Terms and Definitions
Here are some basic terms used in the tour. At the bottom of each page in the tour is a short list of terms used on that page and their definitions. Find more science terms in the Kids' Cosmos Field Trip to Mars Glossary.
Return to any Field Trip to Mars page by clicking below.
- A raised area between two parallel faults, opposite of a "graben".
- The area inside the Earth where an earthquake happened. Also known as the Focus.
- Ice Age
- A period in Earth's history when much of the continents are covered with ice sheets and glaciers.
- Igneous Rock
- Rock that has been melted, cooled and become solid.
- The observed effects that an earthquake shaking the ground has on people, buildings, man-made structures and natural features.
- Places where magma flows don't break through the surface but do raise the ground above them.
- A flood created when a body of water held by a glacial dam breaks through the confining walls. The Lake Missoula Floods were jokulhlaups.
- A whirlpool or tornado effect that forms in deep, fast moving water. Kolks can pick up solid blocks of basalt in flood areas.
- Molten earth material (rock) that comes out of volcanoes or cracks in the Earth's crust.
- A mixture of water and rock debris that forms on the slopes of a volcano. Also known as a mudflow or debris flow. The term comes from Indonesia.
- Fine dirt deposited by wind usually from arid or glaciated areas.
- The seismic (earthquake) energy recorded on a seismograph.
- Molten rock beneath the earth's surface. Magma is called "lava" when it erupts from a volcano.
- The layer of the Earth about 1800 miles thick between the crust and the core.
- Mercalli Intensity Scale, Modified
- Earthquake intensity measured on a scale that has 12 increasing levels. The scale takes into account how people "felt" the quake and the observed structural damage.
- Metamorphic Rock
- Rocks that have changed form through high pressure and heat. Examples are marble, gneiss and slate.
- The period of geologic time that began about 24 million years ago and ended approximately ten million years ago.
- Deposits of rocks, boulders, gravel and sand (called glacial drift) left behind by glaciers as they melted. Terminal moraines are at the end of a glacier.
Kids' Cosmos… Expanding Minds Beyond the Limits of the Universe
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