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Earth’s History

TermDefinition
Abiotic/Physical Factors non-living factors such as erosion, wind and sun exposure
Benthic Living at the bottom of the ocean or on the ocean floor
Biological/Biotic Factors Living factors such as decomposers, scavengers and predators
Body Fossil Body parts of organisms that become fossils, such as bones, teeth, skin, leaves, tree trunks
Cast Casts are formed when sediment leaks into mold and hardens to form a copy of the original structure
Compression Fossils formed when an organism is flattened (compressed), leaving a dark stain in the rock
Coprolite Fossilized feces
Decomposer An organism that breaks down the tissue and/or structures of dead organisms
Erosion Weathering or wearing away of rock and earth (and any fossils they contain) caused by wind, sun, and/or water
Fossil The natural remains or traces of past life. Something is considered to be a fossil if it is at least 10,000 years old
Fossil Record ALL of the fossils that have existed throughout life's history, whether they have been found or not
Groundwater Water found underground as a result of rainfall, ice and snow melt, submerged rivers, lakes, and springs
Ichnology The study of trace fossils
Igneous Rock Type of rock produced when molten magma (lava) cools and solidifies
Inorganic Not containing carbon. Not from living things. Ex., mineral
Impression Fossilized prints or marks made by a living thing. Leaf prints, skin prints and footprints are good examples
Intertidal The coastal zone between the low and high tide mark where impact the land
Metamorphic Rock Rock produced when any type of rock is changed by heat, pressure, and chemical activity in the Earth
Mineralization The process whereby living materials is replaced with minerals.
Mold The impression of an organism left behind in the rock.
Paleontologists The study of life in the past
Plate tectonics The concept that explains the movement of the Earth's crustal plates, sea floor spreading, and a number of other geologic processes of the Earth's surface
Rock Cycle The process through which one type of rock (igneous, sedimentary, or metamorphic) is converted into another
Scavenger An organism that feeds on dead and dying organisms
Sedimentary Rock Rock that is formed when layers of small particles (sediment) are compressed and cemented together
Trace fossil Evidence left by organisms, such as burrows, imprints, coprolites, or footprints
Uplift The process that causes part of the Earth's crust to rise above surrounding areas. This can cause layers of rock to become exposed at the surface
Relative age Is its age compared to the ages of other rocks
Absolute age Is the number of years since the rock formed
Law of superposition To determine the relative ages of sedimentary rock layers
Extrusion Lava that hardens on the surface
Intrusion Magma that cools and hardens into a mass of igneous rock
Fault A break in Earth's crust
Unconformity The surface where new rock layers meet a much older rock surface beneath them
Inclusion A piece of rock that is contained in another rock
Index fossil Fossils of widely distributed organisms that lived during only one short period
Created by: caguilar616889