Knowing the processes of the rock cycle help us know about the history of
the Earth. Be sure you can read and produce this diagram!
Maps of the bedrock underground can tell us about the geologic history
of a region.
Know about the different parts of the Earth and what they are like (liquid or
solid? Iron-rich or silica rich? How we know.... Where the Earth's magnetic
field comes from.
Bonus: Be familiar with what we think the insides of other planets are like.
Be prepared to identify the different types of plate boundaries and what
happens at them. Be able to identify a plate boundary from the geologic
features it produces.
Recognize what Convergent Oceanic-Oceanic plate boundaries produce: Subduction zones,
trenches (pinches!), volcanic island arcs with explosive volcanoes. Bonus: know what an
accretionary wedge is and a back arc basin is.
Be able to explain how subduction produces magma for volcanoes by providing
heat from friction and lowers melting temperatures by bringing water into the
Be able to identify the features that are produced by a Convergent Oceanic-Continental plate
boundary: Subduction zone, trenches (pinches!), tall explosive volcanic mountains like the
Andes. Bonus: Know what an accretionary wedge is and how subduction under the
over-riding continental plate can produce basin and range mountain ranges like the Rockies.
Be able to explain the different ways volcanoes can get magma: Decompression
melting (lower pressure), frictional heating (subduction), adding water which
lowers melting temps (water is delivered by subduction of oceanic plates), or
adding heat from deep in the Earth in the form of a plume of super-heated mantle
material rising to the surface (as in the case of the Hawaiian Hot Spot)
See diagrams of plumes and superplumes below:
Be prepared to identify and explain the features produced by Convergent
Continental-Continental plate boundaries: Mountains (like the Himalayans or the
MidPangaea Mountains), large amounts of metamorphic rocks. Be able to explain why
continental crust doesn't subduct and why these boundaries produce magma, but rarely
produce volcanoes. Bonus: Ophiolite belts of seafloor sediments that were originally
Be able to identify and explain the features of Divergent Continental-Continental (above) and
Divergent Oceanic-Oceanic plate boundaries (below): Rifting (ripping), peaceful shield
volcanoes, eventual evolution into creation of oceanic crust, mid-ocean ridges.
Be prepared to identify and explain the
features of transform plate boundaries (in
continental plates to the right and in
oceanic plates above).
Be able to explain why they are also called
"conservative" boundaries instead of
"destructive" (convergent) boundaries or
"constructive" (divergent) boundaries.
Also, be able to explain why they do not
produce volcanoes, but do produce many
Be sure you can explain how erosion and deposition effect the ways
that river channels are shaped and reshaped.
Be sure you can explain how gradient and gravity are so important
in determining how much erosion and deposition there is.
Be able to distinguish amongst weathering (breaking things into
smaller pieces), erosion (carrying things away), and deposition
(setting things down).
Know what sediment is how its deposition relates to the formation of