Dedicated to the teaching of Earth Sciences


Prof. Sean Tvelia Suffolk County Community College


The Science of Geology

Geology is typically broken up into two major fields of study: physical geology, historical Geology. Physical Geology examines the materials composing Earth and seeks to understand the processes that operate beneath the surface; think of it as the how and why of Geology. Historical geology, on the other hand, seeks to understand the origin of Earth and its development through time; it is the who, what, where, and when of the story of Earth--and is also the basis of this class

But why study geology at all? After all, most of the major problems and issues faced by our society aren't geological in nature or are they? Obviously natural hazards such as earthquakes or volcanoes are geologic but what about some of the more common aspects of day to day living, like how much will gas cost today? Of course if this was an economics course this question would most likely lead to a discussion of supply vs demand but since this is geology what we focus on is the supply.

Whether we like it or not the abundance and location of our natural resources has everything to do with geology: how our world was shaped millions of years ago, the type of environments that existed on the continents, and even the organisms that were alive control more of our modern life than you can imagine. Whether it be problems concerning world population and agriculture, environmental issues or even engineering, it all comes down to geology —but to understand these issues we have to understand the Earth.

Chapter Contents:

1.0: The Science of Geology

1.1: Geology Through Time

1.2: The Scientific Method

1.3: The Big Bang

1.4: The Solar System

1.5: The Earth

1.6: The Earth System