ESS105H1 Jan 6 /14th
Prof. Lisa Tully
How does this discipline fit in with the bigger picture?
1) Geoscientistwhat do they do?
Look for resources e.g. diamonds, gold, oil, gas
Volcanic activity: research around volcanoes to determine safe areas to build houses, look into
the past of volcanoes to deduce whether they are active or dormant
Mapping the seafloor and other remote areas of the world using technology such as SONAR
Related to paleontology: looking at fossils and their age
Earthquakes are messages from the center of the earth, what’s happening in the crust,
Finding resources in the crust e.g. oil and gas
Finding ground water, freshwater! Particularly important for areas that are not close to direct
sources of freshwater
Environmental geoscientists: cleaning up the mess of mines and other pollution.
2) Geologywhat is it?
Study of the earth and its processes that change and shape it, for example: earthquakes, plate
Geologic time: 4.56 billion years old (latest estimate of Earth’s age)
Plate tectonics: the unifying theory of geology
Other processes: Rock cycles, major land forms, volcanoes, tsunamis, etc.
3) How does geology influence us?
Water: resource, crops, (floodplains has rich soil, river brings minerals to riverbed), potentially
Volcano: the soil around a volcano is very rich in nutrients
Fault: a break in the rocks, possibly cause earthquakes
Natural resources: many iron mines are clustered in the Canadian Shield, many copper mines
are located along the Rockies
Canada’s physiographic regions: Rockies, plains (Saskatchewan prairies), Great Lakes (within
the Canadian Shield area), Maritimes
What do continents have different regions? What stories do landscapes tell? Gneiss: 20 kilometers down, records intense deformation at great depths when crustal blocks collided to
make up the crustal mosaic that comprises the oldest part of Canada, consistency of slowlymoving
toothpaste, base of the mountains that gets worn away by wind, water, etc.
You can walk on gneiss and see what happened to the old mountains that used to exist
Rockies: some are so high in elevation, snow does not melt, it accumulates overtime and turns to glacier
Glaciers can be a source of freshwater: rivers from the Himalayas are fed from the glaciers from the high
Sinkhole: whole chunks of city falls down, more likely to happen with carbonate (soft) rocks, e.g.
Carbonate rock is dissolved easily by acidic water, slowly overtime (even natural rain is a bit acidic)
enlarges the hole underground gradually, with the cave growing underground with a building on top,
eventually the roof is going to collapse and everything falls into the cavehole
Karst: an area of rock that has been dissolved by acidic waters
If you ever walk around a graveyard…the gravestones made by soft rock will have been dissolved by
acidic rain overtime, and you will not be able to read the engravings
So, make your tombstones out of hard rock so it will last.
British Columbia: many volcano