Physical geology is the science concerned with examining the true properties of Earth and analyzing it in a way that allows scientists to become more familiar with the planet. Unlike other geological studies, physical geology focuses solely on the materials Earth is made of and the process that bring these materials into fruition.
Physical geology is a foundational science for learning the way that Earth works in accordance with different environmental factors. Physical geologists study Earth by looking at the processes by which the materials function in different environments within the planet. Rocks, minerals, oceans, plates and tectonics are often looked at in this branch of geology. These rocks are identified and listed in order of their importance to the functioning of the planet.
Students of physical geology learn about how the Earth's plates move together to form mountains, valleys and even oceans. Physical geology provides students with an introduction to the way that the plates move, contract and work together to create masses of land. It also helps students better understand the reasons behind natural disasters, such as earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis. Numerous government agencies employ physical geologists, including the U.S. Geological Survey, the Bureau of Land Management, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy.Learn More
In geology, polymorphs occur when two compounds of the same composition have different crystalline structures. An example of a polymorph is quartz that is subjected to high temperatures, transforming to trydimite and then crystobalite. Trydimite and crystobalite are considered polymorphs of quartz.Full Answer >
The study of geology is important for three main reasons: it reveals the deep history of the Earth, informs other sciences, and it is useful for economic purposes. Before geology was a science, the age and development of the Earth were mysterious, and prospecting for minerals was a hit-and-miss business.Full Answer >
In geology, transgression is the process of a coastline migrating inland due to a rising sea level. Regression, in contrast, occurs when a coastline moves oceanward as a sea level falls.Full Answer >
Exfoliation geology is a type of rock weathering where the rock's layers peel off in whole sheets instead of grain by grain. Large-scale exfoliation occurs due to the mechanics of gravity on a curved surface, while small-scale exfoliation is due to chemical weathering.Full Answer >