This topic focuses on the study of rocks, minerals and soil, which make up the lithosphere. Classifying and identifying different types of rocks, minerals and soil can decode the past environment in which they formed.
Minerals have specific, quantifiable properties.
Minerals are naturally occurring, inorganic solids that have a defined chemical composition. Minerals have properties that can be observed and measured. Minerals form in specific environments.
Igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks have unique characteristics that can be used for identification and/or classification.
Most rocks are composed of one or more minerals, but there are a few types of sedimentary rocks that contain organic material, such as coal. The composition of the rock, types of mineral present, mineral arrangement, and/or mineral shape and size can be used to identify the rock and to interpret its history of formation, breakdown (weathering) and transport (erosion).
Igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks form in different ways.
Magma or lava cools and crystallizes to form igneous rocks. Heat and pressure applied to existing rock forms metamorphic rocks. Sedimentary rock forms as existing rock weathers chemically and/or physically and the weathered material is compressed and then lithifies. Each rock type can provide information about the environment in which it was formed.
Soil is unconsolidated material that contains nutrient matter and weathered rock.
Soil formation occurs at different rates and is based on environmental conditions, types of existing bedrock and rates of weathering. Soil forms in layers known as horizons. Soil horizons can be distinguished from one another based on properties that can be measured.
Rocks, minerals and soils have common and practical uses.
Nearly all manufactured material requires some kind of geologic resource. Most geologic resources are considered nonrenewable. Rocks, minerals and soil are examples of geologic resources that are nonrenewable.
LS Life Science
This topic focuses on the study of the basics of Modern Cell Theory. All organisms are composed of cells, which are the fundamental unit of life. Cells carry on the many processes that sustain life. All cells come from pre-existing cells.
Cells are the fundamental unit of life.
All living things are composed of cells. Different body tissues and organs are made of different kinds of cells. The ways cells function are similar in all living organisms.