Geology. Definition of a Mineral. Minerals: 7-1. To be defined as a mineral in the geologic sense, a substance must pass 5 tests:

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1 Geology Minerals: We will begin our study of the land with a study of the basic building blocks of rocks: Minerals. Definition of a Mineral To be defined as a mineral in the geologic sense, a substance must pass 5 tests: 7-1 Most of the Earth s surface is rocky material. What is a rock? Rock is naturally formed, consolidated material composed of grains of one or more minerals. Unconsolidated mineral grains can also occur. For example, in soils. What is a mineral? If conditions 3 and 4 are met the substance will have unique physical properties as well. However, condition 3 or 4 is not sufficient. Examples? 1. Crystal Form if a crystal is large enough, its form can be distinctive and help identify a mineral. 2. Luster the way a mineral reflects light. 3. Color obvious. Unfortunately, the color of a mineral is often not very diagnostic. 4. Streak Color of a mineral in powdered form. Important because the identification of minerals is usually done on the basis of a minerals physical properties. 5. Hardness How resistant a mineral is to being scratched. 6. Cleavage/fracture Does a mineral break along preferred planes or not? 7. Specific gravity How dense a mineral is. While difficult to pin down in the field, one can often tell a particularly heavy or light mineral. 8. Other properties Magnetic? Taste, smell...

2 Rocks and the Rock Cycle Igneous Rocks 7-2 Rocks generally consist of consolidated mineral grains. Different minerals are found in different types of rocks. Igneous rocks form when a melt cools down and solidifies. Igneous rocks are in some sense pristine rock. Rocks fall into three broad categories: Igneous Rocks Can be formed either underground or on the surface Sedimentary Rocks Metamorphic Rocks If the rock is exposed at the surface the environment will start to work on it... Each of these types of rocks are formed in different ways and tend to contain different minerals. Sedimentary Rocks Metamorphic Rock Eventually a rock exposed at the Earth s surface will be broken apart, either mechanically or chemically. If a rock is buried to substantial depth it will be subjected to substantial pressure and temperature. If high enough, the pressure and/or temperature may lead to a transformation of the rock and the minerals it contains. Often this material will be transported and eventually deposited. ==> Metamorphic rock. If it is then buried it may become cemented together forming a sedimentary rock.

3 7-3 Thus igneous rocks can be transformed into sedimentary rocks. Sedimentary rocks into metamorphic rocks. For example, Igneous rocks which never get exposed at the surface could be buried to great depth and converted straight to metamorphic rocks. The concept that different types of rocks can be transformed by various processes into the other classes is known as the rock cycle. Or metamorphic rock could be exposed at the surface and changed to sedimentary rocks... Note that the sequence does not have to go igneous -> sedimentary -> metamorphic -> igneous A rock could even be changed into another one of the same type (e.g. metamorphic -> metamorphic) Classification of Igneous Rocks Igneous Rocks: Coarse Grained Fine Grained Igneous rocks are classified on the basis of two characteristics: felsic Granite Rhyolite light colored 1. Composition 2. Texture medium intermediate Diorite Andesite grey or green dark mafic Gabbro Basalt grey to black dark ultramafic Peridotite Komatiite green to black

4 Classification of Sedimentary Rocks Sedimentary rocks are broken into two major classifications: Detrital rocks formed from detrital sediments. Particle Size Detrital Classifications Particle Name Rock Name >256 mm Boulder Breccia (angular fragments) mm Cobble Gravel Conglomerate 4 64 mm Pebble (rounded fragments) 2 4 mm Granule 7-4 Chemical rocks formed form chemical sediments 1/16 2 mm Sand Sandstone Detrital (or Clastic) Classifications Detrital sedimentary rocks are classified based on the size of the particles making up the rock. 1/256 1/16 mm Silt Siltstone Mud Mudstone < 1/256 mm Clay Shale Classifying Metamorphic Rocks Metamorphic rocks are classified into two broad categories: 1. Foliated Usually the product of directed pressure. 1. Foliated Metamorphic Rocks Foliated metamorphic rocks are classified predominantly on the texture of the foliation. The composition of the rock may be given as an adjective to the name (e.g. a hornblende schist). 2. Nonfoliated Or other adjectives may be used (e.g. red slate would indicate a hematite rich slate). Usually the product of a confining pressure. However, rocks made almost exclusively of a single mineral (e.g. quartz sandstone or limestones) usually do not show distinctive foliated structure even if placed under directed pressure.

5 2. Nonfoliated Metamorphic Rocks Geologic Landforms 7-5 Nonfoliated rocks all have a similar texture. Thus, they are classified on the basis of their composition or their parent rock. The Earth is a geologically active planet. Leads to a variety of interesting landforms. What drives this activity? Two major heat engines are operative: Internal energy within the Earth. External energy (solar energy). Each of these sources drive different aspects of the geologic activity we see. Landforms are be split into two major categories: 2. Destructional Landforms 1. Constructive Landforms Regions which are currently being eroded away. Regions which are currently being built up. Examples? Examples? Most of these processes are driven by internal energy within the Earth. We will examine some of these processes later in the course. Most of these processes are driven by energy from the sun.

6 Destructional Processes Rivers 7-6 Most of these processes are greatly facilitated by water. Without water, erosion would be much reduced. Weathering Rivers transport most of the material eroded off of the continents (~85%). Rivers often fed by mass wasting off its valley. However, they can also erode material themselves. Mechanical Chemical Rivers usually form distinctive V -shaped valleys Mass Wasting Mass wasting is the motion of material under the influence of gravity alone. Glaciers Glaciers are the 2nd most important transport agent after rivers (transport ~7 8%). Glaciers form distinctive U -shaped valleys. Other transport processes: Wind Coastal Processes Direct flow of lava from a volcano into the sea.

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