Monday, March 16, 2009

10 Things every geology major should know...

Callan at NOVA Geoblog has started a new meme. “What are ten things that every geology major ought to know about? The only restriction is you're not allowed to list anything that has already been listed by a previous geoblogger. You don't have to list everything, just ten important things.”

Mel’s Ten Things a Geology Major Should Know
1. Evolution.
2. Evidence for plate tectonics.
3. That fossils (and trace fossils) can provide more information about the rocks they reside in - depositional environment, chronology and correlation, water temperature, stratigraphic up, relative rate of deposition, water depth, etc.
4. And vice versa, the rocks can tell you a lot about the fossils that are contained within them - geography, taphonomy, chronology and correlation, etc.
5. The relationship between sediment production --> sediment transport --> sediment deposition.
6. How to identify minerals.
7. Differentiation and fractionation and how they apply to the planet, the solar system, and isotopes.
8. How aquifers work (or don’t work if we drain them too quickly).
9. Where our energy supply comes from. All facets from petroleum products, to solar radiation, to conductive metals extraction, etc. (These are also useful for seeking gainful employment as a geologist.)
10. Pedogenesis. How it takes thousands of years of chemical reactions and transport to generate the soils we use for agriculture. (And how we should be taking better care of them.)

I know, seds and paleo heavy. I am expecting the rest of the geoblogosphere will round things out a bit… I can definitely see where my paleo and chemistry backgrounds have influenced this list. And towards the end, I got a little soap-boxy. Everyone should know these last couple, not just geologists. But, I don’t think we can limit the list to just 10. If we were, then it should be composed of things like “critical thinking” and “the scientific method” and all encompassing subjects like “plate tectonics.” If it were really only limited to 10, we should be thinking about goals as per Kim and SERC tutorial. I did find a good "subjects to know in geology" study guide here, but it's a wee bit longer than 10. So, what is on your list?

Callan Bentley’s Ten Things a Geology Major Should Know
1. The relationship between cooling rate and crystal size in igneous rocks.
2. The fact that rocks can flow, given sufficient temperature and pressure [and low strain rate, for the purists out there].
3. The idea that sedimentary rocks reflect specific depositional settings. By studying modern depositional settings and the sediments they contain, we can interpret ancient sedimentary rocks in light of the conditions under which they accumulated.
4. The fact that the chemical stability of molecular configurations (minerals) changes with different temperatures and pressures (metamorphism).
5. Large Igneous Provinces, and their potential role in tectonics and expressing mantle plumes.
6. Elastic rebound theory for the origin of earthquakes.
7. The notion of partial melting, and its relationship to Bowen's Reaction Series.
8. An understanding of the carbon cycle, and an understanding of the atmospheric physics that facilitate global warming.
9. The role that rivers play in shaping the landscape: nickpoints, terraces, quarrying, abrasion, drilling of potholes, etc.
10. The Earth is 4.6 billion years old, which is extremely old in comparison to human life -- and the reasons we think it's so old [Pb isotopes, etc.].


Environment and Geology said...

yes it is correct. every geologist atleast should know the basics of the geology.

aa said...
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