Outline of Historical Geology by Ellin Beltz
Part I
You are Here
Introduction, Environment, Stratigraphy
Part II
Taxonomy and Taphonomy
Part III
Rock Cycle
Part IV
Plate Tectonics
Part V
A brief history of Earth
2006 by Ellin Beltz

Historical Geology - Part I

Introduction

We begin by reviewing:

Historical Geology can be divided into: Exercise:
Learn your sedimentary rocks from the standard rock boxes and review sediments in a teaching collection or from a field guide to sedimentary material.

Environments

A study of modern sedimentary environments reveals features common to all - and differences between every kind. Particle sorting, roundness and sedimentary structures may reveal ancient sedimentary environments:
  1. Marine
  2. Non-marine
    • fluvial -- floodplain, channel, alluvial fan
    • aeolian -- desert, dunes, loess
    • lacustrine -- lakes, lake beaches, seiches, turbidity, organics, playas and evaporites
    • glacial -- subglacial, englacial, superglacial, proglacial and postglacial
    • paludal -- marsh and coal swamps
    • subterranean -- caves and caverns
    • Additional resources:
  3. Transitional
    • delta -- river enters standing water
    • beach -- between high and low tide lines
    • bar -- follows longshore currents
    • tide flat -- covered and uncovered in each tidal cycle
    • lagoon -- protected area behind bar, deeper than flats
    • Additional resources:

Tectonic environments include:

  1. Passive marginal environments (cratonic) -- shelf, slope and rise, sometimes covered by epiric seas. The Atlantic is presently a passive marginal environment.
  2. Active marginal environments (orogenic) have trenches, accretionary wedges, and coast ranges
  3. Subsiding sedimentary basins (like the Illinois Basin and the Gulf of Mexico) which receive terrigenous sediment from surrounding areas. Continually gaining weight, these sediments compress older materials and preserve much Earth history.
  4. Mid-ocean ridges can be associated with either marginal environment.

    Additional resources:

Exercise:
Locate each type of environment on a modern map. Describe the type of primary sediment, contemporary cross-cutting and truncation, and redeposition cycles. Describe Illinois history from the bottom up by copying major rock time-units to your geological column. Use standard symbols.

Basic Stratigraphy

Exercise:
Using the U.S. Geological Map, draw a cross-section of the U.S. from the western edge of Iowa, through Chicago, across the Michigan Basin, to Toronto and Niagara Falls. Label horizontal scale and vertical scale which they should be different to properly represent landforms and use different colors to show time periods and standard geological symbols to show generalized lithology.

Words to review:

  • arkose,
  • basin, bed, bioclastic, boulders, breccia,
  • cement, cementation, chemical sedimentary rocks, chalk, chert, clast, clastic, clay, coal, cobbles, compaction, concretion, conglomerate, coquina, craton, crystalline,
  • detrital, dewatering, diatomite, dolomite, dome
  • epiric sea, era, evaporites,
  • facies, facies map, fissile, flint, flysch, formation, fossil,
  • geode, gravel, graded bedding, graywacke, gypsum,
  • halite,
  • immature sediments, ions, isopach, isotope
  • jasper,
  • laminations, limestone, lithifaction, lithofacies, loess,
  • matrix, mature sediments, micrite, molasse, mudstone,
  • ooids, oolitic limestone, ophiolite, orogenic
  • paleogeography, peat, period, pore space, porosity, precipitation (of ions),
  • recrystalization, regression, rock unit, roundness,
  • sand, shale, siderite, sieves, silt, siltstone, sinter, sorting, sparite, stratigraphy, stratification, stromatolites
  • taphonomy, texture, thin section, time-rock unit, transgression, travertine, trace fossil, turbedites
  • varves
Outline of Historical Geology by Ellin Beltz
Part I
You are Here
Introduction, Environment, Stratigraphy
Part II
Taxonomy and Taphonomy
Part III
Rock Cycle
Part IV
Plate Tectonics
Part V
A brief history of Earth
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2008 by Ellin Beltz -- January 10, 2008