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Earth Surface

Chapter One

Uniformitarianism The geologic principle that the same geologic processes that operate today operated in the past to change Earth’s surface.
Erosion The process by which water, ice, wind, or gravity moves weathered particles of rock and soil.
Weathering The chemical and physical processes that break down rock and other substances.
Mechanical Weathering The type of weathering in which rock is physically broken into smaller pieces.
Chemical Weathering The process that breaks down rock through chemical changes.
Abrasion The grinding away of rock by other rock particles carried in water, ice, or wind.
Frost Wedging Process that splits rock when water seeps into cracks, then freezes and expands.
Oxidation A chemical change in which a substance combines with oxygen, as when iron oxidizes, forming rust.
Permeable Characteristic of a material that contains connected air spaces, or pores, that water can seep through easily.
soil The loose, weathered material on Earth’s surface in which plants can grow.
bedrock Rock that makes up Earth’s crust; also the solid rock layer beneath the soil.
humus Dark-colored organic material in soil.
fertility A measure of how well soil supports plant growth.
loam Rich, fertile soil that is made up of about equal parts of clay, sand, and silt.
pH scale A range of values used to indicate how acidic or basic a substance is; expresses the concentration of hydrogen ions in a solution.
soil horizon A layer of soil that differs in color and texture from the layers above or below it.
top soil The crumbly, topmost layer of soil made up of clay and other minerals and humus (nutrients and decaying plant and animal matter).
subsoil The layer of soil below topsoil that has less plant and animal matter than topsoil and contains mostly clay and other minerals.
decomposer An organism that gets energy by breaking down wastes and dead organisms, and returns raw materials to the soil and water.
conservation plowing Soil conservation method in which weeds and dead stalks from the previous year’s crop are plowed into the ground.
contour plowing Plowing fields along the curves of a slope to prevent soil loss.
crop rotation The planting of different crops in a field each year to maintain the soil’s fertility.
natural resource Anything naturally occurring in the environment that humans use.
soil conservation The management of soil to limit its destruction.
Created by: jwickens12581