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Geological Evolution Vocabulary

Unit 7

absolute agethe exact age of rocks
relative agethe age of rocks in comparison to the ages of other things
radiometric datingalso carbon dating; the age of rocks and fossils found by measuring the decay of certain isotopes contained
law of superpositionprinciple of superposition; in undisturbed layers of rock, the oldest rocks are always on the bottom and it gets younger toward the top
unconformitiesgaps in rock sequences
angular unconformitieshorizontal lines of sedimentary rock are tilted and uplifted
disconformitylayers of rock are missing and there is evidence of erosion within the layers of rock
nonconformitymetamorphic or igneous rocks are uplifted and eroded
mechanical weatheringphysical weathering; rocks and soils are broken down by atmospheric conditions such as heat, water, ice and pressure
chemical weatheringatmospheric chemicals or biological weathering break down rocks, soils, and minerals; including when water causes chemical reactions with the minerals contained in the rocks
continental driftthe theory that continents move in relationship to each other
fossilsevidence of past life preserved in rock
fossil recordthe complete body of fossils that show how species and ecosystems change over time
fossilizedthe process of becoming a fossil
trace fossila fossilize mark that is formed in soft sediment by the movement or action of an animal
index fossila fossil found in a narrow time range but widely distributed around the earth
trilobitesan extinct marine organism
radiometric datingmeasures the age of rocks and fossils based on the decay of certain isotopes they contain

North Carolina Virtual Public School

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