A chemical element is a pure chemical substance consisting of one type of atom distinguished by its atomic number, which is the number of protons in its nucleus.
Common examples of elements are iron, copper, silver, gold, hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen.
For example, the element carbon has 3 isotopes: C is unstable and will undergo radioactive decay.
All there isotopes have 6 protons, but have 6, 7, and 8 neutrons, respectively.
For instance, rocks and minerals formed deep underground may not be stable in the surface environment where they are exposed to water, air, temperature changes, and other physical and chemical conditions.
All matter is made up of atoms, and atoms are made up of atomic particles (electrons, protons, and neutrons - see Figure 2-5).
Rapid rock formation can be seen happening such as lava cooling from a volcanic eruption in places like Hawaii or Iceland.
However, most rocks we see around us form very slowly in settings that are not visible on the land surface.
Some isotopes are not stable and ultimately break down or change in other elements.
Basic concepts of chemistry are essential to understanding the physical and chemical properties of earth materials (minerals, rocks, organic matter, etc.).
The chemical characteristics of earth materials are reflect the environments how and where they are formed, they also determine their potential fate when exposed to chemical changes.
The science of geology is founded on basic principles that are useful for making observations about the world around us.
This chapter presents a mix of information that is essential (fundamental) to all following chapters.
Everything around us is made of chemical compounds that have testable and identifying characteristics, allowing them to be classified, and their age determined.