Earth Science for Kids
Geology Glossary and Terms
Ablation - The loss of ice or snow from a glacier due to melting, evaporation, or wind erosion.
Bedrock - The solid layer of rock under the loose surface (soil, clay, gravel, sand) of the Earth.
Cave - A natural underground chamber typically located in a cliff or hillside that is large enough for a human to enter.
Delta - A flat and low landform located near the mouth of a river.
Epoch - A division of geological time.
Earthquake - A shaking of the ground caused by a sudden movement of the Earth's crust usually at a fault line.
Earth's core - The very hot center of the Earth made up of iron and nickel. The inner core is under so much pressure it is solid while the outer core is liquid metal.
Earth's crust - The outer layer of the Earth made up of rocks and minerals.
Erosion - The process by which land is worn down by water, wind, and ice.
Fault - A fracture in the Earth's crust where large areas of land slowly move past each other.
Fossil - A fossil is the preserved remains or traces of a living organism from the distant past.
Glacier - A large body of ice that doesn't melt over a long period of time.
Ice age - A period of time in Earth's history when large ice sheets covered the Polar regions of the Earth.
Igneous rock - A rock formed through the cooling of magma or lava.
Lava - Lava is molten rock that was expelled to the Earth's surface by a volcano.
Magma - Molten rock under the Earth's surface. When magma is expelled to the Earth's surface it is called lava.
Mantle - The layer of the Earth between the outer crust and the core, the mantle is made up of mostly silicate rocks.
Metamorphic rock - A rock formed from great heat and pressure inside the Earth's crust.
Mineral - A mineral is a solid substance that occurs naturally. Minerals are consistent throughout and can be represented by a chemical formula.
Mountain - A geological landform that rises significantly above the surrounding land, typically at least 1,000 feet above sea level.
Ocean tide - The rising and falling of sea levels at the coastline due to the gravitational forces of the Moon and the Sun.
Pangea - A supercontinent that scientists believe existed around 300 million years ago. The current continents were all once part of Pangea.
Tectonic plates - Large sections of the Earth's crust that slowly move.
Relief - The elevation difference between different areas of a region.
Ridge - A long narrow section across the crest of a chain of hills or mountains.
Rift - A place where the Earth's crust is being pulled apart.
Rock - A solid made up of a number of different minerals. Rocks are generally not uniform and can't be represented by a chemical formula.
Sedimentary rock - Rocks formed from years of sediment compacting together and becoming hard.
Soil - The loose upper layer of the Earth's surface where plants grow.
Topography - A description of the physical features of an area of land.
Volcano - An opening in the Earth's crust where molten rock erupts to the surface.
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