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Definition of Terms



Some general geological terms and concepts:

Amphibolite to granulite facies: refers to moderate to high metamorphism of the rocks due to heat and/or burial at depth.

Anorthositic: a type of mafic, plagioclase-rich intrusive rock

Aphebian: a time period within the Precambrian era; (between 2.5 and 1.8 billion years ago).

Archaean: An eon. Early part of Precambrian time.(4.6-2.5 billion years ago). Possesses the oldest known Saskatchewan rocks and fossils (algae and bacteria)

Batholith: a large intrusive plutonic rock body, larger than 402 km surface exposure.

Cambrian: the youngest paleozoic time period (590-505 million years ago). Saw first vertebrates (jawless fish).

Conglomerate: clastic sedimentary rock. Non-angular pebbles of singular or varied composition with a finer grained sandy or calcareous matrix.

Cretaceous: A time period, (144-65 million years ago. Saw Saskatchewan muddy seas and the first angiosperms.

Deformation: the effects of folding, faulting, shearing, compression and/or extension that may be plastic or brittle.

Facies: Metamorphic rocks characterized by particular mineral associations indicative of a range of temperature-pressure conditions.

Fault: a major rock fracture exhibiting relative movement on vertical or horizontal planes.

Felsic: term pertaining to siliceous, feldspar-rich rocks. (usually light colored)

Mafic: term pertaining to rocks composed mainly of iron and magnesium minerals (usually dark colored).

Flysch type deposits: a graded, thinly-bedded, poorly fossiliferous sequence of marls, sandy to calcareous shales interbedded with coarser sandstones, conglomerates and greywackes.

Gabbroic: descriptive term referring to a type of basic intrusive rocks dark in color.

Geophysics: study of the earth by various quantitative physical methods such as electromagnetic or seismic techniques.

Geosyncline: continental margin downwarping in the earth's crust that has seen sedimentation and volcanic activity.

Granite: intrusive felsic rock identifiable in its coarse quartz and potassic feldspar.

Granodiorite gneiss: metamorphosed intrusive intermediate igneous rock characterized by alternating light and dark banding.

Hudsonian: a time within the Proterozoic Eon that saw the deposition of the Saskatchewan uranium deposits (approximately 1.8 billion years ago). These sediments were derived from mountain ranges created by the Hudsonian orogeny.

Igneous: A rock formed by the crystallization of a lava or magma K-Ar and U-Th dating techniques: determines a relative date of formation based upon the rate of radioactive decay of Potassium-Argon or Uranium-Thorium.

Metamorphism: The chemical and mineralogical alteration of rocks as a result of heat, pressure or other post depositional/intrusion conditions.

Metazoan: That group of multicellular animals characterized by two layers of cells in the gastrula stage of development.

Migmatites: an ultrametamorphic rock signifying the melting of felsic components of granitic or peltiic rocks in a water-saturated regional metamorphic environment.

Orogeny: The process by which mountain ranges are formed -ie- the process of rock thrusting, folding and faulting in association with deeper plastic deformation, metamorphism and plutonism

Protocontinent: the original emergent mass of continental material known as Gondwanaland previous to continental breakup and drift.

Paleomagnetism: The time correlative orientation of magnetic materials within the earth's This has allowed scientists to trace continental drift over the ages.

Paleontology: The study of previous plants and animals and their interaction with their environments through fossil examination and classification.

Paleozoic: That time span from the Cambrian to the Devonian when marine life became abundant (580 to 360 million years ago.)

Permian: A geological time period (286-248 million years ago). Saw the first great mass extinction with 95% of species disappearing.

Phanerozoic: Cambrian and later time wherein fossil evidence is abundant.

Placer: Surficial mineral deposit formed by deposition of eroded rock products by some mechanical agency.

Plate Subduction: the process of one earth plate being overridden by or descending under an adjacent plate.

Precambrian: That time span previous to the Paleozoic that comprises approximately 90% of earth history. (4.6 billion to 590 million years ago)

Quaternary: The second period of the Cenozoic Era from the beginning of the ice age two million years ago to present.

Sedimentary: rocks formed by erosion, transport and deposition.

Silt: detrital, clay-rich sediment with a particle size of 1/16-1/256 mm. range.

Stock: an intrusive body with less than 402 km surface exposure.

Syntectonic: A geologic event, process, rock or feature formed contemporary to tectonism.

Tertiary: The first period of the Cenozoic Era characterized by the rise of mammals (63 to 2 million years ago).

Tectonics: The broad architecture of the external parts of the earth. The major structural and deformational features of our earth and their interrelationships.

Volcanic: Structures, activities and rock types associated with volcanic eruptions.

Volcanogenic: Rocks or environment engendered by volcanic activity.


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Modified on 19 Mar 96