Geologic Time Scale (2010)

Geology 201-University of Calgary

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Geology (GLGY 201-UCAL) Midterm Exam

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Credits: Based on the excellent class notes provided by, Dr. Gerald Osborn during Fall 2010 and textbook ISBN-978-0-393-93750-3. This version has been updated on between September and December 2015.
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Concepts and Additional Questions for Fall 2010 Midterm


-Names and general composition (chemical and rock type) of the different layers of the Earth.
-Relative thicknesses of these layers; differences between oceanic and continental settings.
-Physical (solid, liquid, gas) and chemical make-up of these layers.
-How to define and describe the theory of plate tectonics.
-Geologic evidence that supports the theory.
-The geophysical evidence that supports the theory.
-Three types of plate boundaries and their relative motion along the boundary.
-The types of geologic activity (earthquakes, volcanoes, rock formation) that occur at each boundary.
-Surface features (e.g mountain ranges, volcanic arcs, subduction trenches) that help delineate where those boundaries are today.
-What is a mineral? How are minerals and rocks related?
-How to describe and explain how minerals form.
-How mineral formation processes are related to the different types of rocks.
-How minerals are categorized into different chemical groups.
-How silicate minerals are subdivided into different groups.
-How to explain why / how there is chemical substitution of ions to form varieties of minerals in the same mineral group (i.e Na,K,Ca in feldspars; Fe, Mg in pyroxenes)
-How the chemical composition of minerals affects physical properties.
-Describe what happens (physically) when rocks melt.
-Explain why it takes a range of temperature conditions for rocks to fully melt (and how this is represented on a P-T diagram – liquidus and solidus lines).
-Explain partial melting and what localizes it (e.g. fluid influx).
-Read / interpret a Pressure-Temperature diagram with liquidus and solidus lines on it for a given rock type.
-What conditions are necessary to initiate rock melting? Where does melting occur?
-What can happen to a melt during transport?
-How are different igneous rocks classified into different chemical groups?
-How cooling rates affect different textures in igneous rocks? Why?
-Where do igneous rocks form/melt solidify (related to plate tectonics and not related to plate boundaries)?
-How are igneous rocks named and classified?
-How does partial melting affect the melt’s chemical composition?
-Explain how fractional crystallization affects melt chemical composition.
-How does Bowen’s reaction series help predict the order of solidification of minerals from a melt? And the order in which minerals will melt?
-Explain the different types of volcanic eruptions and the types of volcanoes that form.
-What physical and chemical variables in the igneous system affect the type of volcanic eruption?
-What magma properties / chemistry affect the type of volcanic eruption?
-What types of Earth processes are recorded by the formation of sedimentary rocks?
-The different types of sedimentary rocks and sedimentary rock groups.
-How different sedimentary rocks form (describe the processes involved).
-The different types of sedimentary environments (e.g. tidal flat, continental shelf, etc.) and what kinds of rocks form in them.
-The two main types of weathering and examples of each.
-How rocks are transported from the site of weathering to a depositional basin.
-What causes metamorphism?
-The different types of metamorphic rocks and how they are categorized.
-The different types of metamorphism and where they occur.
-The types of metamorphic foliation, and the influence of protolith of foliation development.
-The relationship between differential stress and foliation.
-Why some metamorphic rocks are unfoliated, despite being at high metamorphic grades.
-The different grades of metamorphism and how they are distinguished in rocks.
-How to name metamorphic rocks (e.g. a basalt is metamorphosed to become a metabasalt, a sandstone becomes a quartzite..)
-Explain the differences between regional and contact metamorphism?
-Describe, label (with a given diagram) the main minerals of Bowen’s reaction series.
-Describe how minerals are formed and the processes for formation of different types of rocks.
-What are biochemical sediments?

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