Glossary

Acid Rain - Acid rain is not very dangerous for humans, however it can cause the death of plants, and in particular trees. This may be important because trees take in alot of Carbon Dioxide from the atmosphere (and produce Oxygen). If many trees died, then there would be more Carbon Dioxide left in the atmosphere - Carbon Dioxide is a Greenhouse Gas.

Anomaly - A difference between a measured value and a value which would normally be expected.

Anoxic - Containing no oxygen.

Asteroid - A rocky or metallic object which is too small to be considered a planet. Ranges in size from around 1000km to a few cm.

Biomass - The total mass of biological (living) material.

Boreholes - Small holes drilled deep into Earth's crust, so that samples of the underlying rocks can be collected.

Brecciated - Broken up/Fragmented.

Carbonate - Many rocks, such as limestone, contain Carbonate. Chemical formula: CO3

Comet - Small bodies orbiting bodies composed predominantly of dust and ice

Contemporaneous - At the same time

Feldspar - A group of minerals that are made up of Silicon, Oxygen plus various metals such as Aluminium, Calcium and Potassium.

Geological Record - The record of rocks on Earth.

Greenhouse Effect - Heat from the sun passes through Earth's atmosphere. It is reflected from the surface of the Earth, but is unable to escape back into space because it is unable to pass through the layer of Greenhouse gases. These Greenhouse gases, such as Carbon Dioxide, reflect the heat back onto to Earth's surface - this causes the Earth to get hotter.

Isotope - An isotope of an element has the same number of protons, but a different number of neutrons as a normal atom. Because isotopes contain more neutrons, they are heavier than normal atoms, causing them to behave slightly differently. This is why isotope ratios are important to study.

Kinetic Energy - The energy of movement. Follows the formula: Kinetic Energy, K.E.=0.5mv2.

Lamallae - Extremely thin sheets of material.

Meteor - A meteoroid that burns up in Earth's atmosphere. Also called a Shooting Star.

Meteorite - A meteoroid that strikes Earth.

Meteoroid - An asteroid on a collision course with Earth

Nuclear Winter - A period of time during which temperatures are extremely cold. Likely to last at least few months.

Plate Tectonics - The division of Earth's crust into a number of different plates which move independantly of each other.

Polymorph - A polymorph of a mineral has the same chemical composition as the mineral, but a different atomic structures. By having a different atomic structure, it means that a mineral is more stable in different conditions. For example stishovite has an atomic structure which is much denser than the atomic structure of quartz. This means that is more stable than quartz in high pressure conditions.

Proximal - Close to/nearby.

Quartz - A mineral that is made up of Silicon and Oxygen.

Rare Earth Elements - The group of elements on the periodic table from Lanthanum to Lutecium.

Remote Sensing - Techniques which use seismic or sonic waves to visualise the rock layers which lie below the surface. It means we can understand what rocks are at depth without actually needing to see them.

Stratosphere - A layer of air within the atmosphere.

Vaporise - Temperatures get so hot that the solid meteorite melts and then turns into a gas/vapour.

Home Page Last page Top of page