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Geology:The science of the Earth. The study of the Earth's materials and of the processes that shape them is known as physical geology. Historical geology is the record of past events. See also Earth; Earth sciences. Geology is an interdisciplinary subject that overlaps and depends on other scientific disciplines. Physical geology is concerned primarily with the Earth's materials (minerals, rocks, soils, water, ice, and so forth) and the processes of their origin and alteration. Chemistry and physics are the two scientific disciplines most closely related—study of the chemistry of the Earth's materials is geochemistry, and study of the physical properties of the Earth is geophysics. See also Geochemistry; Geophysics; Structural geology. Historical geology is based on two complementary disciplines, stratigraphy and paleontology. Stratigraphy is the systematic study of stratified rocks through geologic time. The stratigraphic record reveals the sequence of events that have affected the Earth through eons of time. Absolute dates for the stratigraphic record are provided from geochemical studies of naturally occurring radioactive isotopes. Paleontology is the study of fossilized plants and animals with regard to their distribution in space and time. Paleontology is closely related to biology. The distinctions between physical and historical geology are more matters of convenience than substance, because it is increasingly clear, within the framework of plate tectonics, that all aspects of geology are interrelated. See also Paleontology; Plate tectonics; Stratigraphy. Mineralogy concerns the study of natural inorganic substances (minerals), the basic building blocks of rocks. About 3600 minerals have been identified, but fewer than 50 are common constituents in the types of rocks that are abundant in the Earth. The most common minerals in the crust are feldspars, quartz, micas, amphiboles, pyroxenes, olivine, and calcite. Modern laboratories have effective devices for resolving the mineral content of rock materials; even the ultramicroscopic particles in clays are clearly defined under the electron microscope. See also Crystal structure; Electron microscope; Mineral; Mineralogy. Petrology is the study of rocks, their physical and chemical properties, and their modes of origin. The primary families are igneous rocks, which have solidified from molten matter (magma); sedimentary rocks, made of fragments derived by weathering of preexisting rocks, of chemical precipitates from sea or lake water, and of organic remains; and metamorphic rocks derived from igneous or sedimentary rocks under conditions that brought about changes in mineral composition, texture, and internal structure (fabric). The secondary rock families are pyroclastic rocks, which are partly igneous and partly sedimentary rocks because they are composed largely or entirely of fragments of igneous matter erupted explosively from a volcano; diagenetic rocks are transitional between sedimentary and metamorphic rocks because their textures or compositions were affected by lowtemperature, postsedimentation processes below conditions of metamorphism; migmatites are transitional between metamorphic and igneous rocks because they form when metamorphic rocks are raised to temperatures and pressures so that small localized fractions of the rock start to melt but the melting is insufficient for a large body of magma to develop. See also Petrography; Petrology; Rock. A general knowledge of geology has many practical applications, and large numbers of geologists receive special training for service in solving problems met in the mining of metals and nonmetals, in discovering and producing petroleum and natural gas, and in engineering projects of many kinds. Human use of materials has become so great that waste materials are influencing natural geological

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processes. As a result, a new discipline, environmental geology, is starting to emerge. geology :- Scientific study of the Earth, including its composition, structure, physical properties, and history. Geology is commonly divided into subdisciplines concerned with the chemical makeup of the Earth, including the study of minerals (mineralogy) and rocks (petrology); the structure of the Earth (structural geology) and volcanic phenomena (volcanology); landforms and the processes that produce them (geomorphology and glaciology); geologic history, including the study of fossils (paleontology), the development of sedimentary strata (stratigraphy), and the evolution of planetary bodies and their satellites (astrogeology); and economic geology and its various branches, such as mining geology and petroleum geology. Some major fields closely allied to geology are geodesy, geophysics, and geochemistry. See also environmental geology. geology, science of the earth's history, composition, and structure, and the associated processes. It draws upon chemistry, biology, physics, astronomy, and mathematics (notably statistics) for support of its formulations. Branches of Geology Geology is divided into several fields, which can be grouped under the major headings of physical and historical geology. Physical Geology Physical geology includes mineralogy, the study of the chemical composition and structure of minerals; petrology, the study of the composition and origin of rocks; geomorphology, the study of the origin of landforms and their modification by dynamic processes; geochemistry, the study of the chemical composition of earth materials and the chemical changes that occur within the earth and on its surface; geophysics, the study of the behavior of rock materials in response to stresses and according to the principles of physics; sedimentology, the science of the erosion and deposition of rock particles by wind, water, or ice; structural geology, the study of the forces that deform the earth's rocks and the description and mapping of deformed rock bodies; economic geology, the study of the exploration and recovery of natural resources, such as ores and petroleum; and engineering geology, the study of the interactions of the earth's crust with human-made structures such as tunnels, mines, dams, bridges, and building foundations. Historical Geology Historical geology deals with the historical development of the earth from the study of its rocks. They are analyzed to determine their structure, composition, and interrelationships and are examined for remains of past life. Historical geology includes paleontology, the systematic study of past life forms; stratigraphy, of layered rocks and their interrelationships; paleogeography, of the locations of ancient land masses and their boundaries; and geologic mapping, the superimposing of geologic information upon existing topographic maps. Historical geologists divide all time since the formation of the earliest known rocks (c.4 billion years ago) into four major divisions—the Precambrian, Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic eras. Each, except the Cenozoic, ended with profound changes in the disposition of the earth's continents and

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mountains and was characterized by the emergence of new forms of life (see geologic timescale). Broad cyclical patterns, which run through all historical geology, include a period of mountain and continent building followed by one of erosion and, in turn, by a new period of elevation. Evolution of Geology Early Geologic Studies Observations on earth structure and processes were made by a number of the ancients, including Herodotus, Aristotle, Lucretius, Strabo, and Seneca. Their individual efforts in the natural history of the earth, however, provided no sustained progress. Their major contribution is that they attributed the phenomena they observed to natural and not supernatural causes. Many of the ideas expressed by these men were not to resurface until the Renaissance. Later Leonardo da Vinci correctly speculated on the nature of fossils as remains of ancient organisms and on the role that rivers play in the erosion of land. Agricola made a systematic study of ore deposits in the early 16th cent. Robert Hooke and Nicolaus Steno both made penetrating observations on the nature of fossils and sediments. Evolution of Modern Geology Modern geology began in the 18th cent. when field studies by the French mineralogist J. E. Guettard and others proved more fruitful than speculation. The German geologist Abraham Gottlob Werner, in spite of the many errors of his specific doctrines and the diversion of much of his energy into a fruitless controversy (in which he maintained that the origin of all rocks was aqueous), performed a great service for the science by demonstrating the chronological succession of rocks. In 1795 the Scottish geologist James Hutton laid the theoretical foundation for much of the modern science with his doctrine of uniformitarianism, first popularized by the British geologist John Playfair. Largely through the work of Sir Charles Lyell, this doctrine replaced the opposing one of catastrophism. Geology in the 19th cent. was influenced also by the work of Charles Darwin and enriched by the researches of the Swiss-American Louis Agassiz. In the 20th cent. geology has advanced at an ever-increasing pace. The unraveling of the mystery of atomic structure and the discovery of radioactivity allowed profound advances in many phases of geologic research. Important discoveries were made during the International Geophysical Year (1957–58), when scientists from 67 nations joined forces in investigating problems in all branches of geology. The systematic survey of the floors of the earth's oceans brought radical changes in concepts of crustal evolution (see seafloor spreading; plate tectonics). As a result of numerous flyby spacecraft, geological studies have been extended to include remote sensing of other planets and satellites in the solar system and the moon. Laboratory analysis of rock samples brought back from the moon have provided insight into the early history of near-earth space. On-site analyses of Martian soil samples and photographic mapping of its surface have given clues about its composition and geologic history, including the possibility that Mars once had enough water to form oceans. Photographs of the many active volcanoes on Jupiter's moon Io have provided clues about earth's early volcanic activity. Geological studies also have been furthered by orbiting laboratories, such as the six launched between 1964 and 1969 in the Orbiting Geophysical Observatory (OGO) series and the Polar Orbiting Geomagnetic Survey (POGS) satellite launched in 1990; remote-imaging spacecraft, such as the U.S. Landsat program (Landsat 7, launched in 1999, was the most recent) and French SPOT series (SPOT 5, launched in 2002, was the most recent in the

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program); and geological studies on space shuttle missions.

Geology:The science of the earth's crust -- to which, doubtless, will be added that of its interior whenever a man shall come up garrulous out of a well. The geological formations of the globe already noted are catalogued thus: The Primary, or lower one, consists of rocks, bones or mired mules, gas-pipes, miners' tools, antique statues minus the nose, Spanish doubloons and ancestors. The Secondary is largely made up of red worms and moles. The Tertiary comprises railway tracks, patent pavements, grass, snakes, mouldy boots, beer bottles, tomato cans, intoxicated citizens, garbage, anarchists, snap-dogs and fools.

Geology (from Greek γη- (ge-, "the earth") and λογος (logos, "word", "reason")) is the science and study of the solid matter of a celestial body, its composition, structure, physical properties, history and the processes that shape it. It is one of the Earth sciences. Geologists have helped establish the age of the Earth at about 4.6 billion (4.6x109) years, and have determined that the Earth's lithosphere, which includes the crust, is fragmented into tectonic plates that move over a rheic upper mantle (asthenosphere) via processes that are collectively referred to as plate tectonics. Geologists help locate and manage the earth's natural resources, such as petroleum and coal, as well as metals such as iron, copper, and uranium. Additional economic interests include gemstones and many minerals such as asbestos, perlite, mica, phosphates, zeolites, clay, pumice, quartz, and silica, as well as elements such as sulphur, chlorine, and helium. Astrogeology refers to the application of geologic principles to other bodies of the solar system. However, specialised terms such as selenology (studies of the Moon), areology (of Mars), etc., are also in use. The word "geology" was first used by Jean-André Deluc in the year 1778 and introduced as a fixed term by Horace-Bénédict de Saussure in the year 1779. An older meaning of the word was first used by Richard de Bury. He used it to distinguish between earthly and theological jurisprudence.

History
In China, the polymath Shen Kua (1031 - 1095) formulated a hypothesis for the process of land formation: based on his observation of fossil shells in a geological stratum in a mountain hundreds of miles from the ocean, he inferred that the land was formed by erosion of the mountains and by deposition of silt. The work Peri lithon (On Stones) by Theophrastus (372 - 287 BC), a student of Aristotle, remained authoritative for millennia. Its interpretation of fossils was not overturned until after the Scientific Revolution. It was translated into Latin and the other languages of Europe such as French. Georg Agricola (1494-1555)), a physician, wrote the first systematic treatise about mining and smelting works, De re metallica libri XII, with an appendix Buch von den Lebewesen unter Tage

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(Book of the Creatures Beneath the Earth). He covered subjects like wind energy, hydrodynamic power, melting cookers, transport of ores, extraction of soda, sulfur and alum, and administrative issues. The book was published in 1556. Nicolaus Steno (1638-1686) is credited with the law of superposition, the principle of original horizontality, and the principle of lateral continuity: three defining principles of stratigraphy. By the 1700s Jean-Etienne Guettard and Nicolas Desmarest hiked central France and recorded their observations on geological maps; Guettard recorded the first observation of the volcanic origins of this part of France. William Smith (1769-1839) drew some of the first geological maps and began the process of ordering rock strata (layers) by examining the fossils contained in them. James Hutton is often viewed as the first modern geologist. In 1785 he presented a paper entitled Theory of the Earth to the Royal Society of Edinburgh. In his paper, he explained his theory that the Earth must be much older than had previously been supposed in order to allow enough time for mountains to be eroded and for sediment to form new rocks at the bottom of the sea, which in turn were raised up to become dry land. Hutton published a two-volume version of his ideas in 1795 (Vol. 1, Vol. 2).

The geologist, 19th century painting by Carl Spitzweg. Followers of Hutton were known as Plutonists because they believed that some rocks were formed by vulcanism which is the deposition of lava from volcanoes, as opposed to the Neptunists, who believed that all rocks had settled out of a large ocean whose level gradually dropped over time. In 1811 Georges Cuvier and Alexandre Brongniart published their explanation of the antiquity of the Earth, inspired by Cuvier's discovery of fossil elephant bones in Paris. To prove this, they formulated the principle of stratigraphic succession of the layers of the earth. They were independently anticipated by William Smith's stratigraphic studies on England and Scotland. Sir Charles Lyell first published his famous book, Principles of Geology, in 1830 and continued to publish new revisions until he died in 1875. He successfully promoted the doctrine of uniformitarianism. This theory states that slow geological processes have occurred throughout the

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Earth's history and are still occurring today. In contrast, catastrophism is the theory that Earth's features formed in single, catastrophic events and remained unchanged thereafter. Though Hutton believed in uniformitarianism, the idea was not widely accepted at the time.

Plate tectonics - seafloor spreading and continental drift illustrated on relief globe of the Field Museum By 1827 Charles Lyell's Principles of Geology reiterated Hutton's uniformitarianism, which influenced the thought of Charles Darwin. 19th Century geology revolved around the question of the Earth's exact age. Estimates varied from a few 100,000 to billions of years. The most significant advance in 20th century geology has been the development of the theory of plate tectonics in the 1960s. Plate tectonic theory arose out of two separate geological observations: seafloor spreading and continental drift. The theory revolutionised the Earth sciences. The theory of continental drift was proposed by Alfred Wegener in 1912 and by Arthur Holmes, but wasn't broadly accepted until the 1960s when the theory of plate tectonics was developed.

Important principles of geology
There are a number of important principles in geology. Many of these involve the ability to provide the relative ages of strata or the manner in which they were formed. The Principle of Intrusive Relationships concerns crosscutting intrusions. In geology, when an igneous intrusion cuts across a formation of sedimentary rock, it can be determined that the igneous intrusion is younger than the sedimentary rock. There are a number of different types of intrusions, including stocks, laccoliths, batholiths, sills and dikes. The Principle of Cross-cutting Relationships pertains to the formation of faults and the age of the sequences through which they cut. Faults are younger than the rocks they cut; accordingly, if a fault is found that penetrates some formations but not those on top of it, then the formations that were cut are older than the fault, and the ones that are not cut must be younger than the fault. Finding the key bed in these situations may help determine whether the fault is a normal fault or a thrust fault. The Principle of Inclusions and Components states that, with sedimentary rocks, if inclusions (or clasts) are found in a formation, then the inclusions must be older than the formation that contains them. For example, in sedimentary rocks, it is common for gravel from an older formation to be ripped up and included in a newer layer. A similar situation with igneous rocks occurs when xenoliths are found. These foreign bodies are picked up as magma or lava flows, and are

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incorporated, later to cool in the matrix. As a result, xenoliths are older than the rock which contains them. The Principle of Uniformitarianism states that the geologic processes observed in operation that modify the Earth's crust at present have worked in much the same way over geologic time. A fundamental principle of geology advanced by the 18th century Scottish physician and geologist James Hutton, is that "The Present is the Key to the Past." In Hutton's words: "the past history of our globe must be explained by what can be seen to be happening now." The Principle of Original Horizontality states that the deposition of sediments occurs as essentially horizontal beds. Observation of modern marine and nonmarine sediments in a wide variety of environments supports this generalisation (although cross-bedding is inclined, the overall orientation of cross-bedded units is horizontal). The Principle of Superposition states that a sedimentary rock layer in a tectonically undisturbed sequence is younger than the one beneath it and older than the one above it. Logically a younger layer cannot slip beneath a layer previously deposited. This principle allows sedimentary layers to be viewed as a form of vertical time line, a partial or complete record of the time elapsed from deposition of the lowest layer to deposition of the highest bed. The Principle of Faunal Succession is based on the appearance of fossils in sedimentary rocks. As organisms exist at the same time period throughout the world, their presence or (sometimes) absence may be used to provide a relative age of the formations in which they are found. Based on principles laid out by William Smith almost a hundred years before the publication of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, the principles of succession were developed independently of evolutionary thought. The principle becomes quite complex, however, given the uncertainties of fossilisation, the localisation of fossil types due to lateral changes in habitat (facies change in sedimentary strata), and that not all fossils may be found globally at the same time.

Fields or related disciplines

An illustrated depiction of a syncline and anticline commonly studied in Structural geology and Geomorphology.
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Earth science Economic geology

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Mining geology Petroleum geology Engineering geology Environmental geology Geoarchaeology Geochemistry  Biogeochemistry  Isotope geochemistry Geochronology Geodetics Geomicrobiology Geomorphology Geophysics Glaciology Historical geology Hydrogeology or geohydrology Mineralogy Oceanography  Marine geology Paleoclimatology Paleontology  Micropaleontology  Palynology Petroleum Geology Petrology Petrophysics
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Oceanic-continental convergence resulting in subduction and volcanic arcs illustrates one effect of plate techtonics.
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Plate tectonics Sedimentology Seismology Soil science  Pedology (soil study) Speleology Stratigraphy  Biostratigraphy Structural geology

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Volcanology

Regional geology
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Geology of the Alps Geology of the Appalachians Geology of the Himalaya

By Nations

Geology of Australia  Geology of the Australian Capital Territory  Geology of Victoria  Geology of the Yilgarn Craton

Geology of Europe  Geology of the Netherlands  Geology of Scotland  Geology of the United Kingdom  Geology of Dorset  Geology of Hampshire  Geology of Hertfordshire  Geology of Shropshire  Geology of Lizard, Cornwall Geology of the Falkland Islands Geology of India  Geology of Sikkim Geology of Japan Geology of Nigeria

Geology of the United States of America  Geology of California  Geology of Connecticut  Geology of Texas  Geology of the Bryce Canyon area(Utah)  Geology of the Canyonlands area (Utah)  Geology of the Capitol Reef area (Utah)  Geology of the Death Valley area (California)  Geology of the Grand Canyon area (Arizona)

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Geology of the Grand Teton area (Wyoming) Geology of the Lassen area (California) Geology of Mount Adams (Washington) Geology of Mount Shasta (California) Geology of the Yosemite area (California) Geology of the Zion and Kolob canyons area (Utah) Glacial geology of the Genesee River (New York, Pennsylvania)

Planetary geology

Surface of Mars as photographed by the Viking 2 lander December 9, 1977.
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Geology of Mercury Geology of Venus Geology of the Moon Geology of Mars Geology of Jupiter Geology of Saturn Geology of Uranus Geology of Neptune Geology of Pluto

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