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Chapter Three

Rock & Fossil Record

principle that states that geological process shaping the Earth today have been at work throughout Earth's history uniformitarianism
principle that states that all geological change occur suddenly catastrophism
paleontology the science involved with the study of past life
relative dating determining whether an object or event is older or younger than other objects or events
geologic column an ideal sequence of rock layers that contain all the known fossils and rock formations on earth, arranged from oldest to youngest
absolute dating the process of establishing the age of an object by determining the number of years it has existed
isotope atoms of the same element that have the same number of protons but have different numbers of neutrons
radioactive decay isotopes tend to break down into stable isotopes of the same or other elements
half-life the time needed for half of a sample of a radioactive substance to undergo radioactive decay
fossil remains or physical evidence of an organism preserved by geologic process
petrifaction process in which minerals replace on organisms tissue
trace fossil fossilized mark that is formed in soft sediment by the movement of an animal
mold a mark or cavity made in a sedimentary surface by a shell or other body
cast a type of fossil that forms when sediments fill in the cavity left by a decomposed organism
index fossil a fossil that is found in the rock layers of only one geological age and that is used to establish the age of the rock layers
geologic time scale standard method used to divide the Earth's long natural history into manageable ports
eon largest division of geologic time
era unit of geologic time that includes two or more periods
periods unit of geologic time into which eras are divided
extinction the death of every member of a species
Created by: halerz