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Geology is the scientific study of the Earth, the materials of which it is made, the structure of those materials, and the processes acting upon them.The Greek derivation of the word "geology" refers only to the Earth, but since the beginning of the space age, the field has expanded to include the study of the solid matter of other celestial bodies, such as Mars and the Moon.banded iron formation - Rock consisting of alternating light and dark layers of iron-rich chert (hematite and limonite) formed approximately 3,800 million years ago.bank - The land alongside or sloping down to a river or lake.archean, archaean - An eon of geologic time extending from about 3800 to 2500 million years ago. The Archean eon is divided into four eras: Eoarchean, Paleoarchean, Mesoarchean, and Neoarchean.arkose - A variety of sandstone containing abundant feldspar and quartz, frequently in angular, poorly sorted grains.atoll - A continuous or broken circle of coral reef and low coral islands surrounding a central lagoon.autochthonous - Refers to something formed in its present location. backwash - The return flow of water down a beach after a wave has broken.
bar - A unit of pressure equal to 10 to the sixth dynes/square centimeter; approximately one atmosphere.arroyo - A steep-sided and flat-bottomed gully in an arid region that is occupied by a stream only intermittently, after rains.artesian well - A well that penetrates an impermeable layer of rock to reach an aquifer containing water under pressure.barrier island - A long, narrow island parallel to the shore, composed of sand and built by wave action.basalt - A fine-grained, dark, mafic igneous rock (~50% Si O) composed largely of plagioclase feldspar and pyroxene; rough volcanic equivalent of gabbro.