Earth Systems Vocabulary
earth
the third planet from the sun
in the solar system
minerals
a solid substance found in nature
that has never been alive
Examples: copper, sulfur, gold
rock cycle
an ongoing process when rocks are changed
from one type into another
magma
molten (melted) rock below the
surface of the earth;
on the surface, we call it lava
igneous rock
rock formed when magma/lava
cools and hardens
volcano
An opening in earth’s surface through which lava,
gases, and ash pour out
weathering
the breaking down of rocks into smaller pieces
erosion
the third planet from the sun
the planet where we live
sediment
material that settles at the bottom of a liquid
deposition
the wearing and carrying away of rocks and soil
sedimentary rock
rock formed when layers of sediment are
pressed together
pressure
force produced by pushing or pressing on
something
metamorphic rock
new rock formed when a rock
deep in the earth is changed by heat and pressure
water cycle
ongoing movement of water between the
atmosphere and earth’s surface
evaporation
change from a liquid to a gas
transpiration
plant leaves giving off water vapor
condensation
gas changes to a liquid as it cools;
Example: forming a cloud
precipitation
water in the atmosphere that falls to earth
Examples: rain, snow, sleet, hail
runoff
water that flows over earth’s surface
(does not evaporate or soak into ground)
biogeochemical cycles
the cycling of matter through earth’s water, air,
land, and living things
carbon cycle
oxygen cycle
nitrogen cycle
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Earth Systems Vocabulary

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