Earth Science Exam 159 cards

Tagged as: earth, geography, fitness, business, physics, act, geology, history, algebra, math, biochemistry

 copy deck Copy deck


What is acid rain?

Acid precipitation caused by anthropogenic emissions of sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere, where it reacts with water vapor to form sulfuric acid.


What does anthropogenic mean?

Arising from human activity.


What is an aquifer?

A porous formation that stores and transmits groundwater in sufficient quantity to supply wells.


What is the biosphere?

The component of the Earth system that contains all of its living organisms.


What is bolide?

A chunk of rock or other debris from interplanetary space.


What is an earthquake?

The violent motion of the ground that occurs when brittle rock under stress suddenly breaks along a fault.


What is environment?

The complex of physical, chemical and biological factors (such as climate, soil, and living organisms) that act on an organism and ultimately determine its form and survival.


What is a flood?

Inundation that occurs when increased discharge, resulting from a short-term imbalance between inflow and outflow, causes a stream to overflow its banks.


What is fossil fuel?

An energy resource formed by the burial and heating of dead organic matter, such as coal, crude oil, or natural gas.


What is global change?

Change in the climate system that has worldwide effets on the biosphere, atmosphere, and other components of the Earth system.


What is a greenhouse gas?

A gas that absorbs and reradiates energy when it is present in a planet's atmosphere. Greenhouse gases in Earth's atmosphere include water vapor, carbon dioxide, and methane.


What is groundwater?

The mass of water that flows beneath Earth's surface.


What are natural hazards?

Events produced by natural processes that have the potential to kill people and damage buildings and other man-made structures.


What is a natural resource?

A supply of energy, water, or raw material used by human civilization that is available from the natural environment.


What is a nonrenewable resource?

A natural resource that is produced at a rate much slower than the rate at which human civilization is using it up; for example, fossil fuels.


What is a renewable resource?

A natural resource that is prouced at a rate rapid enough to match the rate at which human civilization is using it up; for example, wood.


What is the asthenosphere?

The weak, ductile layer of rock that constitutes the lower part of the upper mantel (below the lithosphere) and over which the lithospheric plates slide.


What is climate?

The average conditions of Earth's surface environment and their variation.


What is the climate system?

The global geosystem that includes all the components of the Earth system, and all the interactions among these components; needed to determine climate on a global scale and how it changes over time.


What is the core?

The dense central part of Earth below the core-mantle boundary, composed principally of iron and nickel.


What is the crust?

The thin outer layer of Earth, averaging from about 8 km thick under the oceans to about 40 km thick under the continents, consisting of relatively low-density silicates that melt at relatively low temperatures.


What is the Earth system?

The collection of Earth's open, interacting, and often overlapping geosystems.


What is a geochemical reservoir?

A component of the Earth system where a chemical is stored at some point in its geochemical cycle.


What is positive feedback?

A process in which one action produces an effect (the feedback) that tends to enhance the original action and amplify change in the system.


What is negative feedback?

A process in which one action produces an effect (the feedback) that tends to counteract the original action and stabilize the system against change.


What is geologic record?

Information about geologic events that divides Earth's history into intervals, many of which are marked by distinctive sets of fossils and bounded by times when those sets of fossils changed abruptly.


What is the geosystem?

A specialized subsystem of the Earth system that produces specific types of geologic activity.


What is the lithosphere?

The strong, rigid outer shell of Earth that comprises the crust and the uppermost part of the mantle down to an average depth of about 100 km.


What is a magnetic field?

The region of influence of a magnetized body or an electric current.


What is the mantle?

The region that forms the main bulk of Earth, between the crust and the core, containing rocks of intermediate density, mostly compounds of oxygen with magnesium, iron, and silicon.


What is the outer core?

The layer of Earth extending from the core-mantle boundary to the inner core, at depths of 2890 to 5150 km, composed of molten iron and nickel and minor amounts of lighter elements, such as oxygen or sulfur.


What is the plate tectonic system?

The global geosystem that includes the convecting mantle and its overlying mosaic of lithospheric plates.


What is the principle of uniformitarianism?

A principle stating that the processes we see in action on Earth today have worked in much the same way throughout the geologic past.


What is the scientific method?

A general procedure, based on systematic observations and experiments, by which scientists propose and test hypotheses that explain some aspect of how the physical universe works.


What is a seismic wave?

A ground vibration produced by an earthquake.


What is topography?

The general configuration of varying heights that gives shape to Earth's surface, which is measured with respect to sea level.


What is continental drift?

The large-scale movements of continents across Earth's surface driven by the plate tectonic system.


What is a convergent boundary?

A boundary between lithospheric plates where the plates move toward each other and one plate is recycled into the mantle.


What is a divergent boundary?

A boundary between lithospheric plates where two plates move apart and new lithosphere is created.


What is an island arc?

A chain of volcanic islands formed on the overriding plate at a convergent boundary by magma that rises from the matle as water released from the subducitng lithospheric slab causes fluid-induced melting.


What is a magnetic anomaly?

One in a pattern of long, narrow bands of high or low magnetic intensity on the seafloor that are parallel to and almost perfectly symmetrical with respect to the crest of a mid-ocean ridge.


What is Pangaea?

A supercontinent that coalesced in the late Paleozoic era and comprised all present continents, then began to break up in the Mesozoic era.


What is plate tectonics?

The theory that describes and explains the creation and destruction of Earth's lithospheric plates and their movement over Earth's surface.


What is Rodinia?

A supercontinent older than Pangaea that formed about 1.1 billion years ago and began to break up about 750 million years ago.


What is seafloor spreading?

The mechanism by which new oceanic crust is formed at a spreading center on the crest of a mid-ocean ridge. As two plates move apart, magma wells up into the rift between them to form new crust, which spreads laterally away from the rift and is replaced continually by newer crust.


What is a spreading center?

A divergent boundary, marked by a rift at the crest of a mid-ocean ridge, where new oceanic crust is formed by seafloor spreading.


What is subduction?

The sinking of oceanic lithosphere beneath overriding oceanic or continental lithosphere at a convergent plate boundary.


What is a transform fault?

A plate boundary at which the plates slide horizontally past each other and lithosphere is neither created nor destroyed.


What is the magnetic time scale?

The detailed history of Earth's magnetic field reversals as determined by measuring the thermoremanent magnetization of rock samples.


What is an atom?

The smallest unit of an element that retains the physical and chemical properties of that element.


What is an element?

A substance composed of atoms having an identical number of protons in each nucleus. Elements cannot be reduced to simpler substances by normal chemical means.


What is an atomic number?

The number of protons in the nucleus of an atom, which determines the chemical properties of an element and its place in the periodic table.


What is the mass number or atomic mass?

The sum of the masses or its protons and its neutrons


What is an ion?

An atom or group of atoms that has an electrical charge, either positive or negative, because of the loss or gain of one or more electrons.


What is an isotope?

One of two or more forms of atoms of the same element that have different numbers of neutrons, and therefore different atomic masses.


What is a chemical bond?

An electrostatic attraction between negatively charged electrons and positively charged protons that forms in a chemical reaction.


What is an ionic bond?

A common type of chemical bond that forms by electrostatic attraction between ions of opposite charge.


What is a covalent bond?

A type of chemical bond that does not readily gain or lose electrons to form ions and instead form compounds by sharing electrons.


What is a metallic bond?

A type of covalent bond that has strong tendencies to lose electrons, pack together as cations, and the freely mobile electrons are shared and dispersed among the ions.