Geology glossary

Updated: Nov 25, 2021 11:26 GMT -

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fault

Earthquakes
Illustration of the main types of tectonic faults (source: USGS)
Illustration of the main types of tectonic faults (source: USGS)
A fault is a fracture in the rigid crust of the earth, along which the two blocks on either side have moved relative to each other and often may do so again in the future. When blocks move along a fault, tectonic earthquakes are generated.
Depending on the movement, there are strike-slip faults (side-wards movement), normal faults (caused by extension), and reverse or thrust faults (caused by compression). A reverse fault with a small dip angle is called a thrust fault. Read all

feldspar

Minerals
Compositional phase diagram of the different minerals that constitute the feldspar solid solution. Image credit: Muskid / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)
Compositional phase diagram of the different minerals that constitute the feldspar solid solution. Image credit: Muskid / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)
Feldspars are a group of closely related rock-forming silicate minerals that are by far the most common in the earth's crust, making up about 41% of its weight.
Feldspar is the most common mineral formed during crystallization of magmas and almost always present in magmatic rocks.
Chemically, the feldspar minerals primarily bind varying proportions of the most common light elements potassium (K), sodium (Na), calcium (Ca), and aluminum (Al) ions, into a crystal lattice of silica (Si) ions.
Namefeldspar
Category
FormulaKAlSi3O8 – NaAlSi3O8 – CaAl2Si2O8
Crystal systemtriclinic
Colorpink, white, gray, brown, blue
Streakwhite
Lustervitreous
Crystal habit
Mohs hardness6.0–6.5
Specific weight2.55–2.76
UsesFeldspar is a common raw material used to produce glass and ceramics. To lesser extent, it is used in filters, paints, plastics, and rubber.
Other
Feldspars are divided into several groups, based on their chemical compositions of potassium (K), sodium (Na) and calcium (Ca). Thus, there are 3 end-members and numerous intermediate compositions:
- potassium: (K-spar) endmember KAlSi3O8
- albite: NaAlSi3O8
- anorthite: CaAl2Si2O8

Intermediates between K-feldspar and albite (... Read all

fissure vent

Volcanology
A fissure vent, also known as a volcanic fissure or simply fissure, is a linear volcanic vent through which lava erupts.
A fissure vent, also known as a volcanic fissure or simply fissure, is a linear volcanic vent through which lava erupts, usually without any explosive activity. The vent is usually a few meters wide and may be many kilometers long. Fissure vents can cause large flood basalts and lava channels. This type of volcano is usually hard to recognize from the ground and from outer space because it has no ... Read all

focusSynonym of: hypocenter

Earthquakes
Epicenter and hypocenter of an earthquake (Source: USGS earthquake glossary)
Epicenter and hypocenter of an earthquake (Source: USGS earthquake glossary)

foreshock

Earthquakes
Foreshocks are smaller earthquakes that precede the largest earthquake in a series, which is termed the mainshock. Not all earthquakes arre preceded by foreshocks.
Foreshocks are earthquakes of varying magnitudes and intensities which precede a larger and stronger earthquake. This larger and stronger earthquake is called the main shock. Earthquakes or a series of quakes in one area cannot often be immediately identified as a foreshock. By definition, a main shock should have occurred first before any foreshocks and aftershocks can be identified.
The ... Read all

fossile

Geology
Fossils are the mineralized or otherwise preserved remains or traces (such as footprints) of animals, plants, and other organisms.
Fossils (from Latin fossus, literally "having been dug up") are the mineralized or otherwise preserved remains or traces (such as footprints) of animals, plants, and other organisms. The totality of fossils, both discovered and undiscovered, and their placement in fossiliferous (fossil-containing) rock formations and sedimentary layers (strata) is known as the fossil record. The study of fossils a... Read all

granite

Volcanology
Pink granite (image: Friman / Wikimedia Commons)
Pink granite (image: Friman / Wikimedia Commons)
Granite is the most well-known and one of the most common intrusive magmatic (plutonic) rock type. It is formed when an intrusion of viscous magma with high silica content (68-75 wt %) remains under the surface of the earth, where it cools and crystallizes slowly inside the crust.
Granite is the equivalent of its extrusive (volcanic) rock type rhyolite. It is granular and coarse-grained in texture. Its principal minerals are feldspars, quartz, and mica.
Granites can be predominantly white, pink, or gray in color, depending on their mineralogy. Read all

hauyn

Minerals: hauyn crystals
Hauyn crystals from the German volcano Laacher See (photo: Stefan Wolfsried)
Hauyn crystals from the German volcano Laacher See (photo: Stefan Wolfsried)
Hauyn is a blue mineral, found f.e. in the pumice of the Laacher See eruption in Germany
Hauyne, haüyne or hauynite is a tectosilicate mineral with sulfate and chloride with formula: (Na,Ca)4-8Al6Si6(O,S)24(SO4,Cl)1-2. It is a feldspathoid and a member of the sodalite group. Hauyne crystallizes in the isometric system forming translucent, vitreous typically twinned crystals with highly variable color (blue, white, grey, yellow, green, pink). It has a Mohs hardness of 5 to 6 and a spec... Read all

Hawaiian eruption

Volcanology
Lava fountain more than 1,000 ft tall from Mauna Ulu, a vent of Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii, on 22 Aug 1969, a spectacular example of a Hawaiian eruption. Photo by D.A. Swanson, HVO / USGS
Lava fountain more than 1,000 ft tall from Mauna Ulu, a vent of Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii, on 22 Aug 1969, a spectacular example of a Hawaiian eruption. Photo by D.A. Swanson, HVO / USGS
During a Hawaiian eruption, very fluid, basaltic lava is erupted from the vent as lava fountains and forms lava flows. The fountains are driven by the expanding gasses that were contained in the magma and leave the vent as a jet. Such eruptions are common for hot-spot volcanoes such as Kilauea on Hawai'i.
The lava fountains can reach heights of several hundreds meters, sometimes even more than 1 km. They can last for hours or even days and often occur from fissure vents to form so-called curtains of fire.
The lava spatter that falls back from the fountain can form lava flows if it is still fluid enough, or build up welded spatter ramparts and cinder cones around the vent. Along with the lava foun... Read all

hornito

Volcanology
Erupting hornito on Kilauea volcano (Hawaii)
Erupting hornito on Kilauea volcano (Hawaii)
Hornito (Spanish) = "Little oven".
Volcanic hornitos are small (usually a few meters high) rootless spatter cones that form on the surface of a (usually basaltic pahoehoe) lava flow. A hornito develops when lava is forced up through an opening in the cooled surface of a flow (a skylight) and then accumulates around the opening. Typically, hornitos are steep sided and form conspicuous pinnacles o... Read all

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