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You are browsing the archive for Geology Word of the Week Archives - Georneys.

November 14, 2023

Geology Word of the Week: Q is for Quartzite

def. Quartzite: A metamorphic rock that consists primarily of interlocking grains of the mineral quartz. Quartzite forms when quartz-rich sandstone undergoes metamorphism.   The term “quartzite” is an example of a geologic term that can be a little confusing. Most of the time, geologists use the term “quartzite” to refer to a metamorphic rock, which is the definition that I have provided above. Sometimes, geologists also use the term “quartzite” …

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November 7, 2023

Geology Word of the Week: P is for Pahoehoe

def. Pahoehoe: A type of lava with a smooth or undulating surface. Pahoehoe lava flows often resemble coils of rope and are most commonly found in basalt. Pahoehoe is Hawaiian word that is pronounced “pah-hoy-hoy”.   Pahoehoe is a term used to describe a lava flow that has a smooth or undulating surface. Many pahoehoe flows resemble coils of rope or, in some cases, messy piles of rope. Pahoehoe is …

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October 30, 2023

Geology Word of the Week: O is for Outcrop

I attempted to revive the Geology Word of the Week earlier this year, but a few busy projects at work and also writing my first book derailed my plans. Let’s try again! I have a Geology Alphabet to finish. I’ll use some photos from my trip to Scotland earlier this year to illustrate this post. Without further ado, here’s the next word…   def. Outcrop: An exposure of rock formation …

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February 5, 2023

Geology Word of the Week: N is for Notebook

  def. Notebook: A small book for recording notes, such as geological data. Since geologists often have to record notes in rainy (and sometimes snowy!) conditions, they prefer to use notebooks made with special paper that is water repellent and can be written on with a pencil or special pen even when there is precipitation.   When I was a geology student, I quickly learned that conducting geological fieldwork with …

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January 29, 2023

Geology Word of the Week: M is for Mica

  def. Mica: A term used to describe a group of minerals that form in flat layers (or sheets) and have a vitreous or pearly luster (they are shiny!). Micas are phyllosilicate minerals, also known as “sheet silicate” minerals. Micas are common rock-forming minerals, although some varieties are harder to find than others. Micas come in many different colors. Common mica minerals include muscovite (clear), biotite (black), and phlogopite (dark brown). …

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January 15, 2023

Geology Word of the Week: L is for Luster

def. Luster (or Lustre if you use British spelling): The way in which the surface of a mineral or rock interacts with light. Words used by geologists to describe luster include metallic, sub-metallic, dull (or earthy), vitreous, waxy, silky, greasy, pearly, and adamantine.   Luster is a physical property that is used by geologists to help identify minerals and rocks. Other physical properties that geologists use for identification are hardness, …

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January 6, 2023

Geology Word of the Week: K is for Karst

Several years ago, I used to write a “Geology Word of the Week” post in which I selected a word used by geologists, wrote a definition of the word, and wrote up a post with some information and pictures related to the word. I went through the alphabet in order twice, writing about words starting with letters from A to Z, and then I started a third run through the …

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January 7, 2015

Geology Word of the Week: I is for Ice

def. Ice: Water (H2O) in a solid state. When naturally occurring, ice is considered a mineral. There are many forms of ice: lake ice, river ice, sea ice, snow, glaciers, ice caps, ice sheets, and frozen ground (such as permafrost).   If you ask a geologist what he or she considers to be Earth’s most important mineral, you will probably hear many different answers, depending on the person. Some might …

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January 1, 2015

Geology Word of the Week: H is for Hand Lens

I’ve decided to bring back the long-lost “Geology Word of the Week” posts in 2015. For those of you who don’t know, for a few years I regularly posted about a geological word every week. These posts included a brief definition (written by me) of the word and then some additional information and pictures. However, starting in 2012 I stopped posting these words regularly. I was quite busy in 2012 because …

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December 16, 2012

Geology Word of the Week: G is for Glacial Erratic

def. Glacial Erratic: A rock which has been transported and deposited by a glacier and which has a different lithology than the rock upon which it has been deposited. Often, erratic rocks have an angular shape because they were broken off of bedrock by glaciers and have not yet had time to be weathered and rounded by water, wind, and other erosional forces. Glacial erratics can range in size from very …

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