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Geological Terms Beginning With "N"



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Nannofossils

Nannofossils

A generic term used in reference to very small fossils that are at the limit of resolution by a light microscope. They are therefore studied with electron microscopes and are frequently fossil discoasters and coccoliths.

Nappe

Nappe

A large slab of earth's surface that has been moved in a horizontal or near horizontal direction through thrust faulting or recumbent folding. The term is generally used for very large slabs which are many square kilometers or miles in surface area.

Native Metal

Native Metal

A specimen of a element, found naturally occurring in nature. Examples include gold, silver, copper mercury, lead, palladium and platinum.

Natural Bridge

Natural Bridge

Any arch-shaped rock formation produced by weathering and/or erosion that spans a small valley. Some natural bridges are formed when the bend of a meandering stream erodes through a meander neck. In limestone areas they can form when cavern collapse leaves a small area of roof spanning a passage. The photo shows Sipapu Bridge at Natural Bridges National Monument in Utah.

Natural Gas Investing

Natural Gas

Naturally occurring hydrocarbons that exist in subsurface rock units in the gaseous state. Methane is the most abundant but ethane, propane and others also occur. Natural gas is flamable and is burned as a fuel. It can also be used to make a wide variety of chemical, plastic and fertilizer products.

Natural Levee

Natural Levee

A mound of sediment that parallels a stream channel forming a levee-like deposit. When flood waters leave the normal stream channel and enter the flood plain there is a reduction of velocity that causes suspended sediments to fall to the bottom, producing this deposit.

Natural Gas Investing

Natural Reservoir Pressure

The pressure within an oil or gas reservoir that forces oil or gas up the well bore when the reservoir is penetrated by drilling.

Neap tide

Neap tide

A daily tidal range of minimal amplitude that occurs when the moon and sun are positioned at 90 degrees to one another. In this moon-earth-sun configuration, the gravitational attraction of the moon and sun compete for Earth's water. Occurs at the first and third quarters of the moon. See spring tide for contrast.

Nebula

Nebula

A cloud of interstellar dust and gas in outer space that is faintly visible in the night sky from Earth. Shown in the photo is the Helix Nebula.

Neutron

Neutron

A subatomic particle, contained in the nucleus of an atom. It has no electrical charge and a mass similar to that of a proton.

Manganese nodule

Nodule

A mineral mass that has a different composition or is more weathering resistant than its surrounding rock. These are normally rounded in shape. Examples include: chert masses in a limestone rock unit, pyrite masses in a coal seam, or carbonate masses in a shale. In most cases these "nodules" have formed within the rock unit or its former sediment mass. The term is also applied to rounded masses of manganese minerals that occur on some parts of the ocean floor. The photo shows iron-manganese nodules on the seafloor north of the Puerto Rico Trench at a depth of about 5339 meters. The nodules are about two to four centimeters in diameter.

Natural Gas Investing

Non-Operating Interest

A mineral lease interest that does not involve the rights and responsibilities of exploration, development, or production. A royalty interest is a non-operating interest.

Non-Point Source Pollution

Non-Point Source Pollution

Pollution that does not originate at a single location. In an urban area runoff water can be polluted as it flows to a stream by gasoline, antifreeze, road salt or other contaminants. In rural areas runoff can be contaminated by insecticides, manure, or fertilizer. This contamination can be significant but can not be traced back to a specific source. The photo shows flooding in Wayne County, North Carolina. Flooding in rural area can mobilize fertilizer, animal waste and many other pollutants.

oil and gas rights

Non-Producing

A term that refers to a property, a well or a mine from which commercial amounts of a mineral resource have not yet been produced.

Normal Fault

Normal Fault

A fault with vertical movement and an inclined fault plane. The block above the fault has moved down relative to the block below the fault. The dip angle of the fault plane is between 45 and 90 degrees. Normal faults are the typical structural style of divergent plate boundaries and portions of the crust under extensional stress such as the East Africa Rift.

Nuclear Electric Power (Nuclear Power)

Nuclear Electric Power (Nuclear Power)

The generation of electricity using the heat released from a nuclear fuel. Shown in the photo is the Bellefonte Nuclear Generating Station, located near Hollywood, Alabama.

Nuclear Fuel

Nuclear Fuel

Fissionable materials that are rich enough to sustain a fission chain reaction.

Nuclear Electric Power (Nuclear Power)

Nuclear Reactor

A facility where a nuclear fission chain reaction can be initiated, controlled, and sustained. Shown in the photo is the Bellefonte Nuclear Generating Station, located near Hollywood, Alabama. The reactors are located in the two cylindrical structures on the left side of the photo. The two hour-glass-shaped structures are cooling towers.

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