Geology 1121

Physical Geology


Test # 1 Study Guide


Test # 1 will be on Wednesday, 28 September 2022, from 3:55 to 5:15 PM in the Alford Science Building, room 205.  Everything in lecture & readings since the 1st day of class  to “Migmatite” in the metamorphic rocks lecture will be fair game for test questions.  The test will be a mixture of multiple choice questions, true-or-false, short answer, and fill-in-the-blank.








Here are links to unlisted youtube videos with video versions of geology 1121 lectures.  There is no sound / no audio / no narration.  Slides go by one at a time automatically.  You can pause to take notes, if needed (= large text), or stare at images.

Introductory Topics

Minerals A

Minerals B

Minerals C

Igneous Rocks

Sedimentary Rocks A

Sedimentary Rocks B

Sedimentary Rocks C

Metamorphic Rocks A

Metamorphic Rocks B (partial)



Test questions will cover (but are not necessarily limited to) the following:


Know the characteristics of Earth’s core - what it’s made of and the nature of the inner core versus the outer core.

What is the mantle?  What's it made of?

What is the crust?  What are the two types of crust?  What rock type is most common in each of the two types of crust?

What is the Moho?

What is Pangaea?

What is tectonic divergence?  What is tectonic convergence?

How old is Earth, in years?




Be familiar with the physical properties of minerals.

What is conchoidal fracture?

Example of a mineral that bubbles (fizzes) in acid?

What are polymorphs?

Be generally familiar with the names & characteristics of of the common mineral & mineral groups (elements, oxides, sulfides, carbonates, sulfates, halides, phosphates, silicates), especially with pyrite (FeS2 - iron sulfide) & galena (PbS - lead sulfide) & calcite (CaCO3 - calcium carbonate).

What is the silica tetrahedron?  What is its atomic-level structure?  How many atoms & what kinds of atoms make up a silica tetrahedron?

What's the # 1 most common mineral in the crust?

Be familiar with mica, which is a group of silicate minerals.




What is an igneous rock?

How common are igneous rocks in the crust?

What is magma?  What is lava?  What's the difference?

What does intrusive mean?  What does extrusive mean?

Be familiar with felsic chemistry and mafic chemistry.  Felsic rocks have what color?  Mafic rocks have what color?

What is aphanitic texture?  What is phaneritic texture?  What is porphyritic texture?  What is pegmatitic texture?

Know the relationship between cooling rate (quick cooling versus slow cooling) and crystal size in igneous rocks (small crystals versus large crystals).

What is vesicular texture?  What is frothy texture?

What minerals occur along the discontinuous series of Bowen’s Reaction Series?

What minerals occur along the continuous series of Bowen’s Reaction Series?

Know the following terms for intrusive igneous bodies: dike, sill, laccolith, stock, batholith.

Know the basics of volcanic breccia.




What are sedimentary rocks?  How common are they in the crust?

What are “well-sorted” sediments?  What are “poorly-sorted” sediments?

How do loose sediments get converted to solid rock (= diagenesis / lithification)?  What steps are involved?

Be familiar with siliciclastic sedimentary rocks, especially conglomerate and shale.

Be familiar with biogenic sedimentary rocks: limestone, chalk, coal.

Know the basics of chert / flint.

Know the basics of dolostones and evaporites (such as rock salt and rock gypsum).

What is superposition?

What are formations, members, and groups?

What is cross bedding?  How does it form?

What is graded bedding?  How does it form?

What are mudcracks?

Know the basics of the two common types of ripple marks?

Be familiar with some of the common depositional environments & what rocks/sedimentary structures are to be expected in such places - for example: swamps, rivers/streams, lakes, deserts, beaches, reefs, shallow oceans, deep oceans.

What is a transgression?  What is a regression?


What are metamorphic rocks?

Know the different types of metamorphism (regional, burial, hydrothermal, contact, shock, shear, thermal).

What is prograde metamorphism?

What is foliated texture?  What common metamorphic rocks have foliated texture? (= slate, phyllite, schist, gneiss, migmatite)  Be familiar with the basic characteristics and precursors of those 5 rocks.




Home page