Wondrous Words Wednesday: geology (2)

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where we share new (to us) and interesting (to us, again) words we encountered in our readings. See this week round-up at BermudaOnion’s blog!

My words for this week come from Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne. I read this book as part of the Geology/Volcanology theme for One Two Theme challenge, and here’s my harvest of geology-related terms from it.


The inlet had rocky walls on either side, or rather steep precipices, and crowned with peaks 2,000 feet high, remarkable for their brown strata, separated by beds of reddish tuff.

Stratum: n. a layer or a series of layers of rock.

Bed: n. a stratum or layer of rock.

Tuff: n. a light, porous rock formed by consolidation of volcanic ash.


The whole region seemed to have been overwhelmed with a flood of enormous fragments of trap, basalt, granite, and all the pyroxene rocks.

Pyroxene: n. any of a large class of rock-forming silicate minerals typically occurring as prismatic crystals.


Its double cone terminates in a trachytic belt, which stands out from the mountain system of the island.

Trachytic: adj. Geology relating to or denoting a rock texture (characteristic of trachyte) in which crystals show parallel alignment due to liquid flow.

Trachyte: n. Geology a grey fine-grained volcanic rock consisting largely of alkali feldspar.


Iceland being wholly destitute of alluvial soil, is entirely composed of volcanic tufa

Tufa: n. 1 a porous rock composed of calcium carbonate and formed by precipitation from water, e.g. around mineral springs. 2 another term for tuff.


(All definitions are taken from the Concise Oxford English Dictionary © 2008 via WordReference.com unless otherwise stated.)


11 comments on “Wondrous Words Wednesday: geology (2)

  1. I am almost positive that I learned most of those words in school, but the only one that stuck with me is bed. I still hear rock bed from time to time, so that one stays with me. Thanks for playing along!

  2. There’s one quote from this book that I liked, about how geology-related words are intrinsically difficult to pronounce. And just as difficult to remember, I’m afraid! 🙂

  3. These are great words. I think I’ve read “tuff” before and guessed completely wrong what it was (confusing it with tuft, I think, and imagining it as plant material rather than rock).

Ditelo con parole vostre/Let your words be heard

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