Atomic number: The number of protons in the nucleus of an atom.All atoms of a given element
have the same atomic number
Erosion: The transport of the products of weathering of basins where sediment accumulates: the
process whereby crustal materials, decomposed and loosened by weathering, are transported by
winds, landslides, and streams
Downwelling: The sinking of surface water caused by convergence and water accumulation at the
El Nino Southern Oscilalation (ENSO):Aclimatic event in the tropical pacific ocean in which the
main area of surface convection moves from the western to the central pacific. This event is
associated with large-scale changes in the ocean circulation, the atmospheric circulation, and tropical
precipitation patterns. The effects of an ENSO even may also spread beyond the tropics, causing
anomalous weather conditions in many multitudes.
Isotopes:Atoms of a given element that have different numbers of neutrons in their nuclei.
Mass number: The combined number of protons and neutrons in the nucleus of an atom.
Radioactive decay: Radioactivity: the spontaneous disintegration of an unstable nucleus of one
element, creating a different nucleus of a different element and releasing particles and radiation.
Salinity: The salt content of a water mass
Continental Ice Sheet:An ice sheet covering a large area that spreads outward in all directions
under its own weight. Most of today’s ice cover is found in the two continental ice sheets of
Mountain Glaciers: Ice fields formed on the cold, upper reaches of mountains
Accumulation zone: The upper (colder) part of a glacier where more snow accumulates in winter
than melts in summer.
Permafrost: Permanently frozen ground.
Sea ice: Ice that form on surface of the ocean.
Supercooled water: Liquid water that exists at temperatures below 273K
Critical point: The Temperature and pressure at which a phase boundary ceases to exist. It is the
highest temperature and pressure combination at which a separate liquid and gaseous phase of a
compound can exist.
Phase diagram:Agraph that shows the conditions under which thermodynamically distinct phases
of a compound can exist in equilibrium
Lithification: The uppermost mantle and rigid crust.
Metamorphic rocks: Rocks formed form exposure to high temperatures, high pressures, chemically
active fluids, or any combination of these agents.
Asthenosphere: The zone of most ductile upper mantle just below the lithosphere; may contain small
amounts of molten rock.
Basalt:An igneous rock that reaches Earth’s surface as lava and cools rapidly; major type in the
Granite:Acommon igneous silicate rock that solidifies below Earth’s surface and forms the cores of
many mountain ranges.
Magnetic dynamo: The mechanism whereby convection of the liquid-iron outer core generates
Earth’s magnetic field.
Mid-ocean ridge: a linear chain of subsea volcanic mountains on the seafloor that is the site of
formation of new oceanic lithosphere. Plate tectonics: Theory by which Earth’s surface is divided into rigid plates of seafloor and continent
that move relative to one another through time