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1. “Element,” “mineral,” and “rock” are important terms used in this
chapter. Define each term using your own words, and then explain
how the terms relate to one another.
2. Calcite and quartz are minerals. What properties do they have in common? How do they differ?
3. List and define the physical properties used to identify minerals.
4. Why is color not always a useful property in identifying a mineral?
5. List and describe the four types of bonds exhibited in minerals. Give
an example of a mineral that exhibits each type of bond.
6. Does a TEM image detect all the elements in a mineral sample? Why
or why not?
7. Why do some minerals exist in more than one color?
9. What factors determine the density of a mineral?
10. How does cleavage differ from fracture? How does cleavage relate to
mineral structure?
11. Why are silicates the dominant rock-forming minerals?
12. How does magma differ from lava?
13. Geologists gain understanding of the formation of magma and igneous
rocks by making field observations and performing laboratory experiments. Give an example of each.
14. What are the four basic types of magma and rock compositions, and
how do they differ in their respective abundance of silica, iron, and
15. What aspect of igneous rock formation is best illustrated by crystal
grain size? Explain the relationship between rock formation and grain
16. How are pyroclastic deposits classified?
17. List the three pieces of evidence for how we know that there is a
magma chamber and the formation of plutonic rocks below an active
18. What factors determine the size and shape of a volcano?
19. Explain how peridotite can melt at a divergent plate boundary without
an increase in temperature.
20. How do magmas form at convergent plate boundaries?
21. Explain how calderas form.
22. Define “partial melting” and explain how it affects magma composition.
23. What processes can form intermediate and felsic magmas from a melt
that is originally mafic?
24. How does the type of volcanic eruption relate to gas content and
magma viscosity?
25. Obsidian is a felsic rock, yet it has a black color. Explain.
26. How does fractional crystallization contribute to the formation of
economically important metal ores?
27. Explain why some lava flows cover large areas and others do not.
28. What is metamorphism?
29. Why is it impossible to observe the processes that produce metamorphic rocks when they happen?
30. What features can you observe in a rock sample or outcrop that would
permit you to recognize a rock as being metamorphic, rather than
igneous or sedimentary?
31. Which four factors determine the mineral content and texture of a
metamorphic rock?
32. List and describe the three common processes that cause rocks to
experience increasing temperature after they form.
33. What are the three ways foliation can form in a metamorphic rock?
34. Describe why fluids are important in the formation of a metamorphic
35. Given that diamonds form from graphite at high pressure, why don’t
they revert to graphite at Earth’s surface where pressure is no longer
36. Why are some minerals useful as metamorphic index minerals, while
other minerals are not?
37. What is mineral stability? How does mineral stability change with
temperature and pressure?
38. Define “pressure,” “stress,” and “strain.” How do they relate to one
39. Explain why metamorphic rocks, which require high temperature,
pressure, or both to form, are commonly exposed at Earth’s surface.
40. Identify a parent rock for each of these metamorphic rocks: slate, marble, and gneiss.
41. Explain how you could use field observations to distinguish between
rocks produced by contact metamorphism and regional metamorphism.
42 How was the radius of Earth determined? Is Earth a perfect sphere?
43. How do geologists determine the composition of Earth’s interior? Why
not examine it directly?
44. How do we get samples of rocks from the crust that formed deeper
than 5 kilometers below Earth’s surface?
45. How do oceanic and continental crusts differ? How do scientists know
that they are different?
46. What evidence tells us that Earth has a distinct concentration of highdensity material near the center and does not gradually transition from
low-density to high-density rock?!
47. What is a wave? How does a wave move through rock?
48. What instrument records seismic waves?
49. What is the difference between elastic and plastic deformation? What
type of deformation does a rock experience when an earthquake wave
passes through it?
50. What is the difference between an earthquake’s focus and its
51. Describe the three types of earthquake waves in your own words.
52. Which type of wave arrives first at an earthquake recording station?
Why do the waves not arrive at the same time?
53. What causes the mantle low-velocity zone?
54. What is the most likely cause of the mantle seismic velocity transition
zones at 410 and 660 kilometers?
55. What causes the S-wave shadow zone? What causes the P-wave
shadow zone?
56. What is the evidence that the outer core consists mostly of liquid iron?
What is the evidence that the outer core contains elements other than iron?
57. What is the source of heat responsible for the high temperatures in
Earth’s mantle? What is the source of heat responsible for the high
temperatures in Earth’s core?
58. How does convection differ from conduction? What causes
59. Explain what chemical convection is and where it may be occurring
within Earth
60. Explain the factors that determine whether or not convection occurs.
61. Why is conduction the dominant form of heat transfer within the
62. How does evidence from seismic tomography support the hypothesis
of mantle convection?
63. What is the difference between magnetic declination and magnetic
64. List the different ways Earth’s magnetic field changes over time.
65. What causes Earth to have a magnetic field?
66. Define the continental drift hypothesis. How does it differ from plate
tectonics theory?
67. Contrast the geologic processes at plate boundaries with those at plate
interiors. Explain how these differences relate to the concept of rigid
68. How does the distribution of volcanoes and mountains support the
theory of plate tectonics? What aspects of the distributions of these
features are not obviously explained by plate tectonics?
69. List and explain, in your own words, the evidence for the existence of
divergent plate boundaries?
70. List and explain, in your own words, the evidence for the existence of
convergent plate boundaries?
71. Why are there mountain belts on both the east and western margins of
North America if only the western margin is a plate boundary?
72. Which is stronger, the lithosphere or asthenosphere?
73. On average, how fast do the plates move?
74. Where on Earth is a likely place for a new ocean basin to form in the
future? Explain why you picked this location.
75. How does the oceanic lithosphere become denser with increasing age
and distance from a mid-ocean ridge?
76. Explain the relationship between oceanic lithosphere density and the
process of subduction.
77. List and explain, in your own words, the evidence for transform
78. What are the similarities and differences among the Hawaiian,
Icelandic, and Yellowstone hot spots?
79. What is the difference between relative and absolute velocities?
80. In your own words, explain how GPS data are used to test the plate
tectonics theory
81. What forces cause plates to move?

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