Basic Geology Concepts

megalodon

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Geology is the study of the Earth. The subject expands to all the naturally occurring inorganic substances on Earth and the processes acting upon them. This makes it a complex subject with some common concepts with several other scientific disciplines. For example, Geochemistry shares the concepts of Geology and Chemistry, Paleontology shares the concepts of Geology and Biology, Environmental Geology shares the concepts of Geology and Environmental Science etc. Sometimes it's difficult to define a boundary between the subjects. Some subjects like Paleontology are considered to be the subjects of both fields of Science and are also studied independently. Some subjects like Geophysics have been established as independent fields.

Although Geology is a fascinating subject, there is not much awareness about it among students and scholars. This is an introduction to the basic concepts of Geology.

Shape and Structure of the Earth
Earth is an oblate spheroid which means that it's a spheroid (3-dimensional sphere) with flat surfaces on both poles. It's a common notion among people that the Earth is like an apple with solid interior. The internal structure of the Earth is not a solid mass filled with rocks we see on the surface but rather layered with varying composition. There are 3 layers of the Earth. The surface layer is called the Crust which is above Mantle, and the center of the Earth is Core.

Geology of Time
The entire human history is negligible in comparison to the vast history of the Earth. If you wonder how Geologists decipher the events in Earth's history, then you should study Geologic Time Scale. The dating of rocks, the study of fossils, and the sedimentation cycles help Geologists to understand the history of the Earth.

Landforms
The landforms on the surface of the planet are formed by various Geological activities. The formation of rocks, their weathering and erosion, sedimentation, and metamorphism are a part of the Rock cycle which results in the formation of these landforms.

Rocks
Rocks are the basis of Geological investigation. Petrology is a subject that deals with the study of rocks. They help a Geologist to understand how an area is formed, the pre-hostoric environment and life, the important events in the Geological history of the area etc. The rocks formed from lava or magma are called igneous rocks, those formed by the accumulation of sediments are called sedimentary rocks, and those formed as a result of metamorphism are called metamorphic rocks.

Minerals
The rocks are composed of one or more minerals. Mineralogy is a subject that deals with the study of minerals. A mineral is a naturally occurring, solid, inorganic substance with a uniform composition and a regularly repeating internal structure. Although the definition might seem complex, it just sums up the properties to distinguish a mineral from other substances. For example, a plastic toy or the shell of an organism cannot be considered as minerals.

Geological Processes
The Earth constantly undergoes minor and major changes resulting in the formation of mountains, deserts, rivers, islands etc. Geological processes can take millions of years. Geologists study current Geological processes to understand the past Geological processes.

Natural Resources of the Earth
The knowledge of Geology has been important for the progress of civilizations. The raw materials of majority of the industries are obtained with the help of Geology. The Earth's resources like rocks, minerals, metals, gemstones, radio-active elements, petroleum etc. are all explored and mined based on the Geology of an area. The contribution of Geology is so immense that when we talk about colonizing other planets, the first thing we think about is water and the second thing is mining for raw materials. They both require the knowledge of Geology.

Natural Disasters
The natural disasters like earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions etc. can be predicted to some extent. Geologists also work in mitigating natural disasters.

You can read more about these Geology concepts from Geology Buzz.
 

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