A dark, fine-grained, extrusive (volcanic) igneous rock with a low silica content (40% to 50%), but rich in iron, magnesium and calcium. Generally occurs in lava flows, but also as dikes. Basalt makes up most of the ocean floor and is the most abundant volcanic rock in the Earth's crust.
The level (elevation) at which a stream or river can erode no more, usually sea level.
A depression in the Earth's surface that collects sediment.
Basin and Range province
This province extends from eastern California to central Utah, and from southern Idaho into the state of Sonora in Mexico. Within the Basin and Range province the Earth's crust and uppermost mantle have been stretched, creating large faults. Along these faults linear mountain ranges were uplifted and flat valleys down-dropped, producing the distinctive topography of the Basin and Range province.
Very large mass of intrusive (plutonic) igneous rock that forms when magma solidifies at depth. A batholith must have greater than 100 square kilometers (40 square miles) of exposed area. See pluton, stock.
A layer of sediment or sedimentary rock.
Parallel layers of sediment or sedimentary rock (beds) that can be distinguished from each other by characteristics such as grain size and chemical composition.
Sedimentary layers in a rock. The beds are distinguished from each other by grain size and composition, such as in shale and sandstone. Subtle changes, such as beds richer in iron-oxide, help distinguish bedding. Most beds are deposited essentially horizontally.
The solid rock that lies beneath soil and other loose surface materials.
In North America, 1,000,000,000
A common rock-forming mineral of the mica family. Biotite is a black or dark brown silicate rich in iron, magnesium, potassium, aluminum, and, of course, silica. Like other micas, it forms flat book-like crystals that peal apart into individual sheets on cleavage planes.
Metamorphic rock rich in blue amphibole.
A pit or excavation area used for gathering earth materials (borrow) such as sand or gravel.
Any loose rock (sediment) larger than 256 millimeters (10 inches).
Rock made up of angular fragments of other rocks held together by mineral cement or a fine-grained matrix. Volcanic breccia is made of volcanic rock fragments, generally blown from a volcano or eroded from it. Fault breccia is made by breaking and grinding rocks along a fault.
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