Geologists estimate that our planet Earth must be about 4.5 billion years old. During this long time the planet has not remained static, but has been changing in practically all the aspects that make it up. Define geology and its branches
Geology is the science that studies, mainly, the Earth but, being such a multifaceted planet, it is not possible to approach its study from a single perspective and, for this reason, geology has a lot of different branches.
Next we are going to see which are the main branches of geology and we will discover what are its main objects of study.
The branches of Geology, summarized and explained
Geology is, taking its definition in the dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy, the science that is responsible for studying the history of our planet, as well as the nature, formation, evolution and current disposition of the materials that compose it . This definition is not entirely accurate, since geology also has branches that focus on other planets, asteroids, natural satellites and other celestial bodies, but as an introduction to what geological science is, it is quite defining.
Earth is a very multifaceted planet. It is not simply a rock mass that travels through the universe aimlessly, but an important mixture of all kinds of minerals, fluids and physical phenomena that condition its appearance, how it interacts with the living beings that inhabit it and, also, how it is It manifests violently in the form of volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis and creating landforms of all kinds.
Because of this, it is impossible to approach the Earth from a single geological perspective . Virtually any aspect of the blue planet that you want to study requires a specific study, a branch of geology that uses a different method to obtain the maximum degree of information. For this reason geology is subdivided into many branches, we could well say almost infinite. Next we will see the most remarkable ones. Define geology and its branches
Geophysics is the branch of geology that studies the internal and external structure of the Earth from a physical perspective . It focuses on the physical processes that modify or condition our planet, such as gravity, electromagnetic fields and radioactive phenomena.
Geochemistry is the branch that studies the chemical composition of our planet to explain the mechanisms behind the main geological systems of the earth’s crust and the oceans . He is particularly interested in how chemicals and substances are distributed throughout the layers of the earth and how this influences their properties.
Paleontology could be considered an independent branch on its own , although it is also included within the vast field of geology. This science aims to study the Earth’s past through the study of fossil remains, interpreting how extinct life forms should live.
Hydrogeology is the branch of applied geology that studies the formation processes of groundwater and how these are related to those of the surface.
Meteorology is a branch of geology that studies and predicts atmospheric phenomena . For this it uses different methods and data studying phenomena such as wind, temperature, pressure and humidity, among others. It is also its object of study to determine the changes in the structure and composition of the surface layers of the earth’s crust. Define geology and its branches
Speleology is responsible for the morphological, structural and evolutionary study of the caves and natural cavities of our planet . Within this discipline there is also the task of mapping the interiors of the caves, their tunnels and corridors, in addition to specifying what material they are made of.
Also called the geology of petroleum, petrology is the branch that is dedicated to investigating where to obtain this fossil fuel . Its existence is totally conditioned by the high value that has been given to oil in the last hundred years, being basically like black gold. Petrology aims to estimate where large underground oil stores are located and, if you are lucky enough to find it, design the best way to extract it based on the conditions of the terrain.
8. Economic geology
Economic geology is closely related to the geology of petroleum as both are responsible for finding geological deposits where there are valuable materials. In the case of economic geology, it is interested in minerals and metals, such as diamonds, rubies, silver, gold and platinum, as well as in substances of high economic value , including oil and natural gas.
Crystallography, as its name suggests, is the branch of geology that studies crystals. These types of minerals are very interesting from a geological and physical perspective , since despite being solid, their molecular structure resembles that of a liquid, although they do not flow at room temperature due to their high degree of organization.
10. External geology
External geology is the branch of geology that studies only the processes that take place on the surface of the planet, that is, the earth’s crust . This branch is not isolated from the rest of geological disciplines, since it relies on knowledge from seismology, plate tectonics, geomorphology, sedimentology, volcanology … Define geology and its branches
11. Internal geology
Internal geology studies exclusively the physical and chemical processes that occur under the earth’s crust . As with external geology, it is based on many other geological disciplines and its main objective is to analyze the nature of the inner layers of the Earth, both the mantle and the Earth’s core.
Stratigraphy is responsible for studying the formation processes of the stratum, which is each of the layers that make up the earth’s surface . These strata are different sediment levels that have settled during the geological history of our planet, being able to find magmatic, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks.
13. Plate tectonics
Plate tectonics is responsible for studying the processes behind the formation and movement of tectonic plates . These plates are large pieces of the earth’s crust that fit together like a puzzle and, when they touch, cause earthquakes and tsunamis. Through plate tectonics it is possible to know the movements of the continents, predict earthquakes and know how these plates will change over the years.
14. Structural geology
Structural geology is responsible for studying the earth’s crust . It is related to plate tectonics and seismology, but in this particular case it is in charge of analyzing the earth’s surface from a more global perspective, also studying sediments, rocks and orogeny in general. Define geology and its branches
Closely related to plate tectonics, seismology is the branch that is responsible for studying and, especially, predicting earthquakes and tidal waves . These phenomena originate from friction between tectonic plates which, if studied, allows us to know how they will rub and in which regions of the continents there is a greater risk of an earthquake occurring.
16. Historical geology
Historical geology focuses on all the processes of change and transformation that planet Earth has gone through since it was formed, some 4.5 billion years ago, until now. This science allows us to know the evolution of our planet, the change in its tectonic plates, the creation and disappearance of continents and how this is observable through the sediments of the earth’s crust and the current forms of land masses.
Geochronology is the branch that applies different physical and chemical methods to estimate the age of rocks . This discipline is closely related to historical geology and is, in fact, the one that allows you to determine more or less how old both the main current land masses and our planet as a whole are. Define geology and its branches
Volcanology is in charge of studying volcanoes. It encompasses both the analysis of its formation and the prediction of its eruptions and behavior. It is also the object of study of this discipline to analyze the behavior and properties of magma and how this substance shapes the earth’s surface.
Gemology is responsible for the study of precious stones and is closely related to economic geology . However, within this branch there is more interest in studying the formation processes and physical characteristics of diamonds, rubies, sapphires or other minerals rather than in their location and economic valuation.
Astrogeology is basically geology applied to the study of non-Earth bodies . It is responsible for the study of the formation and physical properties of other planets and celestial bodies of a rocky nature such as asteroids, natural satellites, meteorites …
Sedimentology is the branch that aims to study solid particles, such as rocks, metals and different types of earth, which are transported along the earth’s surface through natural phenomena such as wind and river currents and seas . Sediments are deposited in various regions, forming different strata and sedimentary rocks. Define geology and its branches
22. Regional geology
Regional geology is a branch of geology, specifically structural geology, which although it studies the earth’s crust like many other branches of general geology itself, it focuses on the particularities of specific regions. Study how is the composition, properties and origin of a land mass such as a continent, an island, a peninsula …
Geomorphology studies the land relief , having a lot to do with plate tectonics since it studies how these large pieces of the earth’s crust are, as well as how they have influenced the formation of the landscape, creating mountains, valleys and other geographical features that make the somewhat rough surface, not flat. Geomorphology not only focuses on land masses, but also studies underwater geographical features, such as the Mariana Trench.
Mineralogy studies the composition, diversity and formation of the minerals that make up the earth’s surface.
Climatology is a branch of geology that allows us to determine how the climates of our planet are formed and evolve. This discipline especially analyzes the impact of the physical, chemical and geological properties of the region in which each of the terrestrial climates is found.
Geothermal studies the thermal properties of the minerals that make up our planet, in addition to the processes that occur under the earth’s crust such as magma fluid. This science has a special interest in the internal temperature of the Earth and its application is to take advantage of that heat for domestic and industrial purposes. Define geology and its branches
In addition to studying how living beings interact with the geology of our planet, it studies how both influence each other, such as the roots of plants that change rocks turning them into earth or how substances such as sulfur make it difficult for certain species to exist. animals.
Geomagnetism is the branch that is responsible for studying the Earth’s magnetic field . Try to understand how it arose and has remained, what phenomena are conditioned by it (eg, Northern Lights), how the magnetic pole shift occurs and what factors can destabilize it.
Geodynamics studies how different physical phenomena, such as the movement of tectonic plates, gravity, electromagnetism, volcanic eruptions, wind or rain, modify the structure and composition of the earth’s crust over time .
Gravimetry studies how the mineral composition of the Earth , both external and internal, has influenced its gravity. Define geology and its branches