianism?
  4. What scientists coined the term Catastrophism. Define his use of Catastrophism.
  5. What was James Hutton’s contribution to modern geology. Analyze his famous quote.
  6. Who was Charles Lyell? What was his contribution to modern geology?
  7. Rocks are composed of interlocking grains of matter that are typically composed of __________________________?
  8. What is the four part definition of a mineral?
  9. What are the three groups of rocks?
  10. Define both types of igneous rocks.
  11. What is the definition of metamorphic and what are the textures of metamorphic rocks?
  12. What are the three types of sedimentary rocks?
  13. Why are sedimentary rocks important in terms of life history on Earth?
  14. Sketch and describe the rock cycle. What is the lithification process?
  15. What are strata? What is the definition of stratigraphy? What are beds or bedding?
  16. Geologists think of time in two ways. In other words, how do geologist determine the ages of rocks?
  17. Including Steno’s three laws for sedimentary rocks, what five principles do geologists use to determine the relative ages of rocks? What are xenoliths?
  18. What is Relative Time and Absolute Time?
  19. How do cross cutting relations indicate relative ages?
  20. What are unconformities? Define (in words) and sketch an angular unconformity, disconformity, and nonconformity.
  21. What are fossils and what are fossil successions? How do fossils aid in relative dating techniques? Who determined the importance fossil successions? What are some of the physical ways in which fossils occur?
  22. What are Geologic Systems?
  23. For this next exam, know the Eons structured with oldest on the bottom and youngest on the top. Also know the three Eras of the Phanerozoic Eon (oldest on bottom, youngest on top). Define Precambrian Time and Phanerozoic Time.
  24. What is the definition of Plate Tectonics?
  25. What are the three fundamentals of Plate Tectonics?
  26. What are the three compositional layers of Earth and know their general thicknesses? How do we know that the outer core is liquid?
  27. What are the two kinds of crust on Earth?
  28. What is the lithosphere?
  29. How does oceanic lithosphere differ from continental lithosphere in terms of density and thickness?
  30. The thickness of the lithosphere is the base of earth’s _________________.
  31. What is the name of the boundary between crust and uppermost mantle?
  32. What is the aesthenosphere, where is it in relation to the lithosphere, and what does the aesthenosphere do that allows the lithosphere to move?
  33. What drives plate tectonics?
  34. In the scientific method, you 1) raise questions, 2) gather data, 3) propose hypotheses, 4) _________________________, 5) ________________________, and 6) hypothesis becomes a theory.
  35. How do theories in science differ from theories published in newspapers and broadcasted over news channels?