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.Continue Reading
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 about Geology
As of 2014, scientists believe the Earth to be 4.54 billion years old, plus or minus 50 million years. This measurement was calculated using radiometric dating techniques on rocks found on Earth, samples from the Moon and meteorites from elsewhere in the Solar System.Full Answer >
Earth is unique in that scientists have found the planet to be the only one to have liquid water on its surface, intelligent life forms living on it, a moon that helps regulate surface temperatures, an atmosphere with 21 percent oxygen and plate tectonics, according to Space.com. Scientists believe Earth exists in a "Goldilocks zone" where conditions are just right to support life.Full Answer >
While no one knows for certain how the Earth formed, scientists theorize that it formed over 4 million years ago after the sun went through its initial formation, gravity began to draw heavy particles together into a planet and solar winds blew away lighter gases. These heavy particles became the core of the planet. As the mass continued to grow, heavier particles sank to the center, according to Space.com.Full Answer >
As of 2014, scientists believe Mars is the most likely planet in Earth's solar system, outside of Earth, to support human existence. However, this doesn't say much about the potential for life on other planets, as many major obstacles impede life on Mars without significant technological advancements.Full Answer >