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49 Cards in this Set

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The study of rock layers and layering. It deals with the classification, correlations and interpretation of stratified rocks which can be sedimentary, igneous or metamorphic.


Rock physical characteristics to study rock strata.


Fossil evidence to correlate and interpret rock strata

Principles of Layer Superposition

Postulates that older rock layer are at the bottom of successions and younger layers occupy progressively higher positions according to age of formation in a sequence of undisturbed layers.

Nicolaus Steno

Established theoretical basis of stratigraphy

James Hutton

Introduced principles of Actualism. Present is the key to the past

William SMith

Produced first geological map of England, Wales and Southern Scotland.

George Cuvier

Proposed principle of catastrophism.

Importance of Stratigraphy

Mineral exploration, hydrocarbon exploration, coal mining, engineering geology.

Principles of Successive Layer Formation

States that when layers are forming, no layer exists above other than fluid from which layer material were precipitated.

Principle of Original Layer Horizontality

Layers of sedimentary rocks were originally deposited horizontally or near horizontal, parallel or nearly parallel to the Earth surface and deposition on steep slope will be washed away before lithification. Inclined layers and folded layers are results of disturbance since original deposition.

Principle of Inclusion

States that inclusions within igneous rocks are older than rocks that includes them.

Principles of Cross-Cutting Relationship

States that younger features or rock cut across older features or rocks. Prominently used in characterizing Veins, Dykes in igneous rocks.

Principle of Rock Cooking

An igneous body that thermally alters a body of rock is younger than the altered rock. Thermally altered rock are older than the source of alteration

Way Up Structures

Structures due to sedimentary processes with consistent upward or downward orientation


Sedimentary structures in fine sediments that opens upwards and narrows downwards to indicate the top and bottom direction in a layer.

Ripple Marks

Sedimentary structures formed as a result of current action on unconsolidated particles at the top of a layer. They exhibit a structure that narrow towards the top of the layer and widens towards the bottom of a layer.


The missing time in stratigraphic succession representing the time in which there was a break in deposition. It is called a Lacuna.


Structures produced by organisms in sediments in the course of their life activities. The burrows as a rule opens toward the top of a layer and closes to the bottom of a layer.


They are buried erosional or non-depositional surfaces between two rock layers. They represent break in sedimentation or deposition within rock successions.


Unconformity between parallel sedimentary layers. Break in deposition followed by uplift, erosion and the deposition of the top layer.


Resulting from the overlaying of eroded igneous or metamorphic rock surfaces formed deep beneath the Earth surface by sedimentary layers.

Geological Time Scale

System of chronological measurement that relates stratigraphy to time. Used for describing the timing and relationship between events in Earth's history.

Angular Unconformity

Formed between tilted and undeformed sedimentary layers. Involves the deposition of layers horizontally or near horizontal, uplift and tiled followed by erosion and the deposition of a new horizontal bed.


Longest unit in GTS. Four eons: Hadean, Archean, Proterozoic, Phanerozoic


Oldes eon in Earth's history. 4.5-4.0 billion years.


Oldest Record on Earth. 4.0-2.5 billion years.


Oldest macro fossil record. 2.5-0.5 billion years.


Small resemblance in fossils and modern fauna and floras. 55-250 million years


Resemblance to fossils and modern fauna. 65 - 0 million years. Three periods: Paleogene, Neogene, Quaternary.


Youngest eon in Earth's history. 0.5-0 billion years. Paleozoic, mesozoic, Cenozoic.


Some resemblance to modern fossils. 250-65 million years. Three periods: triassic, jurassic, cretaceous.

Strategraphic correlation

The study of establishing geochronological relationship between different regions based on geological investigations of rock successions.


The change in inherited characteristics of organisms or biological groups over succession of generations leading to diversity in species, morphologies and genetics.

Fossil Record

Documentation of life history by fossils


The study of principles used in species classification at any hierarchical level

Original Linnean Hierarchy

Kingdom, Class, Order, Genus, Species

Improved Linnean Heirarcy

Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species

Carl Linnaeus

Classification based on morphological resemblance

Jean Baptiste

Significant variation in population of some species. Environment and morphological changes. Inheritance of useful organ.

Charles Darwin

First Coherent theory of evolution. Species by means of natural selection.

Evidence of Evolution

Gradual increasing morphology related to geological events. Rock formation related to changes in atmosphere composition.

Plate Tectonics

The theory that explains the features and large-scale motion of the Earth's lithospheric plate. In the present and the past. It combines the concepts of continental drift and sea floor spreading.

Continental Drift

The movement of the earth's continents relative to each other.

Sea Floor Spreading

The process by which new oceanic crust are formed by volcanic activities at the mid-ocean ridges.

Natural Remanent Magnetism

The permanent magnetism of rock or sediment during formation preserving the record of the earth magnetic field.


Super continent during late paleozoic. Surrounded by super ocean panthalassa. Broke up by rifting.

Evidence of Pangea

Fossil record, paleomagnetic studies, mountain chains.

Oceanic Trenches

Deeper part of Oceans. Can be 11.5km in depth. Elongate structures covering small area. Associated with earthquake.