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Introduction to Geology

Geology is a Science, which is devoted to the study of the Earth. It deals with all the features of the earth’s surface, its origin, composition, structure, history, inhabitants, and processes of change in its features. An important part of geology is the study of how Earth’s materials, structures, processes, and organisms have changed over time.

What Does a Geologist Do?

Geologists all over the globe work to understand the history of our planet. The better they can understand Earth’s history, the better they can foresee how events and processes of the past might influence the future. Here are some examples:

Geologists study Earth processes

Our Earth goes through many processes like earthquakes, landslides, floods, and volcanic action which can be hazardous to people. The work of Geologists is to understand these processes well enough to avoid building important structures where they might be damaged. Keeping in view the past record of hazards in a specific region, a geologist can predict the future threats associated with that particular region. They can draw maps on the basis of past history of a region which can be used to guide the development of communities and determine where flood protection or flood insurance is needed.

Geologists study Earth materials

Life is dependent on Earth and its material. Meeting their daily use needs people to use earth material. We eat food, which is grown on the Earth’s surface. We use water, Earth is the only source of it. We build houses from rocks present on Earth. We use fuel, which is extracted from the Earth. Even a precious stone used in an ornament is taken from the Earth. There are more than 120 known elements, which are used as a fundamental need of human beings. None of these elements is imported from any other planet. Geologists conduct studies that locate these useful materials that are important for us, plan the mines that produce them, and the methods used to remove the metals from the rocks. They do similar work to locate and produce oil, natural gas, and groundwater.

Geologists study Earth history

Climate change is the biggest concern of today’s scientists. Upcoming climatic changes can well be studied in the light of past climatic history. Many geologists are working to learn about the past climates of Earth and how they have changed over time. This historical geology news information is valuable to understand how our current climate is changing and what the results might be.

Branches of Geology

The field of geology is very vast. Studying the subject in a consolidated form is impossible for both learners and researchers. The subject is, therefore divided into many branches in order to create convenience. The most important branches of Geology are as under;

  • Physical Geology: Physical Geology deals with the work of natural processes which bring about changes upon the earth’s surface. For examples earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, land sliding, processes of erosion, rains and storms, etc.
  • Mineralogy: Minerology includes the study of mineral composition, structure, appearance, stability, occurrence, and associations.
  • Structural Geology: This branch of Geology concerns with structures of rocks present in the earth’s crust.
  • Petrology: The discussion of different kinds of rocks, their occurrence, composition, process through which they came into existence, and their structure is known as Petrology.
  • Geomorphology: Geomorphology focuses on the study of the physical features of the surface of the earth and their relation to its geological structures.
  • Stratigraphy: Stratigraphy is a science of the description, correlation, and classification of strata in sedimentary rocks including the interpretation of the depositional environment of those strata.
  • Paleontology: The science of fossils of ancient life forms and their evolution is known as Paleontology.
  • Historical Geology: The combined study of Stratigraphy and Paleontology is known as Historical Geology. In this subject, we study the history of sedimentary rocks and life forms buried under those rocks.
  • Economic Geology: Economic geology deals with the economic importance of minerals, ores, fossil fuels, and rock material.
  • Mining Geology: The application of geological studies to mining engineering is called Mining Geology.
  • Engineering Geology: It deals with the study of the application of geology to civil engineering. Because before building a bridge we need to study the geological features of that particular region. Constructing roads geological survey is a prerequisite.
  • Geochemistry: Geochemistry is the science that uses the tools and principles of chemistry to explain the mechanisms behind major geological systems such as the Earth’s crust and its oceans. Mainly chemical composition and chemical changes and the effect of chemical activities on Earth’s material is studied in this branch.
  • Geophysics: Geophysics is a subject of natural science concerned with the physical processes and physical properties of the Earth and its surrounding space environment, and the use of quantitative methods for their analysis.
  • Spectral Geology:  It is the measurement and analysis of portions of the electromagnetic spectrum to identify spectrally distinct and physically significant features of different rock types and surface materials, their mineralogy, and their alteration signatures.
  • Biogeology: In geology, we study the interaction between the biosphere (where life is present) and the lithosphere (rigid part of the earth). In biogeology, we study the dependence of life on the lithosphere and the impact of living organisms on the lithosphere.
  • Environmental Geology;  is the study of the interactions between humans and their geologic environment: rocks, water, air, soil, life. Environmental geology, like hydrogeology, is an applied science concerned with the practical application of the principles of geology in the solving of environmental problems. It is a multidisciplinary field that is closely related to engineering geology and, to a lesser extent, to environmental geography.
  • Geologic Modeling: Geologic modeling, geological modeling or geomodelling is the applied science of creating computerized representations of portions of the Earth’s crust based on geophysical and geological observations made on and below the Earth surface.
  • Hydrogeology: The distribution and movement of groundwater in the soil and rocks of the Earth’s crust is studied under the discipline of geology called Hydrology.
  • Marine Geology: Marine geology which is also called geological oceanography is the study of the history and structure of the ocean floor. It involves geophysical, geochemical, sedimentological, and paleontological investigations of the ocean floor and coastal zone. Marine geology has strong ties to geophysics and to physical oceanography.
  • Volcanology: Study of volcanic eruption, lava, magma, and related geological, geophysical, and geochemical phenomena. The term volcanology is derived from the Latin word Vulcan. Vulcan was the ancient Roman god of fire.
  • Petroleum Geology: Petroleum geology is the study of the origin, occurrence, movement, accumulation, and exploration of hydrocarbon fuels i.e crude oil, natural gas, and coal. It refers to the specific set of geological disciplines that are applied to the search for hydrocarbons.

Scope of Geology

Geology is of practical importance to mankind. It plays a very useful part in the search for coal, petroleum, minerals used as atomic fuels. It is directly concerned with the ore mineral, industrial minerals, and mining industry. The importance of geology has also been recognized in the field of engineering. Many engineering projects such as water supply, construction of dams, reservoirs, tunnels, bridges, etc require geological advice.

Geology as Career

Geology is a very vast field. Geological studies have a key role in meeting the basic needs and boosting the economies of all the countries of the world. A geologist is a scientist who studies the solid, liquid, and gaseous matter that constitutes the Earth and other terrestrial planets, as well as the processes that shape them. Geologists usually study geology, although backgrounds in physics, chemistry, biology, and other sciences are also useful. Fieldwork is an important component of geology, although many subdisciplines incorporate laboratory work.

Geologists work in the energy and mining sectors searching for natural resources such as petroleum, natural gas, precious and base metals. They are also at the forefront of preventing and mitigating damage from natural hazards and disasters such as earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, and landslides. Their studies are used to warn the general public of the occurrence of these events. Geologists are also important contributors to climate change discussions.

Professional geologists work for a wide range of government agencies, private firms, and non-profit and academic institutions. They are usually hired on a contract basis or hold permanent positions within private firms or official agencies (such as the United States Geologic Survey).

Local, state and national governments hire geologists to work on geological projects that are of interest to the public community. The investigation of a country’s natural resources is often a key role when working for government institutions; the work of the geologist in this field can be made publicly available to help the community make more informed decisions related to the exploitation of resources, management of the environment and the safety of critical infrastructure – all of which is expected to bring greater wellbeing to the country. This ‘wellbeing’ is often in the form of greater tax revenues from new or extended mining projects or through better infrastructure and/or natural disaster planning.

An engineering geologist is employed to investigate geologic hazards and geologic constraints for the planning, design, and construction of public and private engineering projects, forensic and post-mortem studies, and environmental impact analysis. Exploration geologists use all aspects of geology and geophysics to locate and study natural resources. In many countries or U.S. states without specialized environmental remediation licensure programs, the environmental remediation field is often dominated by professional geologists, particularly hydrogeologists, with professional concentrations in this aspect of the field. Petroleum and mining companies use mudloggers, and large-scale land developers use the skills of geologists and engineering geologists to help them locate oil and minerals, adapt to local features such as karst topography or earthquake risk, and comply with environmental regulations.

Geologists in academia usually hold an advanced degree in a specialized area within their geological discipline and are employed by universities.

 

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