READING – CHAPTER #1
INTRODUCTION TO PHYSICAL GEOLOGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT
What is geology?
Geology – the study of the earth
William Smith = ‘father of English geology’ he was the first to publish a geologic map
Rock layers and fossils found in Bath
While travelling the world he compared different rock layers
Sir William Logan = first to systematically describe the geology of Canada
Managed a coal mine and copper smelt venture
His maps introduced a Cross-Section – a hypothetical vertical slice through the land
Looking at the minerals in Canada (rocks, soils, etc.) he made a layout of the geology
Believed that coal is an organic deposit
Highest Canada’s Mountain named after him (Mount Logan)
What changes controlled the evolution of life forms?
1. Positioning of the continents
2. Extraterrestrial processes (ex. Meteorite impacts)
Supercontinent called “Pangea” – an assemblage of all the continents
o Believed that Pangea broke up into smaller continents that drifted apart to their
o Could not explain continental movement and how it happened (theory rejected)
Plate Tectonics Theory
o Young active volcanic islands stuck in the middle of oceans
o Resulted from a moving plate drifting over a stationary magma plume in the
Deep Time – amount of time used in geology
‘Rapidly’ – within a few million years something will be reduced.
- we may see it as not rapidly because it takes millions of years but not a geologist
Mid-oceanic ridge – a giant mountain range that lies under the ocean
• Cenozoic – abundant mammals
• Mesozic – dinosaurs
• Paleozoic – reptiles, fishes, etc.
Precambrian – origin of earth, cellular organisms
What do geoscientists do?
Exploration Geologists – prospecting for signs of minerals such as gold, silver, diamonds, etc.
His or her goal is to find something and then get it to market before anyone else does
o Mining company o Looking for goal in volcanic rock, quartz veins, faults, etc.
o Geochemists – are comfortable working in the ordered environment of the laboratory
and use high-technology equipment to analyze the chemistry of rocks/minerals.
o Mineralogists – study minerals
o Petrologists – study the makeup of rocks and how they form
o Geophysicists – study the nature of the physical conditions on or under the Earth’s
o Petroleum geologists – search for oil, coal and g