It’s not just teens that like to rebel; sometimes it’s rock layers like this EarthWord!
USGS EarthWord of the Week
EarthWords is an on-going series in which we shed some light on the complicated, often difficult-to-pronounce language of science. Think of us as your terminology tour-guides, and meet us back here every week for a new word!
The EarthWord: Unconformity
A geologic unconformity isn’t when a rock layer doesn’t follow the latest fashion trends, it’s when an older rock formation has been deformed or partially eroded before a younger rock layer, usually sedimentary, is laid down. That results in mismatched rock layers.
Unconformity comes from the Latin conformis, which meant “similar in shape.”
Use/Significance in the Earth Science Community:
Understanding unconformities, how they formed, and where they occur is an important part of learning the geologic history of a region. That, in turn, helps us understand potential mineral resources, potential geologic hazards, and even potential health effects of certain minerals.
USGS studies unconformities as part of our research into mineral resources, geologic hazards, and groundwater.
Also, the best name for a rock layer: The Great Unconformity. It’s one of the lowest layers in the Grand Canyon. And it’s also a great Indie Band name. That one’s on the house.
Next EarthWord: It’s not a radar for liars, it’s this week’s Earthword...
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