Geology is an earth science concerned with the solid Earth, the rocks of which it is composed, the processes by which they change over time. Geology can include the study of the solid features of any terrestrial planet or natural satellite such as Mars or the Moon. Modern geology overlaps all other earth sciences, including hydrology and the atmospheric sciences, so is treated as one major aspect of integrated earth system science and planetary science. Geology describes the structure of the Earth on and beneath its surface, the processes that have shaped that structure, it provides tools to determine the relative and absolute ages of rocks found in a given location, to describe the histories of those rocks. By combining these tools, geologists are able to chronicle the geological history of the Earth as a whole, to demonstrate the age of the Earth. Geology provides the primary evidence for plate tectonics, the evolutionary history of life, the Earth's past climates. Geologists use a wide variety of methods to understand the Earth's structure and evolution, including field work, rock description, geophysical techniques, chemical analysis, physical experiments, numerical modelling.
In practical terms, geology is important for mineral and hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation, evaluating water resources, understanding of natural hazards, the remediation of environmental problems, providing insights into past climate change. Geology is a major academic discipline, it plays an important role in geotechnical engineering; the majority of geological data comes from research on solid Earth materials. These fall into one of two categories: rock and unlithified material; the majority of research in geology is associated with the study of rock, as rock provides the primary record of the majority of the geologic history of the Earth. There are three major types of rock: igneous and metamorphic; the rock cycle illustrates the relationships among them. When a rock solidifies or crystallizes from melt, it is an igneous rock; this rock can be weathered and eroded redeposited and lithified into a sedimentary rock. It can be turned into a metamorphic rock by heat and pressure that change its mineral content, resulting in a characteristic fabric.
All three types may melt again, when this happens, new magma is formed, from which an igneous rock may once more solidify. To study all three types of rock, geologists evaluate the minerals; each mineral has distinct physical properties, there are many tests to determine each of them. The specimens can be tested for: Luster: Measurement of the amount of light reflected from the surface. Luster is broken into nonmetallic. Color: Minerals are grouped by their color. Diagnostic but impurities can change a mineral’s color. Streak: Performed by scratching the sample on a porcelain plate; the color of the streak can help name the mineral. Hardness: The resistance of a mineral to scratch. Breakage pattern: A mineral can either show fracture or cleavage, the former being breakage of uneven surfaces and the latter a breakage along spaced parallel planes. Specific gravity: the weight of a specific volume of a mineral. Effervescence: Involves dripping hydrochloric acid on the mineral to test for fizzing. Magnetism: Involves using a magnet to test for magnetism.
Taste: Minerals can have a distinctive taste, like halite. Smell: Minerals can have a distinctive odor. For example, sulfur smells like rotten eggs. Geologists study unlithified materials, which come from more recent deposits; these materials are superficial deposits. This study is known as Quaternary geology, after the Quaternary period of geologic history. However, unlithified material does not only include sediments. Magmas and lavas are the original unlithified source of all igneous rocks; the active flow of molten rock is studied in volcanology, igneous petrology aims to determine the history of igneous rocks from their final crystallization to their original molten source. In the 1960s, it was discovered that the Earth's lithosphere, which includes the crust and rigid uppermost portion of the upper mantle, is separated into tectonic plates that move across the plastically deforming, upper mantle, called the asthenosphere; this theory is supported by several types of observations, including seafloor spreading and the global distribution of mountain terrain and seismicity.
There is an intimate coupling between the movement of the plates on the surface and the convection of the mantle. Thus, oceanic plates and the adjoining mantle convection currents always move in the same direction – because the oceanic lithosphere is the rigid upper thermal boundary layer of the convecting mantle; this coupling between rigid plates moving on the surface of the Earth and the convecting mantle is called plate tectonics. The development of plate tectonics has provided a physical basis for many observations of the solid Earth. Long linear regions of geologic features are explained as plate boundaries. For example: Mid-ocean ridges, high regions on the seafloor where hydrothermal vents and volcanoes exist, are seen as divergent boundaries, where two plates move apart. Arcs of volcanoes and earthquakes are theorized as convergent boundaries, where one plate subducts, or moves, under another. Transform boundaries, such as the San Andreas Fault system, resulted in widespread powerful earthquakes.
Plate tectonics has provided a mechan
The Canary Islands is a Spanish archipelago and the southernmost autonomous community of Spain located in the Atlantic Ocean, 100 kilometres west of Morocco at the closest point. The Canary Islands, which are known informally as the Canaries, are among the outermost regions of the European Union proper, it is one of the eight regions with special consideration of historical nationality recognized as such by the Spanish Government. The Canary Islands belong to the African Plate like the Spanish cities of Ceuta and Melilla, the two on the African mainland; the seven main islands are Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro. The archipelago includes much smaller islands and islets: La Graciosa, Isla de Lobos, Montaña Clara, Roque del Oeste and Roque del Este, it includes a series of adjacent roques. In ancient times, the island chain was referred to as "the Fortunate Isles"; the Canary Islands are the most southerly region of Spain and the largest and most populated archipelago of the Macaronesia region.
The Canary Islands have been considered a bridge between four continents: Africa, North America, South America and Europe. The archipelago's beaches and important natural attractions Maspalomas in Gran Canaria and Teide National Park and Mount Teide in Tenerife, make it a major tourist destination with over 12 million visitors per year Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote; the islands have a subtropical climate, with moderately warm winters. The precipitation levels and the level of maritime moderation vary depending on location and elevation. Green areas as well as desert exist on the archipelago. Due to their location above the temperature inversion layer, the high mountains of these islands are ideal for astronomical observation. For this reason, two professional observatories, Teide Observatory on the island of Tenerife and Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on the island of La Palma, have been built on the islands. In 1927, the Province of Canary Islands was split into two provinces; the autonomous community of the Canary Islands was established in 1982.
Its capital is shared by the cities of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, which in turn are the capitals of the provinces of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria has been the largest city in the Canaries since 1768, except for a brief period in the 1910s. Between the 1833 territorial division of Spain and 1927 Santa Cruz de Tenerife was the sole capital of the Canary Islands. In 1927 a decree ordered; the third largest city of the Canary Islands is San Cristóbal de La Laguna on Tenerife. This city is home to the Consejo Consultivo de Canarias, the supreme consultative body of the Canary Islands. During the time of the Spanish Empire, the Canaries were the main stopover for Spanish galleons on their way to the Americas, which came south to catch the prevailing northeasterly trade winds; the name Islas Canarias is derived from the Latin name Canariae Insulae, meaning "Islands of the Dogs", a name, applied only to Gran Canaria. According to the historian Pliny the Elder, the Mauretanian king Juba II named the island Canaria because it contained "vast multitudes of dogs of large size".
Alternatively, it is said that the original inhabitants of the island, used to worship dogs, mummified them and treated dogs as holy animals. The ancient Greeks knew about a people, living far to the west, who are the "dog-headed ones", who worshipped dogs on an island; some hypothesize that the Canary Islands dog-worship and the ancient Egyptian cult of the dog-headed god, Anubis are connected but there is no explanation given as to which one was first. Other theories speculate that the name comes from the Nukkari Berber tribe living in the Moroccan Atlas, named in Roman sources as Canarii, though Pliny again mentions the relation of this term with dogs; the connection to dogs is retained in their depiction on the islands' coat-of-arms. It is considered that the aborigines of Gran Canaria called themselves "Canarios", it is possible that after being conquered, this name was used in plural in Spanish, i.e. as to refer to all of the islands as the Canarii-as. What is certain is that the name of the islands does not derive from the canary bird.
Tenerife is the largest and most populous island of the archipelago. Gran Canaria, with 865,070 inhabitants, is both the Canary Islands' second most populous island, the third most populous one in Spain after Majorca; the island of Fuerteventura is the second largest in the archipelago and located 100 km from the African coast. The islands form the Macaronesia ecoregion with the Azores, Cape Verde and the Savage Isles; the Canary Islands is the largest and most populated archipelago of the Macaronesia region. The archipelago consists of seven large and several smaller islands, all of which are volcanic in origin. According to the position of the islands with respect to the north-east trade winds, the climate can be mild and wet or dry. Several native species form laurisilva forests; as a consequence, the individual islands in the Canary archipelago tend to have distinct microclimates. Those islands such as El Hierro, La Palma and La Gomera lying to the west of the archipelago have a climate, influenced by the m
The Jurassic period was a geologic period and system that spanned 56 million years from the end of the Triassic Period 201.3 million years ago to the beginning of the Cretaceous Period 145 Mya. The Jurassic constitutes the middle period of the Mesozoic Era known as the Age of Reptiles; the start of the period was marked by the major Triassic–Jurassic extinction event. Two other extinction events occurred during the period: the Pliensbachian-Toarcian extinction in the Early Jurassic, the Tithonian event at the end; the Jurassic period is divided into three epochs: Early and Late. In stratigraphy, the Jurassic is divided into the Lower Jurassic, Middle Jurassic, Upper Jurassic series of rock formations; the Jurassic is named after the Jura Mountains within the European Alps, where limestone strata from the period were first identified. By the beginning of the Jurassic, the supercontinent Pangaea had begun rifting into two landmasses: Laurasia to the north, Gondwana to the south; this created more coastlines and shifted the continental climate from dry to humid, many of the arid deserts of the Triassic were replaced by lush rainforests.
On land, the fauna transitioned from the Triassic fauna, dominated by both dinosauromorph and crocodylomorph archosaurs, to one dominated by dinosaurs alone. The first birds appeared during the Jurassic, having evolved from a branch of theropod dinosaurs. Other major events include the appearance of the earliest lizards, the evolution of therian mammals, including primitive placentals. Crocodilians made the transition from a terrestrial to an aquatic mode of life; the oceans were inhabited by marine reptiles such as ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs, while pterosaurs were the dominant flying vertebrates. The chronostratigraphic term "Jurassic" is directly linked to the Jura Mountains, a mountain range following the course of the France–Switzerland border. During a tour of the region in 1795, Alexander von Humboldt recognized the limestone dominated mountain range of the Jura Mountains as a separate formation that had not been included in the established stratigraphic system defined by Abraham Gottlob Werner, he named it "Jura-Kalkstein" in 1799.
The name "Jura" is derived from the Celtic root *jor via Gaulish *iuris "wooded mountain", borrowed into Latin as a place name, evolved into Juria and Jura. The Jurassic period is divided into three epochs: Early and Late. In stratigraphy, the Jurassic is divided into the Lower Jurassic, Middle Jurassic, Upper Jurassic series of rock formations known as Lias and Malm in Europe; the separation of the term Jurassic into three sections originated with Leopold von Buch. The faunal stages from youngest to oldest are: During the early Jurassic period, the supercontinent Pangaea broke up into the northern supercontinent Laurasia and the southern supercontinent Gondwana; the Jurassic North Atlantic Ocean was narrow, while the South Atlantic did not open until the following Cretaceous period, when Gondwana itself rifted apart. The Tethys Sea closed, the Neotethys basin appeared. Climates were warm, with no evidence of a glacier having appeared; as in the Triassic, there was no land over either pole, no extensive ice caps existed.
The Jurassic geological record is good in western Europe, where extensive marine sequences indicate a time when much of that future landmass was submerged under shallow tropical seas. In contrast, the North American Jurassic record is the poorest of the Mesozoic, with few outcrops at the surface. Though the epicontinental Sundance Sea left marine deposits in parts of the northern plains of the United States and Canada during the late Jurassic, most exposed sediments from this period are continental, such as the alluvial deposits of the Morrison Formation; the Jurassic was a time of calcite sea geochemistry in which low-magnesium calcite was the primary inorganic marine precipitate of calcium carbonate. Carbonate hardgrounds were thus common, along with calcitic ooids, calcitic cements, invertebrate faunas with dominantly calcitic skeletons; the first of several massive batholiths were emplaced in the northern American cordillera beginning in the mid-Jurassic, marking the Nevadan orogeny. Important Jurassic exposures are found in Russia, South America, Japan and the United Kingdom.
In Africa, Early Jurassic strata are distributed in a similar fashion to Late Triassic beds, with more common outcrops in the south and less common fossil beds which are predominated by tracks to the north. As the Jurassic proceeded and more iconic groups of dinosaurs like sauropods and ornithopods proliferated in Africa. Middle Jurassic strata are neither well studied in Africa. Late Jurassic strata are poorly represented apart from the spectacular Tendaguru fauna in Tanzania; the Late Jurassic life of Tendaguru is similar to that found in western North America's Morrison Formation. During the Jurassic period, the primary vertebrates living in the sea were marine reptiles; the latter include ichthyosaurs, which were at the peak of their diversity, plesiosaurs and marine crocodiles of the families Teleosauridae and Metriorhynchidae. Numerous turtles could be found in rivers. In the invertebrate world, several new groups appeared, including rudists (a reef-formi
The Alps are the highest and most extensive mountain range system that lies in Europe, separating Southern from Central and Western Europe and stretching 1,200 kilometres across eight Alpine countries: France, Italy, Liechtenstein, Austria and Slovenia. The mountains were formed over tens of millions of years as the African and Eurasian tectonic plates collided. Extreme shortening caused by the event resulted in marine sedimentary rocks rising by thrusting and folding into high mountain peaks such as Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn. Mont Blanc spans the French–Italian border, at 4,810 m is the highest mountain in the Alps; the Alpine region area contains about a hundred peaks higher than 4,000 metres. The altitude and size of the range affects the climate in Europe. Wildlife such as ibex live in the higher peaks to elevations of 3,400 m, plants such as Edelweiss grow in rocky areas in lower elevations as well as in higher elevations. Evidence of human habitation in the Alps goes back to the Palaeolithic era.
A mummified man, determined to be 5,000 years old, was discovered on a glacier at the Austrian–Italian border in 1991. By the 6th century BC, the Celtic La Tène culture was well established. Hannibal famously crossed the Alps with a herd of elephants, the Romans had settlements in the region. In 1800, Napoleon crossed one of the mountain passes with an army of 40,000; the 18th and 19th centuries saw an influx of naturalists and artists, in particular, the Romantics, followed by the golden age of alpinism as mountaineers began to ascend the peaks. The Alpine region has a strong cultural identity; the traditional culture of farming and woodworking still exists in Alpine villages, although the tourist industry began to grow early in the 20th century and expanded after World War II to become the dominant industry by the end of the century. The Winter Olympic Games have been hosted in the Swiss, Italian and German Alps. At present, the region has 120 million annual visitors; the English word Alps derives from the Latin Alpes.
Maurus Servius Honoratus, an ancient commentator of Virgil, says in his commentary that all high mountains are called Alpes by Celts. The term may be common to Italo-Celtic, because the Celtic languages have terms for high mountains derived from alp; this may be consistent with the theory. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the Latin Alpes might derive from a pre-Indo-European word *alb "hill". Albania, a name not native to the region known as the country of Albania, has been used as a name for a number of mountainous areas across Europe. In Roman times, "Albania" was a name for the eastern Caucasus, while in the English languages "Albania" was used as a name for Scotland, although it is more derived from the Latin albus, the color white; the Latin word Alpes could come from the adjective albus. In modern languages the term alp, albe or alpe refers to a grazing pastures in the alpine regions below the glaciers, not the peaks. An alp refers to a high mountain pasture where cows are taken to be grazed during the summer months and where hay barns can be found, the term "the Alps", referring to the mountains, is a misnomer.
The term for the mountain peaks varies by nation and language: words such as Horn, Kopf, Spitze and Berg are used in German speaking regions. The Alps are a crescent shaped geographic feature of central Europe that ranges in a 800 km arc from east to west and is 200 km in width; the mean height of the mountain peaks is 2.5 km. The range stretches from the Mediterranean Sea north above the Po basin, extending through France from Grenoble, stretching eastward through mid and southern Switzerland; the range continues onward toward Vienna and east to the Adriatic Sea and Slovenia. To the south it dips into northern Italy and to the north extends to the southern border of Bavaria in Germany. In areas like Chiasso and Allgäu, the demarcation between the mountain range and the flatlands are clear; the countries with the greatest alpine territory are Austria, Italy and Switzerland. The highest portion of the range is divided by the glacial trough of the Rhône valley, from Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn and Monte Rosa on the southern side, the Bernese Alps on the northern.
The peaks in the easterly portion of the range, in Austria and Slovenia, are smaller than those in the central and western portions. The variances in nomenclature in the region spanned by the Alps makes classification of the mountains and subregions difficult, but a general classification is that of the Eastern Alps and Western Alps with the divide between the two occurring in eastern Switzerland according to geologist Stefan Schmid, near the Splügen Pass; the highest peaks of the Western Alps and Eastern Alps are Mont Blanc, at 4,810 m and Piz Bernina at 4,049 metres. The second-highest major
For the extinct cephalopod genus, see Andesites. Andesite is an extrusive igneous, volcanic rock, of intermediate composition, with aphanitic to porphyritic texture. In a general sense, it is the intermediate type between basalt and rhyolite, ranges from 57 to 63% silicon dioxide as illustrated in TAS diagrams; the mineral assemblage is dominated by plagioclase plus pyroxene or hornblende. Magnetite, apatite, ilmenite and garnet are common accessory minerals. Alkali feldspar may be present in minor amounts; the quartz-feldspar abundances in andesite and other volcanic rocks are illustrated in QAPF diagrams. Classification of andesites may be refined according to the most abundant phenocryst. Example: hornblende-phyric andesite, if hornblende is the principal accessory mineral. Andesite can be considered as the extrusive equivalent of plutonic diorite. Characteristic of subduction zones, andesite represents the dominant rock type in island arcs; the average composition of the continental crust is andesitic.
Along with basalts they are a major component of the Martian crust. The name andesite is derived from the Andes mountain range. Magmatism in island arc regions comes from the interplay of the subducting plate and the mantle wedge, the wedge-shaped region between the subducting and overriding plates. During subduction, the subducted oceanic crust is submitted to increasing pressure and temperature, leading to metamorphism. Hydrous minerals such as amphibole, chlorite etc. dehydrate as they change to more stable, anhydrous forms, releasing water and soluble elements into the overlying wedge of mantle. Fluxing water into the wedge lowers the solidus of the mantle material and causes partial melting. Due to the lower density of the molten material, it rises through the wedge until it reaches the lower boundary of the overriding plate. Melts generated in the mantle wedge are of basaltic composition, but they have a distinctive enrichment of soluble elements which are contributed from sediment that lies at the top of the subducting plate.
Although there is evidence to suggest that the subducting oceanic crust may melt during this process, the relative contribution of the three components to the generated basalts is still a matter of debate. Basalt thus formed can contribute to the formation of andesite through fractional crystallization, partial melting of crust, or magma mixing, all of which are discussed next. Andesite is formed at convergent plate margins but may occur in other tectonic settings. Intermediate volcanic rocks are created via several processes: Fractional crystallization of a mafic parent magma. Partial melting of crustal material. Magma mixing between felsic rhyolitic and mafic basaltic magmas in a magma reservoir To achieve andesitic composition via fractional crystallization, a basaltic magma must crystallize specific minerals that are removed from the melt; this removal can take place in a variety of ways, but most this occurs by crystal settling. The first minerals to crystallize and be removed from a basaltic parent are amphiboles.
These mafic minerals settle out of the magma. There is geophysical evidence from several arcs that large layers of mafic cumulates lie at the base of the crust. Once these mafic minerals have been removed, the melt no longer has a basaltic composition; the silica content of the residual melt is enriched relative to the starting composition. The iron and magnesium contents are depleted; as this process continues, the melt becomes more and more evolved becoming andesitic. Without continued addition of mafic material, the melt will reach a rhyolitic composition. Molten basalt in the mantle wedge moves upwards until it reaches the base of the overriding crust. Once there, the basaltic melt can either underplate the crust, creating a layer of molten material at its base, or it can move into the overriding plate in the form of dykes. If it underplates the crust, the basalt can cause partial melting of the lower crust due to the transfer of heat and volatiles. Models of heat transfer, show that arc basalts emplaced at temperatures 1100–1240 °C cannot provide enough heat to melt lower crustal amphibolite.
Basalt can, melt pelitic upper crustal material. Andesitic magmas generated in island arcs, are the result of partial melting of the crust. In continental arcs, such as the Andes, magma pools in the shallow crust creating magma chambers. Magmas in these reservoirs become evolved in composition through both the process of fractional crystallization and partial melting of the surrounding country rock. Over time as crystallization continues and the system loses heat, these reservoirs cool. In order to remain active, magma chambers must have continued recharge of hot basaltic melt into the system; when this basaltic material mixes with the evolved rhyolitic magma, the composition is returned to andesite, its intermediate phase. In 2009, researchers revealed that andesite was found in two meteorites that were discovered in the Graves Nunataks icefield during the US Antarctic Search for Meteorites 2006/2007 field season; this points to a new mechanism to generate andesite crust. Andesite line Basaltic andesite Continental crust – Layer of rock that forms the continents and continental shelves Fractional crystallization – One of the main processes of magmatic differentiation List of rock types – A list of rock types recognized by geologists Metamorphism – The change of minerals in pre-existing rocks w