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Using relative dating principles and the position of layers within rock, it is possible to reconstruct the sequence of geologic events that have occurred at a site.
In the image below, cliffs along the Snake River show signs of volcanic activity and deposition.
This chapter is an introduction to rocks and minerals, and the rock cycle.
Basic chemistry is important to all sciences, especially geology!
Trying to explain the what, how, and when of a rock's journey is fundamental to explaining why rocks are significant to resolving questions about our Earth's history and conditions within the physical environments where we live.
The lightest element, hydrogen, has one proton, whereas the heaviest naturally occurring element, uranium, has 92 protons. Isotopes are each of two or more forms of the same element that contain equal numbers of protons but different numbers of neutrons in their nuclei, and hence differ in relative atomic mass but not in chemical properties.
Some isotopes are not stable and ultimately break down or change in other elements.
Everything around us is made of chemical compounds that have testable and identifying characteristics, allowing them to be classified, and their age determined.
This also applies to rocks, minerals, and derivative materials (such as sediments and soil).