Flash Cards

Process that Shape Earth

Term Definition
Asthenosphere the soft layer of the mantle on which the tectonic plates move
Chemical Weathering the chemical breakdown and decomposition of rocks by natural processes in the environment
Continental Drift the hypothesis that a single large landmass broke up into smaller landmasses to form the continents; which then drifted to their present locations; the movement of continents
Contour Interval the difference in elevation between one contour line and the next
Contour Line a line that connects points of equal elevation on a map
Convergent Boundary the boundary between tectonic plates that are colliding
Deformation the bending, tilting and bending off of Earth's crust; the change in the shape of rock in response to stress
Deposition in geology, the process in which material is laid down
Divergent Boundary the boundary between two tectonic plates that are moving away from each other
Erosion the process by which wind, water, ice or gravity transports soil and sediment from one location to another
Geographic Information System a system for capturing, storing, retrieving, analyzing, manipulating and displaying geographic data
Global Positioning System a network of satellites that orbit Earth to measure positions on Earth's surface
Index Contour on a map, a darker, heavier contour line that is usually every fifth line
Lithosphere the solid, outer layer of Earth that consists of the crust and the rigid upper layer of the mantle
Magnetic Reversal the process by which Earth's magnetic north pole and magnetic south pole switch positions periodically; a change in the direction in which Earth's magnetic field points
Physical Weathering the mechanical breakdown of rocks into smaller pieces that is caused by natural processes and that does not change the chemical composition of the rock material
Plate Tectonics he theory that Earth's outer layer is made up of large, moving pieces called tectonic plates; the theory that explains how plates interact and how those interactions relate to process such as earthquakes and mountain building
Relief the difference between the highest and lowest elevations in a given area; the variations in elevation of a land surface
Remote Sensing the process of gathering and analyzing information about an object without physically being in touch with that object
Scale the relationship between the measurements on a model, map or diagram and the actual measurement or distance
Sea-Floor Spreading the process by which new oceanic lithosphere (sea floor) forms when magma rises to Earth's surfaces at mid-ocean ridges and solidifies, as older, existing sea floor moves away from the ridge
Slope a measure of the slant of a line; the ratio of rise over run
Subduction the process by which one lithospheric plate moves beneath another plate as a result of tectonic forces
Tectonic Plate a block of lithosphere that consists of the crust and the rigid, outermost part of the mantle
Theory a system of ideas that explains many related observations and is supported by a large body of evidence acquired through scientific investigation
Topographic Map a map that shows the surface features of Earth
Topography the size and shape of the land surface features of a region, including its relief
Transform Boundary the boundary between tectonic plates that are sliding past one another horizontally
Weathering the natural process by which atmospheric and environmental agents, such as wind, rain and temperature changes disintegrate and decompose rocks

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