Lincoln: Cliffs Notes. – 1998. – 258 p. The mysteries of the earth have fascinated the human race for thousands of years. Its restlessness has transformed landscapes, blackened skies, and buried cities. Our way of life is dependent on the geologic resources that we take from mines, quarries, and wells. Expanding our knowledge of our planet, and learning the best ways to use its resources, is critical to the welfare of our ever-expanding population. The dynamics of the earth are hard to quantify because what can be seen, and physically tested, is limited to the rocks on its surface or taken from drill holes in the crust —a very small part of the planet! The interpretation of what these rocks mean—how they relate to each other and how they compare to rocks seen forming today—and the use of new imaging techniques that can explore the subsurface give us our modern view of geology. More now than ever before our knowledge of geology, geophysics, and other sciences is being directed toward healing the environmental damage that has been done to the earth's surface and groundwater. The field of hydrogeology has grown immensely in the past twenty years in response to our need for clean water supplies. Hydrogeologists explore the complexities of groundwater, how it becomes contaminated, and how to make it clean again. Today, as in centuries past, the ideas of academic and professional geologists around the world continue to change. Technologic improvements expand the limits of what kind of research can be done. For example, the early theories of continental drift have now been proven, and movements of continental plates can be measured in centimeters. Despite the incredible advances in knowledge and technology that have made geology one of the most exciting fields, the earth is still startling, surprising, and mysterious. Many more discoveries with worldwide impacts lie ahead. Contents Introduction The Earth’s components Igneous rocks Sedimentary rocks Metamorphic rocks Geologic structures Weathering and erosion Mass wasting Running water Glaciers and glaciation Groundwater The shorelines Deserts and winds Earthquakes Inside the earth The ocean floor Plate tectonics Mountain-building Geologic time Earth resources we depend on Our solar system Glossary
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