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Chapter 10

by: Shannon zarrilli

Chapter 10 GEO 101 - 041

Shannon zarrilli

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Geologic time
The Dynamic Earth
Dr. Natasha T. Dimova
Class Notes
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Shannon zarrilli on Wednesday January 27, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to GEO 101 - 041 at University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa taught by Dr. Natasha T. Dimova in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 7 views. For similar materials see The Dynamic Earth in Geology at University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa.

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Date Created: 01/27/16
Geo 101 Ch 10 Geologic time: the time of the physical formation and development of the earth 6 • Often, geologic time is measured in millions (10 ) or even billions (10 ) of years, and the comprehension of numbers that large is quite different from our daily concept of time. James Hutton (1726-1797) • founder of modern geology! • concluded that the processes we see today must also have been going on in the past Sir Charles Lyell (1797-1875) Lawyer and geologist Published “Principles of Geology”, which really popularized Hutton’s ideas • Relative time: age of features is described in relation to one another (i.e. feature A is older than feature B) • Absolute time: age of features is reported by a numerical value (i.e. number of years) 1. Principle of uniformitarianism  Physical processes occurring today also operated at comparable rates in the past: “the present is the key to the past” 2. Principle of superposition  In an undeformed sequence of rocks, oldest rocks are on the bottom and the youngest are on top 3. Principle of original horizontality  Sediments settle and accumulate on fairly horizontal surfaces.  Geologic layers with fold or tilts were deformed after deposition 4. Principle of original continuity  Sediments accumulate in continuous layers/sheets  Any breaks are result of erosion or deformation after deposition 5. Principle of cross-cutting relations  If one geologic feature cuts across another, the feature that has been cut is older. 6. Principle of inclusions  Inclusions are pieces of rock enclosed within another rock  The fragment/inclusion must be older than the surrounding rock 7. Principle of baked contacts  Molten rock (magma) can heat or “bake” surrounding rock.  The “baked” rock must be older. *fossil succession remains of once lived organisms (plans and animals) Paleontology: study of fossils o Aid in interpretation of past environments o Important time indicators o Correlation: matching of rocks of similar ages in different regions Unconformity- a break in the rock record resulting from erosion and/or non-deposition of rock: sediment does not accumulate 1. Angular Unconformity Tilted or folded rocks overlain by flat-lying rocks Indicates deformation took place some time in between Laer undegor folding  Erosion produced a flat surface  sea level rises/new layers of sediment accumulate 2. Nonconformity When rocks that form in very different environments are found next to each other One could not have formed immediately following the other A pluton intrudes  erosion clears down to the crystalline rock  sea level rises/new layers of sediment accumulate 3. Disconformity A break in the rock record between similar type rock units Can be hard to spot unless can see evidence of erosion or have some other marker (like fossils) that make it clear. Layers of sediment accumulate sea level drops exposure/ erosion occurs  sea level rises/ new layers of sediment accumulate Grand Canyon- 2 billion years of Geologic History • Absolute (numerical) age- the age of the formations is given in years (exact number) • The method geologist use is called isotopic dating Radioactivity • Henry Becquerel, Marie Curie and others recognized that some elements that are in the composition of rocks are unstable and break-down • Radioactivity occurs through different types of decay: alpha, beta, and gamma decay Natural Radioactivity • Radioactive atoms/isotopes decay (break down) to other elements (or isotopes) • The decaying atom/isotope is called parent (Ra-226) • The new formed atom/isotope is called daughter (Rn-222) • The rate of decay (how fast) is called half-life ( 1/2Ra- 226)=1,600 yrs): it’s the time half of the parent’s atoms will decay to daughter's Isotope: U 23U (uranium-238): Chemical element: uranium (#92 in the periodic table) Number of protons: 92 Number of neutrons: 238-92=146 Isotopes are atoms of the same chemical element with different number of neutrons Ex: Carbon C 14 C (radio carbon-14,  1/2= 5730 years): Chemical element: carbon (#6 in the periodic table) Number of protons: 6 Number of neutrons:14 -6=8 Radioactive decay: main law N=N *e0p(-*t) N - the number of atoms we start with at time t=0 min 0 N- the number of atoms after some time (t) has passed


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