Glossary Database

Select a Letter to view the associated terms.

 Glossary Term: 


 Faceted spur  A ridge, or a divide between stream valleys, that has an inverted-V face in cross section, produced by faulting or by erosion especially by a valley glacier.
 Facies  A distinctive group of characteristics within part of a rock body (such as composition, grain size, or fossil assemblages) that differ as a group from those found elsewhere in the same rock unit. Examples: conglomerate facies, shale facies, brachiopod facies.
 Fan  A fan-shaped deposit of sediment. (See also: alluvial fan, deep-sea fan)
 Fault  A surface along which a rock body has broken and been displaced.
 Fault block  A rock mass bounded by faults on at least two sides.
 Fault scarp  A cliff produced by faulting.
 Faunal succession  The principle that fossils in a stratigraphic sequence succeed one another in a definite, recognizable order.
 Feces  waste materials, including undigested food and sloughed-off intestinal cells, that are expelled from the intestinal tract through the anus (Morris 1992).
 Feldspar  A mineral group consisting of silicates of aluminum and one or more of the metals potassium, sodium, or calcium. Examples: K-feldspar, Ca-plagioclase, Na-plagioclase. (See also: feldpar, plagioclase)
 Ferromagnesian  Containing iron and magnesium. Often applied to mafic minerals like amphibole, pyroxene, biotite, and olivine.
 Fertilization  1. the union of a male and female gamete to form a zygote. 2. the act of insemination, impregnation, or pollination. 3. a process marking the beginning of conception, during which the nuclei of the sperm cell and the egg cell come together and their chromosomes combine (Morris 1992).
 Filament  1.) A long (occasionally short), thin, fleshy extension, usually paired, extending off the back and sides (less commonly the abdomen) of a caterpillar. 2.)Slender or threadlike, said of certain elongated fin rays in some fishes.
 fingerling  Young fish at a stage of development between the fry stage and adulthood.
 Fiord  A glaciated valley flooded by the sea to form a long, narrow, steep-walled inlet.
 Firn  Granular ice formed by recrystallization of snow. It is intermediate between snow and glacial ice. Sometimes referred to as neve.
 Fishery Management Terms  Describes the primary management applied to a given water area by the Department of Fish & Game:
 Fishery Types  A. Cold water - fisheries supported by resident populations of salmonid game fish including trout, char. Nonanadromous salmon (kokanee, coho, chinook), and whitefish (family Salmonidae). B. Warm water - fisheries supported by warm water or cool water game fish including bass, crappie, sunfish, catfish, northern pike, tiger muskie, walleye, and yellow perch (families Centrarchidae, Ictaluridae, Percidae, and Esocidae). C. Mixed - fisheries supported by a combination of cold water and warm water fish species. D. Anadromous - fisheries supported by anadromous salmonids (steelhead trout, chinook salmon, and sockeye
 Fissure  an extensive crack, break, or fracture in rock
 Fissure  1. An open fracture in a rock. 2. An extensive crack, break, or fracture in rock
 Fissure eruption  Extrusion of lava along a fissure.
 Fjord  A glaciated valley flooded by the sea to form a long, narrow, steep-walled inlet.
 Flank  The fleshy part of an animal between the ribs and hip (Morris 1992).
 Fledge  1. Of a young bird, to acquire the feathers needed for flight. 2. to raise a young bird to maturity (Morris 1992)
 Fledglings  a young bird that has recently fledged (Morris 1992).
 Flight  The period of time during which butterflies from the same generation fly. It can also be used to refer to a single generation of butterflies. In the species accounts presented here, the period of time given for when adults fly (for example, from May to early August) is the length of time adults may be observed. Those adults may be from one generation or from several successive generations.
 Flint  A popular name for dark-colored chert (cryptocrystalline quartz).
 Flock  A group of animals, especially birds, that remain together, as for defense from predators or efficiency in locating food (Morris 1992)
 Flood basalt  An extensive flow of basalt erupted chiefly along fissures. Synonymous with plateau basalt.
 Floodplain  The flat, occasionally flooded area bordering a stream.
 Fluvial  Pertaining to a river or rivers.
 Fluvial environment  The sedimentary environment of river systems.
 Focus  The area within Earth where an earthquake originates.
 Fold  A bend, or flexure, in a rock.
 Folded mountain belt  A long, linear zone of Earth's crust where rocks have been intensely deformed by horizontal stresses and generally intruded by igneous rocks. 326The great folded mountains of the world (such as the Appalachians, the Himalayas, the Rockies, and the Alps) are believed to have been formed at convergent plate margins.
 Foliation  A planar feature in metamorphic rocks, produced by the secondary growth of minerals. Three major types are recognized: slaty cleavage, schistosity, and gneissic layering.
 fontanel  An aperture or opening in a bony surface, e.g. in the skull.
 Footwall  The block beneath a dipping fault surface.
 Foraminifera  A single-celled organism belonging to the kingdom Protista. Some species secrete a shell, called a test, usually made of calcium carbonate, but some of chitin. Others construct a test by sticking together sand particles. Most live in the sea.
 Forbs  1.) A Forb is a non-wooded, broad-leaved plant other than a grass, especially one growing in a field, prairie, or meadow. Commonly called a weed, but many have significant food value for livestock and wildlife. ie. Engelmann Daisy, Giant Ragweed. 2.) Term for any plant that is not a grass (Morris 1992).
 Forearc  At a convergent plate margin, the region between the trench and volcanic arc. The forearc is underlain by a long sedimentary basin and accretionary prism.
 Foreshore  The seaward part of the shore or beach lying between high tide and low tide.
 Formation  A distinctive body of rock that serves as a convenient unit for study and mapping. Formations can be distinguished from one place to another.
 Fossil  Naturally preserved remains or evidence of past life, such as bones, shells, casts, impressions, and trails.
 Fossil fuel  A fuel containing solar energy that was absorbed by plants and animals in the geologic past and thus is preserved in organic compounds in their remains. Fossil fuels include petroleum, natural gas, and coal.
 Fossorial  Adapted for digging or burrowing (Morris 1992). It often refers to animals that live predominantly underground. Pocket gophers are good examples of Fossorial mammals.
 Fractional crystallization  The separation of crystals and melt, which causes the residual magma to progressively change its composition.
 Fracture  a crack, joint, fault, or other break in rock
 Fracture zone  1. field geology. A zone where the bedrock is cracked and fractured. 2. oceanography. A zone of long, linear fractures on the ocean floor, expressed topographically by ridges and troughs. Fracture zones are the topographic expression of transform faults.
 Fringing reef  A reef that lies alongside the shore of a landmass.
 Frost heaving  The lifting of unconsolidated material by the freezing of subsurface water (water expands as it freezes).
 Frost wedging  The forcing apart of rocks by the expansion of water as it freezes in fractures and pore spaces.
 Frugivorous  Feeding mainly or exclusively on fruits (Morris 1992).
 fry  Newly hatched fish, from hatching to about one inch of growth.
 Fungi  Colonial organisms without chlorophyll; such as molds, mushrooms, or yeast.
 fusiform  Cigar-shaped; larger in the middle and tapering at both ends.