earth science and its branches

geology

Geology is the study of the solid Earth. Geologists study how rocks and minerals form. The way mountains rise up is part of geology. The way mountains erode away is another part. Geologists also study fossils and Earths history. There are many other branches of geology. There is so much to know about our home planet that most geologists become specialists in one area. For example, a mineralogist studies minerals, as seen in (Figure 1.11). Some volcanologists brave molten lava to study volcanoes. Seismologists monitor earthquakes worldwide to help protect people and property from harm (Figure 1.11). Paleontologists are interested in fossils and how ancient organisms lived. Scientists who compare the geology of other planets to Earth are planetary geologists. Some geologists study the Moon. Others look for petroleum. Still others specialize in studying soil. Some geologists can tell how old rocks are and determine how different rock layers formed. There is probably an expert in almost anything you can think of related to Earth! Geologists might study rivers and lakes, the underground water found between soil and rock particles, or even water that is frozen in glaciers. Earth scientists also need geographers who explore the features of Earths surface and work with cartographers, who make maps. Studying the layers of rock beneath the surface helps us to understand the history of planet Earth (Figure 1.12).

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oceanography

Oceanography is the study of the oceans. The word oceanology might be more accurate, since ology is the study of. Graph is to write and refers to map making. But mapping the oceans is how oceanography started. More than 70% of Earths surface is covered with water. Almost all of that water is in the oceans. Scientists have visited the deepest parts of the ocean in submarines. Remote vehicles go where humans cant. Yet much of the ocean remains unexplored. Some people call the ocean the last frontier. Humans have had a big impact on the oceans. Populations of fish and other marine species have been overfished. Contaminants are polluting the waters. Global warming is melting the thick ice caps and warming the water. Warmer water expands and, along with water from the melting ice caps, causes sea levels to rise. There are many branches of oceanography. Physical oceanography is the study of water movement, like waves and ocean currents (Figure 1.13). Marine geology looks at rocks and structures in the ocean basins. Chemical oceanography studies the natural elements in ocean water. Marine biology looks at marine life.

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astronomy

Astronomy and astronomers have shown that the planets in our solar system are not the only planets in the universe. Over 530 planets were known outside our solar system in 2011. And there are billions of other planets! The universe also contains black holes, other galaxies, asteroids, comets, and nebula. As big as Earth seems, the entire universe is vastly more enormous. Earth is just a tiny part of our universe. Astronomers use many tools to study things in space. Earth-orbiting telescopes view stars and galaxies from the darkness of space (Figure 1.17). They may have optical and radio telescopes to see things that the human eye cant see. Spacecraft travel great distances to send back information on faraway places. Astronomers ask a wide variety of questions. How do strong bursts of energy from the Sun, called solar flares, affect communications? How might an impact from an asteroid affect life on Earth? What are the properties of black holes? Astronomers ask bigger questions too. How was the universe created? Is there life on other planets? Are there resources on other planets that people could use? Astronomers use what Earth scientists know to make comparisons with other planets.

climatology and meteorology

Meteorologists dont study meteors they study the atmosphere! The word meteor refers to things in the air. Meteorology includes the study of weather patterns, clouds, hurricanes, and tornadoes. Meteorology is very important. Using radars and satellites, meteorologists work to predict, or forecast, the weather (Figure 1.14). The atmosphere is a thin layer of gas that surrounds Earth. Climatologists study the atmosphere. These scientists work to understand the climate as it is now. They also study how climate will change in response to global warming. The atmosphere contains small amounts of carbon dioxide. Climatologists have found that humans are putting a lot of extra carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This is mostly from burning fossil fuels. The extra carbon dioxide traps heat from the Sun. Trapped heat causes the atmosphere to heat up. We call this global warming (Figure 1.15).

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environmental science

Environmental scientists study the ways that humans affect the planet we live on. We hope to find better ways of living that can also help the environment. Ecologists study lifeforms and the environments they live in (Figure 1.16). They try to predict the chain reactions that could occur when one part of the ecosystem is disrupted.

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instructional diagrams

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questions

Earth science is the study of

a. solid Earth.

b. Earths oceans.

c. Earths atmosphere.

-->  d. all of the above

A geologist would be most likely to investigate how

-->  a. mountains form.

b. people cause pollution.

c. tornadoes occur.

d. two of the above

Which type of Earth scientist might look for petroleum for an oil company?

a. meteorologist

b. climatologist

-->  c. geologist

d. ecologist

Chemical oceanography is the study of the

a. human pollution of ocean water.

-->  b. naturally occurring elements in ocean water.

c. rising levels of ocean water.

d. rocks on the ocean floor.

The problem of global warming is most likely to be the focus of a scientist known as a

a. planetary geologist.

b. seismologist.

c. physical oceanographer.

-->  d. climatologist.

Which type of Earth scientist would you expect to give a weather report?

a. volcanologist

-->  b. meteorologist

c. climatologist

d. environmental scientist

Tools typically used by meteorologists include

a. satellites.

b. radar.

c. telescopes.

-->  d. two of the above

study of Earths weather

a. astronomy

b. oceanography

c. geology

d. environmental science

e. Earth science

f. seismology

-->  g. meteorology

study of earthquakes

a. astronomy

b. oceanography

c. geology

d. environmental science

e. Earth science

-->  f. seismology

g. meteorology

study of Earths oceans

a. astronomy

-->  b. oceanography

c. geology

d. environmental science

e. Earth science

f. seismology

g. meteorology

study of solid Earth

a. astronomy

b. oceanography

-->  c. geology

d. environmental science

e. Earth science

f. seismology

g. meteorology

study of human effects on Earth

a. astronomy

b. oceanography

c. geology

-->  d. environmental science

e. Earth science

f. seismology

g. meteorology

study of all aspects of planet Earth

a. astronomy

b. oceanography

c. geology

d. environmental science

-->  e. Earth science

f. seismology

g. meteorology

study of the universe

-->  a. astronomy

b. oceanography

c. geology

d. environmental science

e. Earth science

f. seismology

g. meteorology

Earth science is a branch of geology.

a. true

-->  b. false

Some geologists specialize in the study of soil.

-->  a. true

b. false

Rock layers below Earths surface are a record of Earths history.

-->  a. true

b. false

The science of oceanography started with mapping the oceans.

-->  a. true

b. false

Scientists have not yet visited the deepest parts of the ocean.

a. true

-->  b. false

Most of Earths water is in rivers and lakes.

a. true

-->  b. false

Humans have had relatively little impact on the oceans.

a. true

-->  b. false

There are several branches of oceanography.

-->  a. true

b. false

Meteorologists study meteors.

a. true

-->  b. false

The burning of fossil fuels contributes to global warming.

-->  a. true

b. false

diagram questions

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