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Ir.

Edy Sutriyono, MSc, PhD


GEOLOGIST
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THE EARTHS EARLIEST HISTORY
ROCK TYPES AND ROCK CYCLE
PLATE TECTONICS
WEATHERING: The breakdown of rocks
STRATIGRAPHY
MASS MOVEMENT
STREAM
GROUNDWATER
HUMAN USE OF THE EARTHS RESOURCES

2
The largest of the four inner planets is our earth.
It formed its present size about 4.6 billion years ago it was
a lifeless ball of dust with no surface water and no
atmosphere, bearing no resemblance to its appearance
today.
This ball was probably an homogeneous mixture of iron,
magnesium, silicon, and oxygen, with small amounts of
gases trapped in its interior.
The earth was probably relatively cool, at least for while, but
didnt stay way for long.
3
HISTORY, continued

During its period of accretion, the proto-earth had attracted


additional planetesimals whose enormous energy of motion
was converted to heat upon impact.
Some of this heat radiated back into space, but much was
retained by the new planet as succeeding planetesimals struck
its surface and buried the heat from earlier strikes.
In addition, atoms of radioactive substances such as uranium,
whose nuclei disintegrate and release heat, also contributed to
the planets internal reservoir.
As more heat accumulated and became trapped within the
earths interior, the internal temperature of the proto-earth
began to rise.
4
A differentiated planet.
Early in its history, the
Earth--like the other
terrestrial planets--
separated into three layers
of differing physical
properties and chemical
composition. The
outermost layer is the low-
density, rocky crust. Next is
the mantle, which is still
rocky but of intermediate
density. The innermost
layer is the high-density,
metallic core. This process
of separating into layers is
called planetary
differentiation.

5
The earth's surface. This is a composite of numerous satellite
images, each selected to be cloud-free. It is unrealistic because, at
any moment, half of the Earth is in nighttime darkness and much of it
is cloud-covered. But this beautiful image lets us view the entire
surface at once. It shows densely vegetated regions in green, dry
deserts in yellow or brown, and ice-covered regions in white.

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THE IRON CATASTROPHE
The combined heat from infalling accreted masses and from uranium-
type heating eventually set in motion the next significant event in the
earths ancient past its evolution from homogeneous planet to one
whose constituent substances are sorted into distinct internal layers.
Sometime between a few hundred million and one billion years after the
earth formed, the temperature at depths of 400 to 800 kms below its
surface increased to the melting point of iron.
As a result, much of the iron there liquefied and began to sink to even
greater depths, drawn by gravity toward the planets center. This motion
of molten iron produced additional heat, raising the earths temperature
to an estimated 2000oC (3600oF), hot enough to melt the other
substances in the interior. This critical moment in earths history is called
the iron catastrophe.
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IRON CATASTROPHE continued
In the molten state, denser materials began to sink toward the center,
while lighter materials began to rise closer to the surface.
Matter that had originally made up an homogeneous earth now became
separated, or differentiated, into concentric zones of differing densities.
The densest materials, probably iron and nickel, formed what may have
been a totally liquid core at the planets center.
Lighter materials, composed largely of silicon and oxygen, floated
upward, ultimately cooling and solidifying to form the earths outer layers.
Even lighter materials gases that had been created or trapped in the
interior escaped, with some hydrogen and oxygen combining to form
the first oceans.
The lightest gases of all rose to form the earths early atmosphere.
Gases continued to escape over time, primarily during volcanic eruptions;
this ongoing degassing of the earths interior led to the creation of more
and more surface water, and to progressive changes in the atmosphere.

8
IRON CATASTROPHE continued

The earths interior probably did not become


completely molten during the iron catastrophe. If it
had, the planet might have lost all its gases, and its
life-supporting atmosphere could never have
developed. It did, however, lose its earliest
atmosphere, which is believed to have been
composed mainly of hydrogen, ammonia, and
methane. Because of that loss and fortunately for
us todays atmosphere is largely free of those
gases.
9
A simplified model of the earths interior, which is composed of
concentric layers of differing thicknesses and densities.

10
The earths interior
Scientists have determined that the earths interior consists of
three principal concentric layers, each with a different density
(the quantity of matter in a given volume of a substance.
Because its chemical structure is more compact, one cubic
centimeter of iron is far denser than one cubic centimeter of
glass).
The outermost layer of the earth is a thin crust of relatively
low-density rocks.
Underlying it is the mantle, a thick layer of denser rocks.

At the earths center is its core, the densest layer of all,


consisting primarily of pure metals such as iron and nickel.

11
The earths interior, continued
The outer 100 km (60 miles) of the earth, encompassing both the
earths crust and the uppermost portion of the mantle, is a solid, brittle
layer known as the lithosphere (rock layer from the Greek lithos,
rock).

Underlying the lithosphere is the asthenosphere (weak layer, from the


Greek aesthenos, weak), a zone of heat-softened, slow-flowing yet
still-solid rock located in the upper mantle from about 100 to 350 km
(60-215 miles) beneath the earths surface. The lithosphere and
asthenosphere are where large-scale geological processes as
mountain building, volcanism, earthquake activity, and the creation of
ocean basins originate.

Below the mantle, the core is divided into a liquid outer core and a
solid inner core.
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Seismic discontinuities in the mantle. Changes in seismic
wave velocity occur at the boundaries between the crust
and the mantle (the Moho) and between the mantle and the
core, owing to changes in composition

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HEAT IN THE EARTH
The phenomenon of heat, which is a form of energy, is
closely tied to numerous processes that continue to shape
our planet. Heat energy is transferred from place to place
within the earth, always moving from warmer to cooler
areas.
There are 3 primary methods by which heat energy is
transmitted through the earth:
Conduction
Convection
Radiation

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RADIATION A

C B

CONDUCTION
A: atoms farthest from
heat source are not
vibrating yet (cool)
B: atoms vibrating a
CONVECTION
little (cool-warm)
C: atoms closest to
heat source are
vibrating rapidly.

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CONDUCTION AND CONVECTION
In conduction, minute particles such as atoms become energized by
heat energy from an outside source until they vibrate rapidly, colliding
with neighboring particles and setting them in motion, generating a
chain reaction of vibration.
When heat is transferred by convection, vibrating particles actually
move from one place to another, carrying heat with them instead of
vibrating in place and passing their heat only to neighboring particles.
When the temperature in the earths interior became high enough to
melt some of its components, heat began to be transported by moving
particles of the fluid.
Eventually this heat melted surrounding substances as well, and
particles of hot low-density materials rose toward the surface, carrying
heat with them. Convection is a much faster, more efficient way of
transmitting heat than is conduction. The heat and molten material
carried by this process probably caused the planets first volcanic
eruptions.
16
RADIATION
All heated objects radiate energy in one form or
another.
Energy transmitted by radiation moves in the form of
one or more different types of electromagnetic waves,
such as radio waves, microwaves, infrared waves,
visible light waves, ultraviolet light waves, and X-rays.
These forms of energy are then converted into heat
energy when they strike and are absorbed by an
object.
Radioactive substances within the earth emit different
forms of electromagnetic radiation that are converted
to heat energy when they warm surrounding rocks.
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GEOTHERMAL GRADIENT

Temperature increases with depth in the Earth. The dashed lines are isotherms,
lines of equal temperature. Note that temperature increases more slowly with
depth under the continents than under the oceans, where it gets quite hot at a
shallow depth.
18
The Earth's energy budget. Energy comes into the Earth's energy budget
from three main sources: external (solar radiation), internal (geothermal
energy), and from Earth-Moon-Sun tidal interactions, a very small
component.
19
As the earth differentiated into its major concentric layers some
upwelling material reached the surface, where it cooled and
solidified, forming the earths earliest crust.
Among these low-density substances were oxygen and silicon, which
combined to form the silicate minerals that abound in the earths
crust and upper mantle.
Some heat-producing radioactive substances such as uranium and
thorium also moved toward the surface; because of heat radiating
from these elements, crustal rocks are repeatedly remelted and
reformed into the wide variety of rock types.

20
Elements of the crust. These pie charts show the
relative proportions of the most abundant elements in
the Earth's continental crust. A. Abundances by weight.

21
Elements of the crust. These pie charts show the relative proportions of the
most abundant elements in the Earth's continental crust. B. Abundances by
atomic proportions. C. Percentages of elements by volume. Oxygen makes up
most of the volume because it has a large ionic radius. Oxygen occupies so
much space that the crust is essentially a big oxygen mesh.

22
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A rock is a naturally formed aggregate of inorganic materials that
originates within the earth.
Three types of rocks exist in the earths crust and its surface, each
type reflecting a different process of origin.
IGNEOUS ROCKS are made of molten material from the earths
interior that has cooled and solidified, either at or beneath the
earths surface.
SEDIMENTARY ROCKS form when pre-existing rocks are broken
down into fragments that accumulate and become compacted or
cemented together, or when materials dissolved from pre-existing
rocks are left behind as solid rock after water evaporates.
METAMORPHIC ROCKS form when the chemical composition and
structure of any type of rock are changed in the earths interior by
heat, pressure, or chemical reactions with circulating fluids.

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ROCK CYCLE
Over the great extent of geologic time and through the dynamism of
earths processes, rocks of any one of these types may eventually evolve
into either of the other types, or into a different form of the same type.
Rocks of any type exposed at the earths surface can be worn away (or
weathered) by rain, wind, crashing waves, flowing glaciers, or other
means, and the resulting fragments carried (or transported) elsewhere to
be deposited as new sediment; this sediment might eventually become
new sedimentary rock.
Sedimentary rocks may become buried so deeply in the earths hot
interior that they may be changed into metamorphic rocks, or they may
melt and eventually form igneous rocks.
Under heat and pressure, igneous rocks can also become metamorphic
rocks.
The processes by which the various rock types can evolve and change
over time are known as ROCK CYCLE
25
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IGNEOUS PROCESSES AND IGNEOUS ROCKS

More than 95% of the earths outer 50 km (30 miles) consists of


igneous rocks.
To investigate igneous processes, geologists look for a region where
surface rock layers have been removed by erosion, opening up
window through which the subsurface can be seen.
Some geologists also investigate igneous processes by simulating
them in laboratories, observing the effects of pressure,
temperature, composition, and other factors on the melting and
crystallization points of sample rocks and minerals.

27
MELTING ROCKS AND CRYSTALLIZING MAGMA
Geologists distinguish two forms of molten rock.
MAGMA is molten rock that flows within the earth. It may be
completely liquid or, as is more common, it may be a fluid mixture
of liquid, and dissolved gases.
The moment magma reaches the earths surface, it becomes LAVA,
molten rock that flows above ground.
As the heat dissipates, particles in the molten mass begin to slow
down; their bonds cease to break and more bonds start to form,
and tiny crystals begin to appear.
As cooling progresses, different minerals crystallize from the
magma as its temperature changes, with the magmas composition
changing as each crystallized mineral is removed from the fluid mix.
Ultimately, if cooling continues, the entire body of magma becomes
solidified.
28
Conditions for rock melting inside the Earth. Inside the Earth, rock melts under different conditions of
temperature, pressure, and the presence of water. Four situations are shown, each drawn on a diagram in which
temperature is on the horizontal axis and pressure, which is proportional to depth, is on the vertical axis. Rock
melts across a temperature interval; for simplicity, the melting curves in the diagrams show the beginning of
melting. 29
LAVA is magma which reaches and flows above ground.

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IGNEOUS TEXTURES
A rocks texture refers to the appearance of its surface, especially the size, shape,
and arrangement of the mineral components of the rock.
The most important factor controlling these features in igneous rocks is the rate
at which magma or lava cools.
When a magmas minerals crystallize slowly underground over thousands of year,
there is ample time for crystals to grow large enough to be seen by the unaided
eye, producing rock textures in which the crystals can be seen clearly called
PHANERITIC (from Greek phaneros, or visible) textures or coarse-grained
textures.
Slow cooling occurs when magmas enter, or intrude, pre-existing solid rocks;
thus, rocks with phaneritic textures are called INTRUSIVE ROCKS.
They are also known as PLUTONIC ROCKS (from Pluto, the Greek gold of the
underworld)

31
Plutons. This diagrammatic section of part of the crust shows the various
forms taken by plutonic rocks. Many plutons were once connected to
volcanoes, and there is a close relationship between intrusive and extrusive
rocks.
32
Volcanic neck. In an old volcano this
volcanic neck is the eroded remnant
of an ancient volcano in the Hoggar
Mountains of Algeria.

Sill. A sill of gabbro (dark brown) is


Sill intruded parallel to layering of
sedimentary rocks above and
below, in Big Bend National Park,
Texas.

33
Volcanic and plutonic rock samples

34
Singkapan Bijih Grasberg
Singkapan Bijih Ertsberg

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THREE INTRUSIVE STAGES

5 cm
2) GRASBERG 3) DALAM
1) KALI
Melanocratic, crystal-crowded, Melanocratic, porphyritic,
Leucocratic, crystal-crowded, 35% feldspars (3-5mm),
40% feldspars (0.3-1.5mm),
45% feldspars (1-4mm), smaller biotite and hornblende
relatively tabular, seriate,
relatively crystals, weak flow alignment
moderate to strong flow
equant,weak-medium flow
alignment
alignment
CONTOH UBAHAN HYDROTHERMAL BATUAN INTRUSIVE GRASBERG

A Kali Kf alteration B Altered Dalam Diatreme Breccia

mag alteration

2cm
mag over print qvn

37
Contoh Batuan yang mengandung Bijih Tembaga dari Tambang Grasberg

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Q
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Mag alteration

cpy Q

2cm cpy

38
Igneous textures continued

Some igneous rocks develop from ion-rich magmas with a high


proportion of water. Under these conditions ions move quite readily
to bond to growing crystals, enabling them to become unusually
large (sometimes several meters long).
Rocks with such exceptionally large crystals are called PEGMATITES
(from Greek pgma, or fastened together).
Most pegmatites consist primarily of such common minerals as
quartz, feldspar, and mica. Some rare elements, such as beryllium,
also occur in pegmatites; pegmatite outcrops that contain beryllium
in the form of the gemstones emerald and aquamarine are popular
destinations for amateur and professional mineral hunters.

39
Igneous textures continued
Some igneous solidify from lava so quickly than their crystals have little time to
grow.
These APHANITIC (from the Greek a phaneros, or not visible) rocks have crystals
so small they can barely be seen by the naked eye.
Rocks with aphanitic textures are called EXTRUSIVE ROCKS, because they form
from lava that has flowed out, or been extruded, onto the earths surface. They
are also known as VOLCANIC ROCKS, because lava is a product of volcanoes
(named for Vulcan, the Roman god of fire).
In some igneous rocks, large, often perfect, crystals are surrounded by region
with much smaller or even invisible grains. These PORPHYRITIC textures are
believed to form as a result of slow cooling followed abruptly by rapid cooling.
First, gradual underground cooling produces large crystals that grow slowly
within a magma. Then the mixture of remaining liquid magma and the early-
formed crystals it contains erupts to the surface, where the liquid cools rapidly to
produce the enveloping body of smaller grains.

40
Aphanitic texture: identifying crystals with the help
of a microscope. In very fine-grained (aphanitic)
rocks, it may not be possible to identify the
individual mineral grains without the help of a
microscope. In a, a specimen of an aphanitic
volcanic rock is shown adjacent to a thin section
cut from the rock. The thin section was prepared by
cutting and gluing a rock chip to a glass slide, then
polishing the chip to a thickness of only 0.03 mm
(0.0012 in), so that light can pass through it.
41
IGNEOUS COMPOSITIONS
The earths magmas consist largely of the most elements: oxygen, silicon,
aluminum, iron, calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, and sulfur.
The relative proportions of these components at any given time within a body of
magma give the magma its distinctive characteristics, and ultimately determine
the mineral content of the rocks it will form.
Water vapor (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), and sulfur dioxide (SO2) are the major
dissolved gases in molten rock, accounting for a small percentage of a magmas
total volume.
The earth consists primarily of silicon-and-oxygen-based minerals. These silicates
are the major constituents of igneous rocks, which are divided into four main
compositional groups based on the proportion of their silica content (the amount
of silicon and oxygen) to the other elements and ions bonded to the silicon-
oxygen tetrahedra: IGNEOUS ROCKS AND MAGMAS are classified as
ULTRAMAFIC, MAFIC, INTERMEDIATE, OR FELSIC.

42
Igneous composition continued
Temp. at
Relative
Composition % of Other major which first Igneous rock
viscosity of
type silica elements crystals produced
magma
solidify (oC)
Granite
(plutonic)
Felsic >70 Al, K, Na Mg High ~600-800
Rhyolite
(volcanic)
Diorite
Al, Ca, Na, (plutonic)
Intermediate 60 Medium ~800-1000
Fe,Mg Andesite
(volcanic)
Gabbro
(plutonic)
Mafic 40-50 Al, Ca, Fe, Mg Low 1000-1200
Basalt
(volcanic)
Peridotite
(plutonic)
ultramafic <40 Mg, Fe, Al, Ca Very low >1200
Komatiite
(volcanic)
43
ULTRAMAFIC IGNEOUS ROCKS
The term mafic is derived from magnesium and ferrum (Latin for iron).
Ultramafic igneous rocks are dominated by the iron-magnesium
silicate minerals olivine and pyroxene and contain relatively little
silica (less than 40%) and virtually no feldspars or free quartz.
The most common ultramafic rock, PERIDOTITE, contains 70% to 90% olivine.
Ultramafic rocks generally crystallize slowly deep in the earths interior,
developing their typical coarse-grained phaneritic texture. (the relatively rare
extrusive equivalent of peridotite is called komatiite).
These deep-forming rocks, dark in color and very dense, appear at the earth
surface only where extensive erosion has removed overlying crustal rocks. They
are most likely to be found where converging continental tectonic plates have
collided and been uplifted, bringing deep rocks closer to the surface.

44
MAFIC IGNEOUS ROCKS
Mafic igneous rocks have a silica content between 40$ and 50%.
These are the most abundant rocks of the earths crust, and the mafic rock
BASALT is the single most abundant of them.
Basalt, whose principal minerals include pyroxene, calcium feldspar, and a minor
amount of olivine, is dark in color and relatively dense; because it forms from
molten rock which has cooled fairly rapidly at or near the surface, its texture is
APHANITIC.
It is the dominant rock of the worlds oceanic plates, making up most of the
ocean floor and many islands, including the entire Hawaiian chain, Samoa and
Tahiti in the Pacific, and Iceland in the Atlantic.
Basalt also constitutes vast areas of our continents, being found in Brazil, India,
South Africa, Siberia, and the Pacific Northwest of North America.
When a magma containing the same mix of minerals cools more slowly
underground, basalts plutonic equivalent, the coarse-grained phaneric GABBRO,
is produced.
Geologists believe that gabbro lies beneath the basalts of the ocean floor.

45
Basalt: Basalt is the most common rock type on the earth and in
the solar system as a whole. This figure shows basaltic lava
erupts from Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii.
46
INTERMEDIATE IGNEOUS ROCKS
Intermediate igneous rocks contain more silica than mafic rocks about 60%.
They typically consist of iron and magnesium silicates, such as pyroxene and
amphibole, along with sodium- and aluminum-rich minerals, such as sodium
plagioclase and mica, and a small amount of quartz.
They are generally lighter in color than mafic rocks.
The aphanitic intermediate igneous rock ANDESITE, named or the Andes
mountains of South America, where it often dominates the local geology, is the
worlds second most abundant volcanic rock.
Andesites contain pyroxene, the amphibole hornblende, quartz, and an
abundant of andesine, a plagioclase mineral with about 60% sodium and 40%
calcium ions.
Andesites plutonic equivalent is DIORITE, which can be recognized by its coarse-
grained, salt-and-pepper appearance.

47
FELSIC IGNEOUS ROCKS
The term felsic is derived from feldspar and silica.
Felsic igneous rocks contain more silica 70% or higher than mafic or
intermediate igneous rocks.
They generally poor in iron, magnesium, and calcium silicates, and rich in
potassium feldspar, aluminum-rich micas, and quartz.
The most common felsic igneous rock is the plutonic GRANITE.
Potassium feldspars impart granites pinkish cast. Sodium feldspars are often
present, contributing a porcelain-like look to these rocks. Small quartz grains and
flakes of biotite and muscovite mica are also scattered throughout granite.
The magma from which granite crystallizes flows and crystallizes slowly
underground, seldom reaching the surface. (RHYOLITE, granites volcanic
equivalent, is relatively uncommon).

48
The earth is believed to be about 4.6 billion years old.
Fossil evidence of ancient marine creatures in some rocks of the
Grand Canyon, for example, show that these rocks, today near the
top of a hot, dry plateau 2300 m above sea level, once lay at the
bottom of an ocean; over millions of years, the mud at the bottom
of this ocean still containing the remains of sea creatures that
died there gradually solidified into rock, was uplifted to its
present elevation, and was cut through and exposed by the
Colorado river.
Geologists think of time in both relative and absolute terms.
49
The geologic
column and time
scale. The
stratigraphic time
scale, which we call
the Geologic
Column, puts all
strata in
chronological order.
The absolute ages
in millions of years
were determined in
the twentieth
century, using
radioactivity.

50
RELATIVE AND ABSOLUTE GEOLOGIC TIME

Relative dating of rock determines which rocks are older or younger


than others by referring to spatial relationships between the rocks.
For example, the principle of superposition states that where layers
of sedimentary rocks have not been disturbed since deposition,
younger rocks overlie older rocks.
Absolute ages of rocks are based on the constant decay of
radioactive elements. The oldest rocks yet found on earth, near
Yellowknife Lake in Canadas northwest territories, have been dated
by the known decay rate of uranium at 3.96 billion years.

51
E
D
C
B
A

Rock unit A is older than rock unit B.


Rock unit B is older than rock unit C.
Rock unit C is older than rock unit D.
Rock unit D is older than rock unit E.
STUDENT DISCUSSION
Rock unit E is the youngest sequence.
52
Radioactivity and time.
These graphs illustrate the
basic decay law of
radioactivity. At time zero, a
sample consists of 100
percent radioactive parent
atoms. After one time unit,
corresponding to the half-
life of the material, 50
percent of the parent atoms
will have decayed to
daughter atoms. After two
time units, 75 percent will
have decayed. At any given
time, the total number of
daughter atoms plus
remaining parent atoms
equals the original number
of parent atoms.
53
Radiometric dating and the geologic
column. This idealized stratigraphic
section shows how radiometric dating
can be applied to the Geologic
Column. Ages determined for igneous
rocks can be used to bracket the ages
of the sedimentary strata. Because it
cuts across strata 1, 2, 3, and 4, the
lava flow labeled A must be younger
than those strata. Because it cuts
through 1, 2, and 3, igneous intrusion
B must be younger than 1, 2, and 3. A
is 20 million years old, and B is 34
million years old. Thus, the age of
stratum 4 is bracketed by units A
(dated by radiometric methods at 20
million years old) and B (dated at 34
million years old). Therefore, stratum 4
must be intermediate in age between
these two.

54
The geologic time scale. The
major divisions of geologic time
shown here are the result of
scientific study using
stratigraphy, correlation of
fossils, and radiometric dating.
Most of the major boundaries
on the geologic time scale
represent major environmental
changes. Mass extinctions of
species are indicated by red
lines; two of the most important
are the great Permian extinction
(240 million years ago) and the
K-T extinction (65 million years
ago), in which dinosaurs died
out.

55
56
From Greek adjective tektonikos, or built as in architecture.

57
BASIC PLATE TECTONIC CONCEPTS

The wide-ranging theory of plate tectonics comprises only


four basic concepts:
The outer portion of the earth its crust and uppermost
segment of mantle (i.e. its lithosphere) is composed of rigid
units called plates.
The plates move.
Most of the worlds large-scale geological activity, such as
earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, occurs at or near plate
boundaries.
The interiors of plates are relatively quiet geologically, with far
fewer and milder earthquakes than occur at plate boundaries
and little volcanic activity.

58
Earths structure

59
HISTORY OF PLATE TECTONIC CONCEPT
Began with the theory of continental drift published in
The origin of continents and oceans (Alfred Wegener,
1915 - the German astronomer, geophysicist, and
meteorologist).
The center point of the theory:
South America fits perfectly into Africa, meaning they have once
been a single continent that was somehow torn apart, i.e. South
America floated off to the west of Africa.
How continents can possibly move?
Arthur Holmes (1926-1936) proposed such a mechanism: great
convection currents (concentrated pattern of upwelling and
downwelling convection cells) in the mantle carry the continents
across the surface of the earth but not enough observational
evidence until 1960s.
60
Harry Hess of Princeton University (1964) explored the ocean
floors, providing the necessary evidence for Holmess convection
cells theory.
He found a giant range of mountains submerged between the
African-European Atlantic Coast and North America this mid
Atlantic ridge was the site of a process of sea-floor spreading.
The mid-Atlantic ridge consists of a string of volcanoes that produce
new sea floor when they erupt lava cools and spreads away from
these volcanoes to become the conveyor belt upon which the
continents ride, hence the name sea-floor spreading.
This process forms new rock, then moves new lava away from the
mountain range as even newer lava replaces it at the midocean
ridge crest a lithospheric plate is so formed.

61
THEORY OF
CONTINENTAL DRIFT
THE EARTH PLATES

PLATES: continental plate and oceanic plate.


Continental plates generally are not independent, but instead are
usually parts of composite plates that contain both continental and
oceanic segments.
Continental portions of plates are composed of thicker, lower
density lithosphere, whereas oceanic portions of plates are thinner,
and of higher density.
Continental plates are more than 120 kms thick, and oceanic plates
are only about 80 kms thick (at ocean basins).

63
THE EARTHS PLATES

64
Topography of continents and sea floor

65
MID-PACIFIC RIDGE IN HAWAII

66
DRIVING FORCES
Surface plates respond to the pushes and pulls of mantle
convection or fluid motion of partial molten asthenosphere caused
by density and temperature anomalies (geothermal gradient).
There are three hypotheses:
Shallow convection cell (restricted within upper mantle or
asthenosphere)
Deep convection cell (from lower mantle up to
asthenosphere)
Two-tiered convection cell (in lower mantle and
asthenosphere)
Thermal plumes hot spots (from outer core - lower mantle
boundary) see Hawaii
Those natural phenomena are believed to be responsible for the
movement of oceanic and continental plates.

67
Geothermal gradient

68
MANTLE CONVECTION AND PLATE MOTION

69
PLATE MOVEMENTS AND BOUNDARIES
There are three types of plate boundaries:
Convergent also known as or subduction zone or destructive
plate boundary, where plates move together.
Divergent also known as sea-floor spreading center or
constructive plate boundary, where plates move apart.
Transform or strike-slip fault or preserved plate boundary,
where plates move past one another in opposite directions.
Each of these three plate boundaries is characterized by a
different kind of force:
Compression or collision at subduction zones
Tension or extension at sea-floor spreading boundaries
Shearing or tearing at transform faults.

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(1) CONVERGENT PLATE BOUNDARY
The volcanic activity taking place at subduction zones
differs in composition and type.
The volcanism is typically explosive and partial melting
of both upper mantle and continental crustal rocks is
important.
Pyroclastic rocks and tuffs, composed of glasses,
ashes, and volcanic bombs blown out of steep-sided
stratovolcanoes are typical of this environment.
The lavas produced by subduction are typically
andesites, that is they contain more silica, aluminium,
sodium, and less calcium, magnesium, and iron than
the dominantly basaltic and gabbroic rocks produced
at spreading ridges. 72
(2) DIVERGENT PLATE BOUNDARY

Volcanism occurs along divergent plate boundaries


to form new oceanic crust and/or submarine ridges.

Partial melting of mantle peridotite generates


basaltic magma.

The exposed sequences consist of a basal


peridotites, stratified magma chambers composed
of ultramafic rocks and gabbros, a sheeted dike
complex.

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DIVERGENT PLATE BOUNDARY

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(3) TRANSFORM PLATE BOUNDARY
Two plates slide past each other, along a linear fracture in the earth
called a transform fault, e.g. the San Andreas here the Pacific
plate is sliding to the northwest across the North American plate.
In this situation, plate boundary is characterized by shearing
mechanism, plates are conserved (no destruction nor construction).
Transform fault, like ocean ridges, are characterized by shallow
earthquakes (<50 km deep)
As predicted by seafloor spreading, earthquakes are restricted to
areas between offset ridge axes.
There are three types of transform faults:
Ridge-ridge transform fault
Ridge-trench transform fault
Trench-trench transform fault

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HOT SPOTS
Hot spot volcanism is typically not located at the boundaries
of tectonic plates.
The volcanic islands of Hawaii, the Azores, Galapagos, dan
Yellowstones National Park in Wyoming are hot spots located
some distance from plate boundaries.
More than a hundred hot spots beneath the earths crust
have been active during the past 10 million years.
Hot spot activity is identified by volcanism that has occurred
for very long period of time from small localized sources of
high heat.
Hot spot volcanism typically produces basaltic lavas marked
by high alkali contents that increase with time (alkali basalts).

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PLATE BOUNDARIES AND HOT SPOTS

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Hot spot in Hawaii. The Hawaiian Island chain of volcanoes formed above a deep-
seated source of hot material within the mantle, is called a plume. The hot spot over the
plume has remained stationary for at least 70 million years. Meanwhile the Pacific Plate has
moved over it, carrying with it the old volcanic landforms built over the hot spot.

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WEATHERING: The Breakdown of Rocks
Weathering is the process by which atmospheric agents at or near the earths
surface cause rocks and minerals to break down.
Weathering is a slow but potent force to which even the hardest rocks are
susceptible.
Rocks that have been weakened by weathering are more vulnerable to erosion,
the process by which moving water, wind, or ice incorporates pieces of rock and
deposits them elsewhere.
Like many geological processes, weathering and erosion are interrelated, and
often work in tandem. Together, they produce sediment, the loose, fragmented
surface material that is the raw material for sedimentary rock.
Weathering plays a vital role in our daily lives, with both positive and negative
outcomes. It produces soil in which much of our food is grown.

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Factors that
influence
weathering.

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WEATHERING PROCESS
ROCKS can be weathered in two ways:
MECHANICAL WEATHERING
CHEMICAL WEATHERING
Mechanical weathering: it breaks a mineral or rock into smaller pieces
(disintegrates it) but does not change its chemical makeup only physical
characteristics (size and shape).
Chemical weathering: it changes chemical composition of minerals and rocks that
are unstable at the earths surface (decomposes them), converting them into
more stable substances; minerals and rocks that are chemically stable at the
earths surface are resistant to chemical weathering.
Mechanical and chemical weathering go on constantly and simultaneously in
most environments.

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Climate and weathering.
Climate (a combination
of temperature and
rainfall) strongly
influences weathering
processes. Mechanical
weathering dominates in
areas of low rainfall and
cold temperatures. High
temperature and high
rainfall favor chemical
weathering.

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MECHANICAL WEATHERING
There are a number of natural processes that reduce
rocks into smaller sizes without causing any change in
their chemical makeup:
FROST WEDGING
CRYSTAL GROWTH
THERMAL EXPANSION AND CONTRACTION
MECHANICAL EXFOLIATION
OTHER MECHANICAL WEATHERING

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FROST WEDGING
Water expands in volume by about 9% when it freezes.
Frost wedging is the most effective type of mechanical weathering.
This process is also most active in environments where there is
abundant surface water and temperatures often fluctuate around
the freezing point of water.

Water freezes Cracks are


as temperature enlarged;
Water enters intervening rock is
drops; expands
cracks in rock dislodged to form
against walls of
rock TALUS

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Frost wedging. This high-
mountain granite boulder in the
Sierra Nevada of California has
been split by repeated freezing
and thawing of water that
penetrated along joints.

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CRYSTAL GROWTH
The process occurs when salt crystals settle to the bottom
of a salt-water-filled cavity, because either the water is
evaporating or it contains an overabundance of dissolved
salt, the growing crystals apply great pressure to the walls
of the cavity, prying them farther apart.

great pressure
Salt-water-filled cavity Rock breaks down

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CHEMICAL WEATHERING

Ion exchange.
Chemical weathering
by ion exchange
happens when
hydrogen ions (H+) in
weakly acid rainfall
displace cations such
as potassium (K+) and
form new minerals in
the process. Grain of
feldspar attacked by
acid rainwater.

89
Ion exchange. Chemical weathering by ion exchange happens when
hydrogen ions (H+) in weakly acid rainfall displace cations such as
potassium (K+) and form new minerals in the process. Feldspar partly
altered to a mixture of clay and quartz.
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Oxidation. This is an oxidized soil in Hawaii. The bright red
color is due to the oxidation of iron to form hematite.
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Soil profile. This is a typical sequence of soil horizons as they
might appear in the soil profile of a soil that developed in a cool,
moist climate. The uppermost layers, within reach of plant roots,
are commonly termed the topsoil.
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