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EESA06H3 Study Guide - Final Guide: Mesozoic, Sudbury Basin, Supercontinent

Environmental Science
Course Code
Nick Eyles
Study Guide

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Important People
- Professor Miall: leading experts on stratigraphy. Went to the Rocky Mountains
- Watt: invented the steam engine, started the industrial revolution. (where geology began)
- Logan: invented coal, in eastern Canada, Joggins
Age of Rocks:
- Strata: layers of rock. Stratigraphy: studies Earth history as revealed by strata
- Preserve Rocks: need areas of rocks that are subducting (ocean basins, zones, basins)
o So, it floods with water and accumulate sediments: Accommodation
- Rock record: need area to have subsided in the past to accommodate these layers:
o Grand Canyon- have different layers of rock
1. Conformable Succession
- When the layers sit on each other without any major breaks.
- Continuous record of environment, and accumulated information about the earth’s
2. Unconformable Succession: more common
- Major breaks within the succession. More gaps than rock record
3. Formal Succession: Index Fossils
- Fossils are lithified remains of an organism, and record evolution over time
- B/c organisms evolve over time, we can age them based on what has more primitive
- index fossils: are organisms that have evolved very quickly
o Himalayas Fossils:
- thrust: surface where the older rocks were shoved
o results in a recumbent fold: where the rocks underneath turn upside-down.
Edges of Rock Layers: Strike
Three different types of Faults
- we use the information from faults to indicate if the rocks were shoved or extended. From
that we determine the plate tectonic setting.
1. Normal Faults: Rocks are extended
- the most common, where the rocks have been pulled apart, and extended
- the fault is where it’s broken, and that’s where the hanging wall block would be.
- When you get 2 normal faults: graben, which form these narrow rift valleus
2. Reverse Faults
- The rocks have been shoved together.
- Mid ocean ridges, mountains, where the crust has been pulled apart: East Africa, Iceland
- In Canada, the most dangerous: West Canada, Cascadia Subduction Zone.
3. Strike slip Faults
- Where the rocks are simply sliding past each other: transform faults
- Most famous: San Andreas.
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- Uplift: opposite of subsidence. Results in erosion. We don’t get Accommodation
- Brittle Failure: fracture which occurs a or below the elastic limit of a material
- Contact metamorphism: where the rocks are heated are heated around the pluton
o Before you start swearing when you touch a hot plate. Dip and strike
o No accommodation, it was uplift and erosion
Radiocarbon Age
- Unstable isotope that breaks down very quickly
- We can only use it to measure 75,000 years KA (thousands of years)
How to Date Rocks:
- Use zircons. Very small, microscopic. Very cheap method to measure age
o Contain unstable uranium isotopes
o Crystal grows b/c it’s in a cooling magma. And will grow in orogonic events
o Produce them by crushing rocks, and different fluids with different densities arise
o Measure amount of lead leaking from the crystal, you get an aprx. Age
- Detrital Zircons: 4 billion years ago, are freshly made in magmas
o Created volcanic rocks
o When weathered it they break up and the crystal us very durable and get hard
o Washed away by rivers moved by glaciers and then become apart of sediment
Cosmic Radiation
- Interacts with nitrogen 14 to produce unstable isotope carbon 14
- When you get carbon 14 inside of you, and you die, no new carbon is getting in you so it
decays at a constant rate. But process is not uniform
- Unstable isotopes are a very powerful tool, not just for dating rocks, but dating
archaeological artifacts
- Syncline: dip of these rocks will be in the centre line
- Anticline: theyre away from what we call the hinge line or the axis
o Eastern Canada: rocks were folded during the building of Pangea when Africa
was colliding with eastern Canada
o They were flat, but founf themselves in a collision zone and are now flat lying
- Ghost forests: when a tsunami, or natural disaster hits, and the crust subsides for water
to flood the area and killing a forest in the process
- sill: a layer that is an igneous intruding horizontally
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