Basic geologic processes important to environmental science:

Definition of mineral: naturally occuring, inorganic, fixed or limited range of chemical composition, crystalline (regular atomic arrangement of constituent ions).

Major groups of minerals:

Sediment versus hard rock, a basic distinction.

How can sediment be described?

Description on the basis of grains size: mud -> silt -> sand (fine to medium to coarse) -> gravel -> boulders.

If you think of surface sediment the particles come in different sizes. How would knowing the size distribution of surface sediment be of potential interest environmentally?

Lithification = process whereby sediment -> rock, sand -> sandstone.

How can rocks be described and classified?

From an environmental perspective what are important rock and/or sediment properties? What would you want to know more specifically about a given rock or sediment type from an environmental perspective? Why is this information useful.

What near surface processes alter geologic materials?


What earth processes create natural hazards:

Earth processes important in understanding geologic resources:


Groundwater flow

We will focus a bit more on groundwater flow for several reasons:

How does the water get into the ground?

An answer may be found in considering part of the hydrologic cycle. The diagram below attempts to show some of the reservoirs linked to groundwater, and the processes that transfer water between these reservoirs.

This leads to a second question. What determines how much seeps into the ground?

How much water can the ground hold (what is its porosity)?

What determines in what pattern and how fast water flows in the ground?

How can we map groundwater surfaces (given they are hidden from view)?

Aquifer is a groundwater reservoir. What are local aquifers (for Omaha area)?

Dr. Schimmrich has collected links to hydrology and hydrogeology.