Introduction to Geology, geological material and geological process

Geology is a science, related to the scientific study of the earth. This scientific discipline, geology is relatively young because it has been around for just over 200 years. In geology we study everything that is found in the earth, geological materials and the process they go through called geological process.

Some of the geological materials are:

  • Rocks, soil
  • Minerals
  • Lava, magma
  • Water, ice
  • Petroleum products, coal, natural gas
  • Iron, gold, diamond (ores)

Some of the geological process examples are:

  • Mountain building
  • River flooding, drought
  • Volcanic eruptions
  • Earthquakes
  • Ore deposits
  • Oil and natural gas formations
  • Erosion, Avalanches and landslides
  • Glacier melting, water evaporation and precipitation
  • GLOF (Glacier Lake Outburst Flood)
  • Groundwater flow and hot springs

The science of earth can broadly be divided into physical geology and historical geology.

Physical geology is the process that operate at or beneath the surface of the earth. This process involves the study of various earthly processes. Some examples of physical geology are volcanic eruption, earthquakes, mountain building, and the formation of rocks and minerals.

Historical geology is the study of past events and their predictions. Historical geology involves in finding the events that had led to the formation of certain type of geological formations. Studies to find why dinosaurs died out or, when the fist trees appeared on the earth’s surface, when was Mt. Everest under the sea, are some of the examples of historical geological studies. Historical geology helps us in understanding the present day environment in the contest of the historical data.

Geological experts

A person who is an expert or has studied geology is a geologist. Within geology there are various experts in various geological fields. Geologists specialized in a certain aspect of geology are given different names. These specialists need not be geologist, but they have studied one aspect of geology. Some common names are:

  • Structural Geologist – Study the rocks and their process
  • Economic Geologist – Study the valuable geological deposits for mining.
  • Petroleum Geologist – These are economic geologists working on the exploration of petroleum products.
  • Volcanologist – Specialized on the study of volcanoes and volcanic eruptions.
  • Seismologist – Specialized on earthquakes
  • Mineralogist – Specialized in rocks and minerals.
  • Palaeontologist – Palaeontologist study the fossils and the history of life in earth.
  • Glaciologist – Specializes in glaciers


Q 1.1  – A company is investigating the possibility of finding natural gas in an area. What type of geologist it should hire for the work? 

(please give answer in the comment area)

Q 1.2  – Is petroleum exploration a part of physical geology or the historical geology? Explain why?

(please give answer in the comment area)


Photo – A rock outcrop seen at Banff, Canada

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