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Tabular Joint

A tabular joint is a type of fracture that occurs in rocks where there is a separation along a flat surface.  This results in the formation of large, flat blocks of rock that are often seen in cliffs and other rock formations.  The tabular joint is a result of stress in the rock, which causes it to crack and break along a flat plane.  This type of joint is commonly found in sedimentary rocks such as sandstone and shale, but can also occur in igneous and metamorphic rocks.


Talc is a soft, white mineral that is commonly used in cosmetics and personal care products due to its ability to absorb moisture and prevent friction.  It is also used in the manufacturing of ceramics, paint, and paper. Talc is composed of magnesium, silicon, and oxygen, and has a greasy or soapy feel when touched.  It is formed from the alteration of other minerals in the presence of water and carbon dioxide.


Talus refers to the accumulation of broken rock fragments that have fallen from a cliff or steep slope. These fragments can range in size from small pebbles to large boulders, and are typically found at the base of a slope or cliff.  Talus is formed through the process of weathering and erosion, which breaks down the rock and causes it to fall down the slope.  Over time, the talus can build up and form a stable slope at the base of the cliff.


A tarn is a small, mountain lake or pool that is often found in a cirque, which is a bowl-shaped depression at the head of a glacier.  Tarns are typically fed by snowmelt or precipitation, and can have crystal-clear water due to the lack of sediment and organic matter.  They are often surrounded by steep slopes and cliffs, and can be difficult to access.  Tarns can be found in mountainous regions around the world, and are often popular destinations for hiking and camping.

Tear Fault

A tear fault is a type of geological fault that occurs when two larger faults intersect at an angle.  When this happens, the rock between the two faults is pulled apart and a new fault is formed, which is called a tear fault.  Tear faults can be found in many different types of rocks, and are often associated with areas of high tectonic activity.  They can have a significant impact on the landscape, causing rock formations to shift and creating new geological features.

Tectonic Map

A tectonic map is a type of geological map that shows the location and boundaries of tectonic plates.  Tectonic plates are large sections of the Earth’s crust that move and interact with each other, causing earthquakes, volcanic activity, and other geological phenomena.  Tectonic maps are used by geologists and other scientists to study the Earth’s crust and better understand how it has evolved over time.  They can also be used to identify areas of high tectonic activity, which can be important for predicting and preparing for natural disasters.

Tectonic Plate

A tectonic plate is a large, rigid section of the Earth’s crust that moves and interacts with other plates.  There are several major tectonic plates, as well as numerous smaller ones, that make up the Earth’s crust.  The movement of these plates is driven by convection currents in the Earth’s mantle, and can cause earthquakes, volcanic activity, and other geological phenomena.  Tectonic plates can be classified into three types convergent, divergent, and transform.  Convergent boundaries occur where two plates collide, divergent boundaries occur where two plates move apart, and transform boundaries occur where two plates slide past each other.


Tectonics is the study of the Earth’s crust and the processes that shape it.  It includes the study of tectonic plates, earthquakes, volcanic activity, and other geological phenomena.  Tectonics is an important field of study because it helps scientists better understand the Earth’s history and predict natural disasters. It also has practical applications in fields such as mining, construction, and geothermal energy.  Tectonics is a complex field that involves many different disciplines, including geology, geophysics, and seismology.


Temperature refers to the degree of hotness or coldness of an object or environment.  It is measured using a thermometer and is typically expressed in degrees Celsius or Fahrenheit.  Temperature plays an important role in many natural processes, including weather patterns and the behavior of living organisms.  Changes in temperature can have significant effects on the environment, such as causing changes in ocean currents or melting glaciers.


Tenacity is a term used to describe the strength and durability of a material. In geology, it is often used to describe the ability of a rock to resist breaking or being deformed under stress.  Different types of rocks have varying levels of tenacity, depending on their composition and structure.  For example, igneous rocks like granite are known for their high tenacity, while sedimentary rocks like shale are generally less tenacious.


Tephra refers to any material that is ejected from a volcano during an eruption, including ash, pumice, and volcanic bombs.  These materials can travel long distances and can have significant impacts on the environment, such as disrupting air travel and causing respiratory problems for humans and animals.  Tephra can also be used by scientists to study the history of volcanic eruptions and better understand the behavior of volcanoes.

Terminal Moraine

A terminal moraine is a type of moraine that forms at the edge of a glacier or ice sheet.  As the glacier advances, it pushes rocks, soil, and other debris to the front of the glacier, forming a ridge-like feature known as a moraine.  The terminal moraine is the furthest extent of the glacier’s advance and is often marked by a prominent ridge or series of ridges.  Terminal moraines can provide valuable information about the history of a glacier, such as its rate of advance and retreat, and can be used to study the effects of climate change on glaciers.


A terrace is a flat or gently sloping surface that is raised above the surrounding landscape.  Terraces can be found in a variety of environments, including river valleys, coastal regions, and mountains.  They are often formed by natural processes, such as erosion or sedimentation, but can also be created through human activity, such as agriculture or construction.  Terraces can be important for a variety of reasons, including providing flat areas for building, improving soil drainage for agriculture, or creating habitat for plants and animals.


Terrain refers to the physical features of a landscape, including its elevation, slope, and surface characteristics.  Terrain can be influenced by a variety of factors, such as geology, climate, and human activity.  Terrain can have a significant impact on human and animal behavior, as well as on the design and construction of buildings and infrastructure.  For example, steep terrain can make it difficult to build roads or buildings, while flat terrain can make agriculture easier.

Terrain Map

A terrain map is a type of map that displays the physical features of an area, such as mountains, valleys, and other landforms.  Unlike a topographic map, a terrain map may not include contour lines, but it does use shading and color to show the variations in elevation and land cover.  Terrain maps are useful for a wide range of outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, and skiing, as well as for scientific research in fields such as geology and ecology.  They can also be used for planning and development, as they provide a visual representation of the terrain that can help identify areas that are suitable for different land uses.  In addition, terrain maps can be combined with other types of maps, such as aerial photographs or satellite images, to create a more detailed and comprehensive view of an area.


Terrestrial refers to anything related to or living on land, as opposed to in water or in the air.  Terrestrial environments can range from deserts to forests to grasslands, and are home to a wide variety of plant and animal species.  Humans are also considered terrestrial organisms, as they live and depend on land for their survival.  Terrestrial ecosystems can be impacted by a variety of factors, including climate change, habitat destruction, and pollution.

Tertiary Period

The Tertiary Period is a geologic era that began roughly 66 million years ago and ended around 2.6 million years ago.  It is the first era of the Cenozoic Era and is known for significant changes in the Earth’s climate, as well as the diversification of many plant and animal species.  During the Tertiary Period, the Earth’s climate was generally warm and humid, and the continents continued to move and shift.  The Tertiary Period is important for understanding the evolution of many modern species, including primates and mammals, and for studying the geological history of the Earth.

Test Pit

A test pit is a small excavation made to investigate the ground conditions, such as soil type, moisture content, or depth to rock.  They are typically used in construction and engineering projects to gather data and determine the suitability of the site for development.  Test pits are usually dug by hand or with a small excavator and can vary in depth depending on the purpose of the investigation.


Texture refers to the physical characteristics of a surface, such as its roughness, smoothness, or pattern.  In geology, texture is an important characteristic used to identify and classify rocks.  For example, sandstone is characterized by its grainy texture, while shale has a smooth, layered texture.  Texture can also be used to describe soil, with sandy soils having a coarse texture and clay soils having a fine texture.


A thalweg is the deepest part of a river channel, where the water flows fastest and the channel is usually the narrowest . It is an important feature of river morphology, as it can influence the behavior of the water, the sediment transport, and the distribution of aquatic life.  Thalwegs can shift over time due to changes in flow or sediment deposition, and can be affected by human activities such as dredging or dam construction.

Thematic Map

A thematic map is a type of map that displays data related to a specific theme or topic.  Thematic maps can show a variety of data, such as population density, land use, or political boundaries.  They are often used in fields such as geography, cartography, and urban planning to visualize spatial patterns and relationships.  Thematic maps can use a variety of techniques to display data, such as choropleth maps, which use color to represent data values, or dot density maps, which use dots to represent data values.

Thermal Anomaly

A thermal anomaly is a localized area where the temperature is significantly different from the surrounding area.  Thermal anomalies can be found in a variety of environments, including underground, in the atmosphere, or on the surface of the Earth.  They can be caused by a variety of factors, such as geothermal activity, volcanic activity, or changes in surface or atmospheric temperature.  Thermal anomalies can be detected and measured using remote sensing techniques, such as thermal imaging or infrared cameras.

Thermal Belt

A thermal belt is a zone of land that is characterized by its warmer temperature compared to surrounding areas.  Thermal belts are often found on slopes facing south or southwest, where they receive more sunlight and warmer air temperatures.  They can also be influenced by factors such as elevation, soil type, and vegetation cover.  Thermal belts can be important for agriculture, as they provide warmer growing conditions and extend the growing season for certain crops.

Thermal Energy

Thermal energy is a type of energy that is related to temperature and the movement of atoms and molecules.  It is a form of kinetic energy, and is often associated with heat.  Thermal energy can be transferred from one object to another through conduction, convection, or radiation. It is a valuable source of energy for many applications, such as heating buildings, generating electricity, or powering industrial processes.

Thermal Gradient

A thermal gradient is a change in temperature over a distance or in a particular direction.  Thermal gradients can occur in a variety of natural and human-made environments, and can have significant impacts on the behavior of materials and systems.  For example, thermal gradients can cause stress in materials, leading to expansion or contraction.  In geology, thermal gradients can be used to study the structure and behavior of the Earth’s crust, as temperature changes can indicate the presence of geological features such as faults or magma chambers.

Thermal Spring

A thermal spring is a type of natural spring that is heated by geothermal energy.  Thermal springs can be found in many parts of the world and are often associated with volcanic activity.  The temperature of thermal springs can vary greatly, ranging from just a few degrees above the surrounding water to over 100°C.  Thermal springs are often popular tourist attractions and are sometimes used for therapeutic purposes due to their high mineral content.

Thermal Vent

A thermal vent is an opening in the Earth’s surface through which geothermally heated water and gases are discharged.  Thermal vents can be found in a variety of environments, including the ocean floor, hot springs, and volcanic regions.  The water and gases released from thermal vents can contain high levels of minerals and nutrients, making them an important source of food and energy for deep-sea organisms.


A thermocline is a layer in a body of water where the temperature changes rapidly with depth.  Thermoclines can occur in both freshwater and saltwater environments and are often associated with changes in water density.  In some cases, thermoclines can act as barriers to the mixing of water, leading to stratification and the formation of distinct layers in a body of water.

Thermoluminescence Dating

Thermoluminescence dating is a method of dating archaeological materials based on the amount of light emitted by a sample when it is heated.  The method is based on the principle that when certain minerals, such as quartz or feldspar, are heated, they release energy in the form of light.  This light is proportional to the amount of radiation that the minerals have been exposed to over time.  By measuring the amount of light emitted by a sample when it is heated, scientists can estimate the age of the sample.  Thermoluminescence dating can be used to date materials that are up to several hundred thousand years old, and is particularly useful for dating ceramics and other materials that have been exposed to heat.


A thermometer is a device used to measure temperature.  Thermometers come in many different forms, but they all work on the same basic principle as the temperature of a substance changes, so does its physical properties.  For example, most thermometers use the expansion of a liquid or gas to indicate temperature changes.  As the temperature of the substance being measured increases, the volume of the liquid or gas expands, causing it to rise up a calibrated scale.


Thixotropy is a property of certain fluids that causes them to become less viscous over time when they are stirred or shaken.  Thixotropic fluids are often used in industrial applications, such as in the manufacture of paints, adhesives, and pharmaceuticals.  Thixotropy can be caused by a number of factors, including the presence of small particles in the fluid or the structure of the fluid itself.

Thrust Fault

A thrust fault is a type of geological fault where the rocks on one side of the fault are pushed up and over the rocks on the other side.  Thrust faults are often associated with mountain-building processes and can be found in many parts of the world.  Thrust faults can be very large, with some extending for hundreds of kilometers.


Till is a type of sedimentary material that is formed by the deposition of rocks and debris carried by glaciers.  Tills are often unsorted, meaning that they contain a wide range of particle sizes, from small rocks to boulders.  Tills can be found in many parts of the world and are often used by geologists to understand the movement and behavior of glaciers in the past.  Tills can also be important sources of minerals and other resources.

Time Zone

A time zone is a geographic region where all the clocks are set to the same time.  Time zones are used to standardize time across different regions of the world, and they are typically defined by the number of hours they are ahead or behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).  There are 24 time zones in the world, each representing a one-hour difference in time.

Topo Map

A topo map, short for topographical map, is a type of map that shows the elevation and terrain features of a specific area.  These maps are typically used for outdoor activities such as hiking and camping, and they provide important information about the landscape, including mountains, valleys, rivers, and other topographical features.  Topo maps are created using contour lines to represent changes in elevation, and they can be very useful for navigating in areas with complex terrain.

Topographical Map

A topographical map is a type of map that shows the physical features and terrain of a specific area in great detail.  These maps are often used for scientific and engineering purposes, such as in geology, hydrology, and environmental studies.  Topographical maps use contour lines to represent changes in elevation, and they can also include other important features such as rivers, lakes, and forests.

Topographic Profile

A topographic profile is a cross-sectional view of a specific area, showing the elevation and terrain features along a single line.  These profiles are often used in geological and engineering studies to better understand the landscape and the behavior of natural processes such as erosion and tectonic movement.  Topographic profiles can be created using data from topographic maps, and they can be very useful for visualizing changes in elevation and terrain features over a specific distance.

Topographical Survey

A topographical survey is a type of survey that measures and maps the physical features and contours of a specific area of land.  These surveys are typically used in engineering and construction projects, as well as in environmental studies and land-use planning. Topographical surveys can include information on elevation, slope, vegetation, and other topographical features, and they can be used to create detailed maps and models of the landscape.


Topography refers to the physical features and characteristics of a specific area of land.  This includes information on elevation, slope, vegetation, and other natural and man-made features.  Topography is an important aspect of geography, and it plays a key role in a variety of fields, including geology, hydrology, and environmental science.  Topographic maps and surveys are commonly used to study and map topographical features.


Tors are distinctive rock formations that are typically found in upland areas with hard, resistant rock.  These formations are created by weathering and erosion, which wear away softer rock and leave behind the harder, more resistant rock.  Tors can take a variety of shapes and sizes, ranging from small boulders to large, prominent hills.  They are often used as landmarks in navigation and can provide important information about the local geology and topography.


A township is a type of surveying and land management unit used in many countries, including the United States and Canada.  In the United States, a township is a unit of land measuring 6 miles by 6 miles, or 36 square miles.  Townships are used to subdivide larger areas of land for surveying and administrative purposes, and they are often used in conjunction with other surveying units such as sections and ranges.  In addition to their use in land management, townships can also be used to refer to small, self-governing communities in some parts of the world.


Traction refers to the force that causes a moving object to adhere to a surface and move along it.  In the context of topography, traction is often used to describe the way that soil and other materials are moved and transported by natural processes such as erosion and landslides.  Traction can also refer to the way that vehicles and other forms of transportation move across different types of terrain.


A trail is a path or route that is used for walking, hiking, or other forms of outdoor recreation.  Trails can vary in length and difficulty, and they can be found in a variety of environments, from urban parks to remote wilderness areas.  Trails can be created by natural processes, such as animal tracks, or they can be created and maintained by humans for recreational purposes. In some cases, trails may also be used for transportation or as part of a larger network of trails.


Tran is short for transect, which is a type of surveying method used to study and document the distribution of plants and animals in a specific area.  A transect involves measuring and marking out a line or path across an area of interest and then collecting data on the organisms and environmental factors that are encountered along that line.  Transects can be used to study a wide range of ecological and environmental issues, including biodiversity, habitat fragmentation, and climate change.


A transect is a type of surveying method used to study and document the distribution of plants and animals in a specific area.  A transect involves measuring and marking out a line or path across an area of interest and then collecting data on the organisms and environmental factors that are encountered along that line.  Transects can be used to study a wide range of ecological and environmental issues, including biodiversity, habitat fragmentation, and climate change.

Transform Fault

A transform fault is a type of tectonic boundary where two plates move past each other in opposite directions.  Transform faults can be found along mid-ocean ridges and on land, and are characterized by frequent earthquakes.  The most famous example of a transform fault is the San Andreas Fault in California, which is responsible for many of the earthquakes that occur in the region.


Transgression is the movement of the shoreline inland due to rising sea levels or other factors. This can lead to the flooding of previously dry land and the creation of new coastal features like beaches, dunes, and wetlands.  Transgression can also refer to the geological process by which marine sediments are deposited on land, resulting in the formation of new rock formations.


Transpiration is the process by which water is lost from plants through the tiny pores in their leaves known as stomata.  This process is a crucial part of the water cycle, as it returns water from plants to the atmosphere where it can later fall as precipitation.  Transpiration also helps to regulate the temperature of plants and the surrounding environment. The rate of transpiration can be affected by various factors, including temperature, humidity, and wind speed.


Transport is the movement of materials or substances from one place to another. It can refer to the movement of people, goods, or even energy. Transport can occur through various means, such as by land, air, or sea.  In the context of topography, transport can refer to the movement of sediment, rock, or soil due to natural processes like erosion or human activities like mining or construction.

Trap Rock

Trap rock is a type of igneous rock that is formed from volcanic eruptions.  This rock is known for its hard and durable qualities and is commonly used in construction for making roads, buildings, and other structures.  Trap rock is often dark in color, ranging from black to dark gray, and has a rough texture. It gets its name from the Swedish word “trappa” which means “stairs,” as it was historically used for steps and stairways.  Trap rock is found in many areas of the world, including the northeastern United States, where it is often used for making asphalt and concrete.

Travel Time

Travel time refers to the amount of time it takes to travel from one location to another.  This can be affected by many factors, such as the mode of transportation, distance, traffic, weather, and other obstacles.  Travel time is important to consider when planning trips, commuting to work, or scheduling appointments.  In addition, it is a crucial factor in logistics and supply chain management, as delays in travel time can impact the delivery of goods and services.


Traverse refers to a journey or movement across a difficult or challenging terrain, such as a mountain range or a forest.  It involves navigating through obstacles and overcoming hurdles to reach a destination.  Traversing can be done on foot, on horseback, or by other means of transportation. It requires a combination of physical endurance, mental fortitude, and problem-solving skills.  Traversing can be a rewarding experience, providing a sense of accomplishment and adventure.

Tree Line

Tree line refers to the altitude above which trees cannot grow due to environmental conditions such as low temperatures, high winds, or lack of moisture. This is also known as the timberline or the treeline.  The tree line varies depending on the region, with lower tree lines found in polar and alpine environments and higher tree lines found in more temperate regions.  The tree line can also be affected by human activity such as deforestation, grazing, and climate change.  The tree line is an important ecological boundary, marking the transition between forested and non-forested areas, and providing habitat for a variety of wildlife.


A trench is a long, narrow excavation or ditch that is typically deeper than it is wide.  Trenches can be created for a variety of purposes, such as military defense, irrigation, or archaeological excavation. In military contexts, trenches were used extensively during World War I as a defensive measure.  They were dug to provide cover for soldiers and to impede the advance of enemy forces.  Trenches can also be found in geology, where they are formed by the erosion of water or glaciers over time.


Triangulation is a method used in surveying and navigation to determine the position of an object or location by measuring angles from two or more known points.  This involves creating a triangle between the known points and the object being located, and then using trigonometric principles to calculate the position of the object.  Triangulation is widely used in the fields of astronomy, cartography, and geodesy, among others.


A tributary is a stream or river that flows into a larger body of water, such as a lake, ocean, or another river.  Tributaries are important features of river systems and are essential for maintaining water flow and quality.  They can originate from a variety of sources, such as springs, rainwater runoff, or melting snow and glaciers.  Tributaries can also provide habitats for a variety of aquatic life, such as fish, insects, and amphibians.  The term “tributary” can also be used in a figurative sense to refer to a smaller or less influential organization or group that contributes to a larger entity.


Trigonometry is a branch of mathematics that deals with the relationships between the sides and angles of triangles.  It is used extensively in fields such as engineering, physics, and navigation. T rigonometry allows for the calculation of unknown angles and sides of triangles based on known information. It also has many practical applications, such as determining the height of a building or measuring the distance between two objects. Trigonometry is based on the use of trigonometric functions such as sine, cosine, and tangent, which relate the angles of a triangle to its sides.


A trough is a long, narrow depression in the Earth’s surface that is often associated with valleys or river channels.  Troughs can be formed by a variety of geological processes, such as erosion, faulting, or glacial activity.  They can also be created by human activity, such as digging or mining. Troughs are important features of the landscape and can provide habitats for a variety of flora and fauna.

True North

True North is the geographic direction that points to the Earth’s geographic North Pole.  This is different from magnetic north, which is the direction that a compass needle points towards the Earth’s magnetic North Pole.  True North is an important reference point in navigation, as it is used to determine bearings and to calculate longitude and latitude.  True North is also important in astronomy, as it provides a reference point for celestial navigation.


Tuff is a type of volcanic rock that is formed from the consolidation of volcanic ash and other pyroclastic material.  Tuff is typically light in color and has a porous texture. It is commonly used as a building material and is prized for its lightweight, insulating properties.  Tuff is also used in the manufacture of cement and other construction materials.  Tuff can be found in many areas of the world where there has been volcanic activity, such as Italy, Iceland, and the western United States.


Tundra is a biome characterized by cold temperatures, high winds, and a short growing season.  Tundra is typically found in high latitudes or high altitudes, such as the Arctic and Antarctic regions.  The soil in tundra regions is typically frozen year-round, which makes it difficult for vegetation to take root.  However, some hardy plants such as mosses, lichens, and grasses are able to survive in these extreme conditions. Tundra regions are also home to a variety of wildlife, such as polar bears, arctic foxes, and caribou.  Tundra regions are important indicators of climate change, as they are particularly sensitive to changes in temperature and precipitation.


A turbidite is a sedimentary rock that is formed from underwater landslides or sediment transport.  These underwater events can cause sediment to become suspended in the water column and eventually settle out, forming layers of sedimentary rock.  Turbidites are often found in deep marine environments and can be identified by their distinctive layering and sediment composition.  Turbidites can be useful indicators of past geological events, such as earthquakes or volcanic activity.


Turf is a type of vegetation that is composed of grasses and other low-growing plants.  It is typically found in areas with a cool, moist climate, such as the British Isles or northern Europe. Turf is often used for landscaping, as it can provide a dense, low-maintenance groundcover.  It is also used in sports fields, such as soccer or football pitches.  Turf can be grown from seed or harvested from established fields.  It is important to maintain a healthy turf environment through regular watering, fertilization, and pest management.


Turnover refers to the process of water mixing in a body of water, such as a lake or ocean.  This occurs when water at different temperatures and densities mix, causing nutrients and dissolved oxygen to be distributed throughout the water column.  Turnover can have important implications for aquatic ecosystems, as it can affect the distribution of nutrients and oxygen that are essential for aquatic life.  Turnover can be influenced by a variety of factors, such as wind, temperature, and water depth.


Twilight is the period of the day when the sun is below the horizon but its rays still illuminate the sky.  It is characterized by a gradual dimming of light and the appearance of colors in the sky, such as pink, orange, and purple.  Twilight occurs twice a day, during dawn and dusk, and can last for several minutes or up to an hour depending on the location and time of year.  Twilight is important for many outdoor activities, such as photography or wildlife observation, as it can create dramatic lighting effects and a unique atmosphere.

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