Earth Science Vocabulary

Earth Science Vocabulary
1. Mineral -- a non-living naturally formed solid that has a defined chemical
2. Natural Resource – any naturally occurring substance that is useful
3. Renewable resource – materials such as water, plants, or animals that are naturally
4. Non-renewable resource – materials such as petroleum, coal, natural gas, and many
minerals that cannot be easily or quickly replaced by natural systems
5. Transparency – the property of whether a material can be seen through
6. Opaque – a material that you cannot see through
7. Translucent – a material that can be seen through, but it is blurry
8. Transparent- a material that can be seen through clearly
9. Luster – the property of how shiny a material is
10. Brilliant – the luster described when a material reflects a lot of light and is very
11. Glassy – the luster described when a material reflects some light and is only
somewhat shiny
12. Dull – the luster described when a material does not reflect any light and is not shiny
13. Geologist – a person who studies rocks, minerals, and other non-living parts of the
14. Crystalline Structure – a set of atoms that are arranged in a repeated regular
15. Rock – a naturally occurring, solid substance composed of one or more minerals
Earth Science Vocabulary
16. Cleavage – a mineral’s tendency to break or separate along a flat surface
17. Igneous Rock – rocks that have formed from the cooling of magma and the
crystallization of minerals
18. Sediments – parts of rocks, shells, and dead organisms that have been worn down into
small pieces, often by the effects of wind and water
19. Sedimentary rock – rocks that develop from layers of sediments that build up either
on land or under water
20. Metamorphic rock – rocks that have formed when existing rocks change because of
heat and/or pressure
21. Magma – hot melted rock found deep inside the earth
22. Soil ~ the layers of broken down material found at the earth’s surface; normally
consists of dead and living plant material, weathered rocks, and organic matter
23. Soil Consistence ~ a soil’s resistance to breaking apart
24. Soil Texture ~ a property of soil determined by the soil’s mixture of particle sizes and
the proportion of different sizes; it determines how well water drains from a soil
25. Soil Color ~ a soil’s color as described by the Munsell System of Color Notation; soil
can typically vary from grayish yellow to deep red-brown to black
26. Sand ~ the largest pieces of rock in soil; pieces are larger than 0.05mm but smaller
than 2mm
27. Silt ~ pieces of rock that are smaller than sand but larger than clay; pieces are from
0.002mm to 0.05mm
28. Clay ~ pieces of rock that are smaller than both sand and silt; pieces are smaller than
29. Decompose ~ to break down by either chemical or mechanical means
Earth Science Vocabulary
30. Organic Material ~ material from living or dead organisms which breaks down into
31. Nutrients ~ an essential element required by an organism to grow and reproduce
32. Weathering ~ the breaking up of rock caused by natural or chemical forces
33. Erosion ~ the process that occurs when running water, sea waves, wind, or glaciers
pick up materials from the Earth’s surface and carry them to other locations