Geology

A:

Chemical weathering is the process by which a material breaks down into its component elements through the action of a chemical agent. This type of weathering requires precise temperature conditions and the presence of a chemically-laden fluid. Substances capable of causing chemical weathering include water and acids.

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  • What Is the Difference Between Soil and Sand?

    Q: What Is the Difference Between Soil and Sand?

    A: Soil is made up of liquids, solids and gases that form on the surface of land, while sand is a natural material that consists of at least 85 percent sand-sized particles. Soil consists mostly of organic matter, such as decomposing animals and plants and minerals. The most common sand found throughout the world is made up of quartz, or silicon dioxide.
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  • What Are the Disadvantages of Coal?

    Q: What Are the Disadvantages of Coal?

    A: The primary disadvantages of coal stem from its adverse health and environmental effects. Burning coal produces harmful waste, including carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, sulphuric acids and arsenic. Coal-fired power plants are responsible for roughly 24,000 premature deaths each year in the United States, with 2,800 deaths from lung cancer alone.
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  • Why Is Limestone Important?

    Q: Why Is Limestone Important?

    A: According to the U.S. General Services Administration, limestone is important because it is widely used in architectural applications for walls, decorative trim and veneer. It is less commonly used in making sculptures because of its porosity and softness.
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  • What Rock Is Formed When Magma Cools at the Earth's Surface?

    Q: What Rock Is Formed When Magma Cools at the Earth's Surface?

    A: The specific type of rock that forms when magma cools at the Earth's surface is extrusive igneous rock. Igneous rock forms when magma cools, but where the magma cools determines the type of igneous rock that forms. Igneous rock gets its name from the Greek word for fire and is so called due to the extremely hot liquid from which the rocks originate.
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  • Where Can You Find Geodes?

    Q: Where Can You Find Geodes?

    A: Geodes are mostly found in deserts, volcanic ash beds and areas with limestone throughout the world. In the United States, common geode sites include Arizona, California, Iowa, Nevada and Utah. The most abundant geode sites in California are Riverside and Imperial counties.
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  • Is Salt a Non-Renewable Resource?

    Q: Is Salt a Non-Renewable Resource?

    A: Salt, or sodium chloride, is a non-renewable resource. A resource is defined as renewable only if it is self-replenishing. While new salt is being formed by natural processes in the earth, the timescale for that formation is too vast for salt to be considered self-replenishing in terms of human use.
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  • How Are Meteorites Formed?

    Q: How Are Meteorites Formed?

    A: Most meteorites that fall to Earth come from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, where they formed during the early days of the solar system. Occasionally, collisions or gravitational perturbations send one of these objects hurtling toward the sun. If it approaches close to Earth, it may fall into the planet's gravity well.
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  • How Does Sedimentary Rock Form?

    Q: How Does Sedimentary Rock Form?

    A: According to the National Park Service, sedimentary rock forms when mud and sand are deposited into layers on the earth’s surface and later buried. The buried mud and sand is compacted by the weight of the overlying layers of earth until they harden and form solid rock.
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  • What Is the Outer Core?

    Q: What Is the Outer Core?

    A: The outer core is part of the core, which is one of the three major layers of the Earth. The core is the deepest and hottest layer and is mostly composed of metals, and it is beneath the Earth's mantle. The outer core is the first layer of the core, and it extends to a depth of approximately 2,890 kilometers below the Earth's crust and measures 2,300 kilometers thick.
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  • Why Is a Diamond so Hard?

    Q: Why Is a Diamond so Hard?

    A: The molecular structure of a diamond makes it hard, as diamonds are comprised of carbon atoms linked closely together in a lattice structure. The atoms are linked tightly via covalent bonds wherein two atoms share an electron. A tetrahedral unit is composed of five carbon atoms, with one carbon atom sharing electrons with the other four. An extremely strong molecule is formed from the tetrahedral bonding of five carbon atoms.
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  • How Much Is Topaz Worth?

    Q: How Much Is Topaz Worth?

    A: The market value of topaz varies greatly, ranging from approximately $8 to $749 per carat as of September 2014. Its worth is determined by a number of factors such as weight, color, clarity, cut and shape. A gemologist must appraise the gem to provide an exact estimate.
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  • What Is Absolute Dating?

    Q: What Is Absolute Dating?

    A: Absolute dating is a method of determining the specific date of a paleontological or archaeological artifact or location based on a specific time scale or calendar. Scientists base absolute dating on measurable physical or chemical changes or on written records of events.
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  • What Is Clay Soil?

    Q: What Is Clay Soil?

    A: Clay soil is composed of tiny particles that are hard and able to become easily compacted. This compaction makes it difficult to plant or even shovel within the soil.
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  • What Is Sedimentary Rock?

    Q: What Is Sedimentary Rock?

    A: Sedimentary rocks are formed by the deposition of mud, clay, sand and other small particles on the surface of the Earth. Sedimentation can occur in many different environments, including lakes, rivers, deserts and oceans. The sediment is deposited in layers that are compressed over time and turned into solid rock.
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  • What Is a Mine-Cut Diamond?

    Q: What Is a Mine-Cut Diamond?

    A: Mine-cut diamonds are typically square or slightly oval and have a deeper crown and pavilion, or top and bottom, than modern stones. "Mine cut" does not refer to the place the diamond was faceted, but rather to its overall shape and brilliance.
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  • Does Sand Dissolve in Water?

    Q: Does Sand Dissolve in Water?

    A: Sand does not dissolve in water. Sand is mostly made of fine quartz, which does not dissolve in water. Sand does dissolve in certain hot acids.
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  • What Is Dry Lava Called?

    Q: What Is Dry Lava Called?

    A: Dry lava is called igneous rock. The superheated molten rock that reaches the surface in an eruption is called lava, and lava may flow for miles before cooling.
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  • What Is the Importance of Geology in Civil Engineering?

    Q: What Is the Importance of Geology in Civil Engineering?

    A: Geology is the study of earth, the materials of which it is made, the structure of those materials and the effects of the natural forces acting upon them and is important to civil engineering because all work performed by civil engineers involves earth and its features. Fundamental understanding of geology is so important that it is a requirement in university-level civil engineering programs.
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  • What Are the Four Processes That Result in the Formation of Minerals?

    Q: What Are the Four Processes That Result in the Formation of Minerals?

    A: Minerals are formed by organic processes, crystallization, melting and crystallographic transformations that occur in the mineral's solid state. Crystallographic transformations generally occur with a change in the pressure or temperature in the material surrounding the mineral deposit.
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  • How Is Sandstone Formed?

    Q: How Is Sandstone Formed?

    A: Sandstone forms over the course of centuries, as deposits of sand accumulate in rivers, lakes or on the ocean floor, and the sand blends with calcite or quarts and then undergoes compression. After enough time goes by, the pressure pushes all of these elements together to create sandstone. Because not all sand is identical but instead comes in a variety of colors and grain textures, each formation has a unique appearance.
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  • What Is a Petrified Rock?

    Q: What Is a Petrified Rock?

    A: While there's no such thing as petrified rock, petrified wood is fossilized wood. According to YourGemologist, there is no wood actually left in petrified wood, only rock that takes the same form and shape of the wood.
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