Weather and Erosion Vocabulary
A physical feature on earth’s surface
topographical map
A map that shows the elevation of an area of Earth’s surface
using contour lines
relief map
A map that uses shadowing or raised, 3-dimentional
representation to show elevations
continental shelf
The ocean floor along the coast of a continent
mid-ocean ridge
Underwater mountain ranges
abyssal plain
Wide, flat area of the ocean floor
sea mount
Underwater mountain that rises from the ocean floor but
stops before it reaches the surface of the ocean
The rocky layer of the Earth’s surface. It includes the
continents and ocean basins
A nearly melted layer of hot rock below the Earth’s crust
outer/inner core
The Earth’s core is divided into inner and outer core. The
inner core is made of solid metals and the outer core is made
of liquid metals.
continental drift
Theory of the Earth’s continents being joined together as one
big whole, then as time passed, some force pulled the
continents apart to where they are today.
plate tectonics
A theory that explains how forces deep within the Earth can
cause ocean floors to spread and continents to move.
A deep crack in the Earth’s crust
An opening in the Earth’s crust through which lava may flow
Squeezing or pushing together of the crust. When force
upward, producing folded mountains.
A force that twists, tears, or pushes one part of the crust past
A cup-shaped depression formed around a vent of a volcano
a magma chamber that is empty and collapsed beneath a
volcano and creates a hole
shield volcano
A type of volcano that is built by thinner, fluid lava that
spreads over a large area. These mountains have a broad
base and gently sloping sides.
cinder-cone volcano
Type of volcano that is built by thick lava that is thrown high
up into the air and falls in chunks or cinders. These mountains
have a cone shape with a narrow base and steep sides.
composite volcano
A type of volcano that is built by layers of ash and cinders
sandwiched between layers of hardened lava.
hot spot
A stationary location in the Earth’s mantle where magma
melts through a tectonic plate
island chain
a formation of islands aligned above a volcanic hot spot
island arc
A string of volcanic islands made from melted rock rising up
from beneath the ocean floor(An area where the ocean-floor
plate is pushed under another ocean-floor plate)
Magma- hot, melted rock below the Earth’s surface. Lavahot, melted rock that reaches Earth’s surface
The point on Earth’s surface directly above the focus of an
A sudden shaking of the Earth’s crust
A huge wave caused by an earthquake under the ocean.
Japanese word that means “wave in port.”
an instrument that detects and measures waves produced by
an earthquake
The process through which rocks or other materials are
broken down into smaller pieces.
physical weathering
Weathering caused by temperature changes, pushing, pulling
or rubbing. (trees growing in cracks and further breaking the
rock or water freezing in cracks and pushing the rock out.)
chemical weathering
Weathering that occurs when chemicals break down rocks.
(Acid rain wearing away parts of a garden statue)
The process of dropping off pieces of eroded rock.
The triangular-shaped deposit of soil particles that forms
where a river enters a larger body of water.
The process of carrying away soil or pieces of rock.
eroded materials or particles that can be moved or deposited
in other another place
A large sheet of ice and snow that moves slowly over land.
Land near a river that is likely to be under water during a
Walls built along the sides of a river. It raises the banks of a
river so more water can flow during a flood.
barrier islands
A string of off-shore islands that shield the mainland from the
waves and high winds of ocean storms.
beach reclamation
a process where sand is brought from another place to
rebuild a badly damaged island.

Earth vocabulary definitions