What is geology?

We explain what geology is, its different branches and how it is studied. In addition, its relationship with biology and geography.

  1. What is geology?

Geology is the natural science dedicated to the study of planet Earth . Its objective is to understand the physical composition and internal and external structure of our planet, as well as the different processes and dynamics that have allowed its evolution from its formation to our times. Its name comes from the Greek Geo , “Earth”, and logos , “word or knowledge.”

Geology is often referred to in the plural, that is, as geological sciences, since it encompasses specialized branches in a single aspect of the Earth , such as its climate, its mineral exploration, its tectonic dynamics, and a long etcetera. It can even be applied, by extension, to other stars  in the Solar System .

On the one hand, geology includes theoretical knowledge, such as the approach to the formation of planet Earth. On the other hand, it also offers concrete applications in specific fields of human activity, such as geotechnics and civil engineering, and even in the understanding and prevention of large-scale terrestrial phenomena, such as earthquakes.

  1. Branches of geology

geology caves caving
Caving studies how the caves were formed.

Geology comprises the following main branches, among many others not mentioned:

  • Geophysics . As the name implies, it implies the application of knowledge and perspectives of physics for the study of the Earth. In this way, he is interested in the fundamental dynamics that apply to the present and past life of the planet, such as reflection and refraction, gravity , electromagnetism , radioactivity, etc. In turn, it is divided into internal geophysics and external geophysics, depending on how deep in the body of the planet their interests are located.
  • Tectonics . He is interested in the deep structures of the earth’s crust , where rocks originate and deform the planet’s surface, allowing among other things the movement of the continents according to their tectonic plates, capable of driving orogenesis and / or causing earthquakes.
  • Geochemistry . Just as geophysics does with physics, geochemistry uses the knowledge and tools of chemistry for the material understanding of the Earth, that is, to know how it is made and of what, and even being able to project this knowledge to the case of other planets and stars of space. He is interested in the transformation of rocks and the reactions that occur between the subsoil materials.
  • Stratigraphy . This branch of geology interprets, orders and comprises the remains of igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks, as well as the succession of horizontal layers that make up the soil , and which are known as strata .
  • Geology of the oil . One of the most profitable applications of geology, has to do with all aspects related to oil: the formation of its deposits, its location, the estimation of its reserves and, also, its exploration and extraction.
  • Hydrology . As its name suggests, it is interested in water , but specifically in that deposited under the earth’s surface (groundwater), and its interaction with soils, rocks, minerals and wetlands, as well as its different forms of presentation ( gas, liquid and solid ) and the processes that govern its deposits and underground displacements.
  • Meteorology . Study atmospheric phenomena and try to predict their development. For this, it takes into account factors such as pressure, temperature , humidity, wind, etc.
  • Spelunking . The branch that studies the formation and morphology of the caves and other natural cavities in the subsoil, trying to explore them, map them and gather samples that provide significant information regarding the ecosystems of that region. Their procedures are often exercised recreationally, and should be called speleism .
  • Paleontology . A branch of geology and a natural science in itself, is dedicated to the study of past life on our planet, through fossil evidence found in the subsoil. It is an extremely famous discipline because of the discovery of dinosaurs and Paleozoic life , although it is also dedicated to understanding microbial and Paleobotanical life.
  • Seismology . The science that studies tremors, volcanoes and earthquakes, as well as the tectonic displacements that produce them. It also provides information on the propagation of seismic waves, on the prevention of seismic damage and education for earthquakes.
  1. Importance of geology

Geology is a wide and diverse science . It has multiple applications, which in cases can save lives , as in civil engineering, seismology or other specialties. On the other hand, it has multiple economically profitable uses, such as petroleum sciences, mineralogy and many others.

In addition, it provides enormous amounts of valuable information regarding the nature of our own planet . Geology is a source of information about the past and present of the Earth, and in that sense it can help us to extrapolate their knowledge to other planets, or even to foresee the future of ours.

  1. Biology and geology

geology biology paleontology dinosaur fossil
Biology and geology study prehistoric beings from different points of view.

The biology and geology have many points of agreement . In the first place, they join in paleontology to study fantastic prehistoric beings , of which fossils hardly remain underground.

In addition, together they study the complex relationships between life and inorganic elements . They can explain how organisms modify, transport, fix or alter them at their convenience, leaving a chemical mark that geologists are able to recognize, even millions of years later.

Similarly, the geological changes of the Earth have their impact on the course of life , as is evident in the chaos of evolution : consider how the species that were separated from others due to the separation of their habitat from plate tectonics, take a different evolutionary course and end up being totally different species.

  1. Geography and geology

Although similar are written, geography and geology are totally different fields of study, although close to each other. The geographer is dedicated to the study of planet Earth as it is today , that is, not only to its political or human division, but also to the distribution of its mineral resources or natural accidents, among other things.

Instead, as we have said, the geologist mainly studies the Earth’s processes that led from his formation to the panorama that the geographer studies, that is, he is interested in the past and present of the planet. However, both disciplines nurture each other to enrich their respective fields of knowledge.

  1. Geology career

Geology is a university degree , that is, a bachelor’s degree. It usually takes five (5) years to study. Among its components are subjects borrowed from other exact sciences , such as physics, chemistry or biology, in addition to other social science subjects , such as geography, history or economics.

This career provides its professionals with naturalistic training and technical preparation . On the one hand, so that they can understand the complex processes of the terrestrial nature , and on the other hand, to be able to quantify, measure and take advantage of their resources.

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