Rocks, resources and scenery - Geography Key terms

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Geological timescale:

The period of geological time since life became abundant 542 million years ago, which geologists have divided into eras and periods. 

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Crust:

The outer layer of the earth 

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Igneous rocks:

Rocks which are formed from the accumulation of seditment on the sea floor. 

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Sedimentary rocks:

Most commonly, rocks formed from the accumlation of sediment on the sea floor. 

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Metamorphic rocks:

Rocks that have undergone a change in their chemisty and texture as a result of heating and/ or pressure. 

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Rock cycle:

Connections between the three rock types.

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Weathering:

The breakup or decay of rocks in their original place a or close to the earth's surface 

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Mechanical Weathering:

Weathering that does not involve chemical change.

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Scree:

Deposits of angular rock fragments found at the foot of rock outcrops

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Chemical Weathering:

Weathering that involves a chemical change taking place 

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Chemical Weathering:

Weathering that involves a chemical change taking place 

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Biological Weathering:

Weatheirng caused by living organisms such as tree roots or burrowing animals 

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Freeze- thaw weathering:

Weathering involving repeated cycles of freezing and thawing. 

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Pores:

Holes in rock

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Exfoliation:

Flaking of the outer surface of rocks manily caused by repeated cycle of hot and cold. 

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Solution:

Dissolving of rocks or minerals by rainwater. 

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Carbonation:

Weathering of limestone and chalk by acidic rainwater. 

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Batholith:

A huge irregular- shaped mass of intrustive igneous rock that only reaches the ground surface when the overlying rocks are removed. 

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Joints:

Cracks that may run vertically or horizontally through rock. 

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Impermeable Rock:

A rock that does not allow water to pass through it. 

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Tor:

An isolated outcrop of rock on a hilltop, typically found in granitie landscapes. 

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Mass movement:

The downhill movement of materials under the influnce of gravity. 

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Cliff:

A steep or vertical face of rock at the coast. 

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Permeable rock:

A rock that allows water to pass through it 

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Water Table:

The uppper suface of underground water. 

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Spring:

Water re-emerging from the rock onto the ground surface. Springs often occur as a line of springs (springline) at the base of a scrap slope.

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Vale:

In the landscape, a flat plain typically formed on clay. 

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Escarpment/ cuesta:

An outcrop of chalk comprising a steep scrap slope and a more gental dip slope. 

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Dry Valley:

A valley formed by a river during a weather period in the past but now without a river. 

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Gorge:

Steep- sided deep valley that may be formed by cavern collapse. 

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Limestone pavement:

A bare rocky surface, with distinctive blocks (clints) and enlarged joints (grikes) 

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Swallow hole:

An enlarged joint into which water falls.

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Cavern:

A large underground cave.

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Resurgence:

A stream that emerges from underground

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Stalactite:

An icicle - like calcite feature hanging down from a cavern roof. 

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Stalagmite:

A stumpy calcite feature formed on a cavern floor. 

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Pillar:

A calcite feature stretching from floor to ceiling in a cavern. 

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Curtain:

A broad depostie of calcite usually formed when water emerges along a crack in a cavern 

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Cement:

Mortar used in buildings, made from crushed limestone and shale.

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Syncline:

The lower arc of the fold in fold mountains

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Aquifer:

An underground reservoir of water stored in pores and/or joints in a rock, e.g chalk. 

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Aggregate:

Crushed stone made from tough rocks such as limestone, used in the construction industry and in road building. 

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Quarry restoration:

Resorting or improving the environmental quality of a quarry, either during its operation or afterwards. 

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