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Geology 120 Week 1 and 2 lecture notes

by: Danielle Backman

Geology 120 Week 1 and 2 lecture notes Geology 120

Marketplace > Colorado State University > Geology > Geology 120 > Geology 120 Week 1 and 2 lecture notes
Danielle Backman
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Contains the first and second week of lecture notes along with book notes.
Exploring Earth: Physical Geology (GT-SC1)
Sean Bryan
Class Notes
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Danielle Backman on Friday January 29, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Geology 120 at Colorado State University taught by Sean Bryan in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 81 views. For similar materials see Exploring Earth: Physical Geology (GT-SC1) in Geology at Colorado State University.


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Date Created: 01/29/16
Geology 120 1 *Lecture 1 (1/19): Geologic Thinking WHAT IS GEOLOGY? -The geosciences: incorporates volcanism, climate change, Earth’s interior, microbiology, earth history, erosion and landscapes, atmosphere and geomicrobiology -the study of how the earth change on a variety of scales across space and time (both short and long term, but most amazing changes are on long term scales) -geology influences hazards, flooding, soil and water quality, mineral and energy resources as well as global change Geology and Place -How does geology affect Fort Collins? -Poudre canyon -flats to the east and mountains to the west (sharp boundary) -reservoirs (mostly man made) -rivers -farmland to the east -more rock exposure to the west -Why does the landscape look the way it does? -due to geologic processes like erosion and chemical weathering -human impact -agriculture affecting the soil quality and formation in the east -weather (storm systems, more rain on west and dry on east) -What geologic processes are currently acting or have acted on the landscape? -erosion and weathering from rivers (also flooding) -mountain formation (plate tectonics and fault lines) -How do these processes affect your lives? -changing environment *Lecture 2 (1/21) Death Valley CA Observations -surrounded by mountains -little to no rivers -fairly flat in valley, but surrounded by steep mountains -dry, very little plant life and biodiversity -rocky and rough, cracked terrain -high winds that possibly move the rocks Hypotheses for what caused the tracks next to the rocks: -strong winds possibly moved the rocks -ice -earthquakes -combo of rain and wind -pulled by magnetic field Key things for good hypothesis 1. Has to be testable 2. Good to have multiple hypotheses How do we test these hypotheses? What data should you collect? -go out and record wind speeds -set up cameras to check for animals Geology 120 2 -measure precipitation levels (rain gauges) -rock samples to see if any material in the rock is magnetic Qualitative v Quantitative Data -Qualitative=non-numeric (descriptions, drawings…) -Quantitative=measurement with a specific numerical value Observations of Upheaval Dome in Utah -very steep, lots of mountains -lots of rivers and canyons Hypotheses for the Dome? -rising salt (this happens when you have lots of evaporation that causes salt buildup) -rising magma -meteoroid impact How to test these? -measure salt levels in the rocks -see how close the magma is to the surface, look for recent earthquake activity -test materials in the rock and compare to rocks around the dome *Chapter 1: Geology=study of Earth’s interior and exterior surfaces, the rocks and other materials that are around us and the processes that have resulted in the formation of those materials, the water that flows over the surface and lies underground, the changes that have taken place over the vastness of geological time, and the changes that we can anticipate will take place in the near future. -is arguably the most integrated of all the sciences -displayed on a grand scale, can be quick events or take place over billions of years Why Study Earth? -we rely on it for valuable resources and we need to know how to get them and where they are and how to exploit them sustainably -we can learn how and why earth is changing -can use our knowledge to understand other planets What do Geologists Do? -ranges from working for resource industries or hazard assessment and mitigation, water supply planning, development and management… -employed by private sectors or the gov Minerals and Rocks -Earth=made up of 90 naturally occurring elements that combine to make minerals -mineral=naturally occurring combo of specific elements that are arranged in a repeating 3D structure called a lattice -halite for example is NaCl that alternates between Na and Cl at 90 degree angles -in nature, minerals are found in rocks and most rocks are made up of a few different minerals -granite is a common rock composed of many minerals -rocks form in many ways: 1. Igneous rocks form from magma that has cooled slowly underground or cooled fast at the surface after a volcanic eruption (basalt for ex) 2. Sedimentary rock like sandstone form when weathered products from other rocks accumulate at surface and buried by other sediments Geology 120 3 3. Metamorphic rocks form when igneous of sedimentary rocks are heated and squeezed until the minerals are unstable and create diff rock (schist for ex) Mineral v Rock-mineral=pure substance with specific composition and structure whereas a rock is a mix of several diff minerals Fundamentals of Plate Tectonics -plate tectonics is the model or theory that is used to understand Earth’s development and structure -core=made of mostly iron, outer core=hot enough for Iron to be liquid, inner core is even hotter but the pressure is so high that it is solid -mantle made of iron and magnesium silicate minerals (bulk of mantle is solid rock but can flow slowly) surrounding the partially molten mantle (asthenosphere) is rigid -crust is made mostly of granite on continents and basalt in oceans -crust and outer mantle makes up the lithosphere which is divided into 20 tectonic plates that move in diff directions on the surface -important property of Earth is that temp increases with depth (called the geothermal gradient) -Heat is continuously flowing outward from Earth’s interior, and the transfer of heat from the core to the mantle causes convection in the mantle and is driving force for plate tectonics -At places where convection currents in the mantle are moving upward, new lithosphere forms (at ocean ridges), and the plates move apart (diverge). Where two plates are converging (and the convective flow is downward), one plate will be subducted (pushed down) into the mantle beneath the other. Many of Earth’s major earthquakes and volcanoes are associated with convergent boundaries *Chapter 10: 1. What is the evidence for plate tectonics? -Pangea -distribution of rocks and fossils -volcanoes -mountain belts 2. What constitutes a plate? -a massive, irregularly shaped slab of solid rock, generally composed of both continental and oceanic lithosphere. Plate size can vary greatly, from a few hundred to thousands of kilometers across; the Pacific and Antarctic Plates are among the largest 3. What are the main differences between ocean crust and continental crust? -ocean crust is made of dense and heavy basaltic rocks and are thin crusts (~5km thick) -continental crust is made of lightweight minerals like quartz and feldspar and is thick (~100km) to support it’s elevation 4. What are the three main types of plate boundaries? 1. divergent (moving apart) boundaries are spreading boundaries where new oceanic crust is created from magma derived from partial melting the mantle caused by decompression s hot mantle rock from deep down is moved to surface. Most are located at oceanic ridges. Geology 120 4 2. Convergent (moving together) boundaries-3 types a. Ocean-ocean-one is pushed or subjected under the other (usually the denser or colder one) This causes a trench along the boundary b. Ocean-continent-ocean plate pushed under continental c. continent-continent-leads to mountain formation 3. Transform (moving side by side) Boundaries *Lecture 3: Plate Tectonics (1/25) What’s inside earth? -upper layer is crust with 2 types: 1. Continental (thick) 2. Oceanic (dense and thin and composed of basalt) -mantle is next and is the thickest layer and is denser than ocean crust Geology 120 5 -deepest layer is the iron-nickel core which is very dense Some layers are stronger than others -lithosphere THIS IS THE PLATE AND IS STRONG (made of continental or oceanic crust and uppermost mantle) -asthenosphere is weaker and hot and mostly solid 3 Types of Plate Boundaries 1. Convergent 2. Divergent 3. Transform Divergent boundary between 2 ocean plates ridge, location of earthquakes -example=oceanic ridge in Atlantic, most divergent boundaries are in ocean -example of continental rift=Arabian Peninsula and Afar region spread apart by Red Sea Convergent Boundary Between Ocean and Continental Plate Accretionary Prism deep earthquakes -the density determines which plate will subduct (if it’s between 2 oceanic plates, the temperature determines the density and which plate subduct. The older or cooler=the denser) -2 continental plates very rarely subduct Geology 120 6 Transform Boundaries -2 plates slide past each other -usually link divergent boundaries -ex=San Andreas fault where east moves north and west is moving south. This is linking convergent boundaries in north and divergent ones in south -Earthquakes are found at ALL types of boundaries b/c rocks are under stress -Volcanoes are NOT USUALLY found at continental collision boundaries (like the Tibetan Plateau) b/c there is NO subduction in these cases! Also b/c the plateau is so high up and the crust is so thick and the magma can’t make it up to the surface. What Happens to Create the Pacific Ring of Fire? -Atlantic is getting bigger and Pacific is shrinking so subduction all around that -new ocean crust is created in Pacific which pushes older crust to continent and they subduct and cause volcanoes and earthquakes -subduction belts beneath continental plates like the Andes What type of plate boundaries are likely to have mountains? -ocean-ocean convergent -continental collision -ocean-continental convergent *(1/28) Plate Tectonics Continued 5 Rules of Plate Tectonics 1. Plate boundaries either terminate against other boundaries or encircle the entire earth. Mature plate boundaries DO NOT simply end (although plate boundaries in the process of forming may be so indistinct as to appear that way) 2. The motion of a plate should be generally consistent throughout the extent of the plate. Plate motions can be described as ROTATIONS around axes that pass through the center of spherical Earth. Plates move as rigid blocks 3. Rate of crustal consumption (at convergent boundaries) must equal the rate of crustal creation (at divergent boundaries) at any given time, otherwise Earth would expand 4. Transform boundaries link diff boundary types and are only active where opposite sides of the transform and moving relative to e/o 5. In plate tectonics, EVERYTHING is in motion. The tectonic plates, and the plate boundaries that surround them are all moving relative to a fixed HOTSPOT REFERENCE FRAME. When describing plate motions, it is important to note the frame of reference being used SYMBOLS on a map:


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