What is Earth Science?
In simple terms, Earth Science is a body of knowledge related to the study of the planet Earth. However, earth science is not only the study of earth and processes that occur within it, but also involves studying external factors that may influence earth. For example, when studying earth science, you will learn about the sun and the effects that it has on earth (since all energy used in this planet comes ultimately from the sun). Earth science is an interdisciplinary science that integrates many basic sciences (mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, etc) and uses them to derive models and explanations. Also, earth science has many practical applications.
What is Geology?
Earth science could be divided into subareas according to the subject of study: meteorology, oceanography, and geology. Geology is at the core of earth science and one of the most important areas of earth science. Some academics think of geology as the “basic” or “primary” earth science.
Basically, geology is the study of the earth and the materials of which the earth is made of. Also, geology includes the study of the factors that influences those materials, the processes that occur on earth that may affect its materials and even the biological entities that live on earth and how they may affect the materials present on earth.
An In Depth Look Into the Study of Geology
Although geology is very broad in scope and applications, it has three basic areas of study: earth processes, earthy materials, and earth history. All areas are interrelated and nobody can study one without the other two.
Earth processes: The Earth is not a static entity and in fact is very dynamic in nature. Think of all the things that happen around you; earthquakes, landslides, heavy rain and floods, droughts, volcanic activity, ocean water current (el Niño), etc., and you will understand why the Earth is always changing. In te field of geology, you would study these processes, try to understand them, and try to predict them. For example, volcanic activity must be understood to avoid building towns and cities that may be damaged by such activity. Also, learning where flood zones may be and how they may affect certain areas so as to avoid building up cities in these zones and to help protect them in the future.
Earth materials: People on the earth use all different types of materials. From sand to make concrete to oil for cars and trucks. These are all materials obtained from the earth. In Earth science geology, you will study these various materials, where to find or locate them, and how to extract them from the earth. Mines, oil fields, and ground water for example, are all sources of earth materials that must be located and exploited and certainly geology can help in this regard.
Earth history: The field of geology studies the history of the earth as a way to understand how changes have happened over time and how future changes can be predicted. This information is valuable to plan accordingly. For example, studying historical flood patterns of a particular river basin is important to predict future floods according to certain climate conditions. Also, climate change could be more effectively predicted by studying past changes and how they may affect climate in the future.
Geology. 2001. By Frank H. T. Rhodes and Raymond Perlman. Saint Martin Press. ISBN 1582381437
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This post is part of the series: What is the Study of Geology and Its Importance?
In this series, you will find information on the study of geology, what it entails, and its importance to life and civilization. You will also learn what is involved in this science such as the discovery of Earth processes, Earth materials, and Earth history.