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Environmental Geology chp. 1-4


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What is an atom?
Atoms are fundamental particles consisting of a nucleus surrounded by a cloud of electrons (-). Neutrons (o) and Protons(+) are in the nucleus.
What are Isotopes?
Isotopes are atoms of a particular element that have slightly different atomic weights (protons)neutrons).
What is an element?
An element consists of atoms and cannot be further broken down by chemical reactions into a simpler composition.
What are native elements? compounds?
Native elements exist as pure solids in nature. Examples are gold and silver.Compounds occur in nature and consist of two or more elements.
What do minerals consist of?
Minerals consist of compounds (except for Native Elements). Minerals are solid, naturally occurring, mostly inorganic, and have definite chem. comp.
What are silicates?
Silicates are the most volumetrically important family of minerals in the Earth's crust.
What do silicates consist of?
Silicates consist of silica oxide (SiO2) combined with other elements. Silicates can be placed into two groups, Felsic and Mafic.
Describe felsic minerals.
Relatively rich in silica plus one or more of the following: aluminum, sodium, potassium. Light in color and low densities.
Examples of felsic minerals.
Quartz, potassium feldspar (K-feldspar), sodium-feldspar, and muscovite (white mica).
Describe mafic minerals.
Relatively low in silica but enriched in iron and magnesium compared to felsic minerals. Dark colored and denser than felsic.
Examples of mafic minerals.
bitotite (black mica), hornblende, pyroxene, and olivine.
Three major types of rocks.
Igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary.
How are igneous rocks formed?
formed by the cooling and solidification (crystallization) of minerals in Magma (a molten mix of minerals).
How is magma formed?
Magma forms by melting rocks and minerals beneath the crust and deep within the crust.
Consist of crystals readily visible to the unaided eye. Form intrusions such as batholiths, dikes, and sills.

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