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Examples of Geology

[Summary]What is Geology? Home » Geology Articles » What Is Geology? - What Does a Geologist Do? What is Geology? - What Does a Geologist Do? Definition of Geology: Geology is the study of the Earth, the materials of which it is made, the structure of those m


What is Geology?

Home » Geology Articles » What Is Geology? - What Does a Geologist Do?

What is Geology? - What Does a Geologist Do?

Definition of Geology:

Geology is the study of the Earth, the materials of which it is made, the structure of those materials, and the processes acting upon them. It includes the study of organisms that have inhabited our planet. An important part of geology is the study of how Earth’s materials, structures, processes and organisms have changed over time.

Gneiss: Metamorphic Rock

Gneissic Granodiorite: An outcrop of gneissic granodiorite in the Zarembo Island area of southeastern Alaska.

How Does Gneiss Form?

Gneiss usually forms by regional metamorphism at convergent plate boundaries. It is a high-grade metamorphic rock in which mineral grains recrystallized under intense heat and pressure. This alteration increased the size of the mineral grains and segregated them into bands, a transformation which made the rock and its minerals more stable in their metamorphic environment.

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Geologic Materials

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Geologic Materials

Geologic materials are the rocks and sediments that make up the land where we live.

The characteristics of geologic materials reflect the processes that form them and the environments in which they form. Geologists divide these materials into three basic rock types. Igneous rocks originate as extremely hot melted rock below the Earth's surface. If the melted rock cools slowly under the surface, it forms plutonic rock (named after Pluto, the Roman god of the underworld), such as granite. If, instead, the melted rock stays hot and rises to the surface, it can either ooze out or explode to form volcanic rock (named after Vulcan, the Roman god of fire), such as basalt and obsidian. When rocks get buried or are pushed deep into the Earth, the pressure and heat changes them into metamorphic rocks, such as marble and slate. Serpentinite, the California state rock, is another example of metamorphic rock. Sediments are mostly bits and pieces of older rocks that have been transported by wind and water to accumulate on beaches and in sand dunes, on lake and river bottoms, and on ocean floors. Given enough time, sediments may be buried under subsequent accumulations and then squeezed or cemented together to form sedimentary rocks, such as sandstone and shale. The remains of plants and animals get caught up in these accumulations to form fossils, which are found only in sediments and sedimentary rocks. Although fossils usually are sparse, a few sedimentary rocks are made almost entirely of fossils; for example, chert is made from millions of tiny plankton fossils. This map shows where the different rock types are found in the San Francisco Bay region. The map also shows accumulations of young sediments that have not yet been converted to rocks, such as sand dunes, bay mud, stream deposits (alluvium), and deposits on marine terraces (flat surfaces cut into coastal rocks by waves and then lifted above sea level by the same forces that drive the San Andreas Fault).

What Is a Sedimentary Rock?

Related links:

Scientists Search for the Cause of Ancient Global Warming

"Frogantuan" - A Podcast about Giant Fossil Frogs

Geologic Findings Undermine Theories of Permian Mass Extinction Timing

What Is a Sedimentary Rock?

Have you ever been to the beach and nestled your toes in the sand? Over thousands of years that sand might become part of a sedimentary rock!

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