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  1. “Geology” can be defined as the study of the solid Earth, i.e. the rocks of which our planet is composed, and the processes by which they change. Geology can also refer to the study of the solid features of any celestial body (such as the geology of the Moon or Mars).
  2. History of geology can be glanced at “Timeline of geology”.
  3. As we’re interested in achievements of knowledge in the period since Hegel, we must say that the person who studied the Earth in an all-around way was Alexander von Humboldt, 1769-1859. His work is “Cosmos”, based on his extensive travels and studies. There, among other things, he notices similarities between traveling up the mountain and traveling to the poles of the Earth.
    Wegener Expedition-1930 008

    Alfred Wegener

  4. A person who has done the greatest service to geology in XX century was not a geologist by education, but a meteorologist. He is Alfred Wegener, 1880-1930. In 1912 he advanced the theory of continental drift, which, again, was met with derision (as Georges Lemaitre’s “Big Bang”), and was not accepted until 1950’s. The theory hypothesized that the continents are slowly drifting.
  5. Some aspects of geology were popularized by Bill Bryson in his 2003 book “A Short History of Nearly Everything”, Part II: “The Size of the Earth”.
  6. There has not been much science fiction written about geology, or formation of the Earth. I am personally acquainted with 2 novels: “Journey to the Center of the Earth“, by Jules Verne, 1864, and “Plutonia“, by Vladimir Obruchev, published in 1924. Some people also say that the “Red Mars”, “Green Mars”, and “Blue Mars” trilogy, by Kim Robinson, deals with such aspects of geology as terraforming of Mars.

  7. Kola-superdeep-borehole-USSR-postage-stamp

    An image of the future voyages to the center of the Earth. Kola Superdeep!

    Following in the steps of Jules Verne, an important contribution to understanding the structure of the Earth was made by Kola Superdeep Borehole project, started in 1970, and stopped in 1994. The goal was to drill a hole to 15,000 meters. Actual depth achieved was 12,262 meters. Reasons for stopping of the project were: 1) break up of the Soviet Union, hence lack of funding for this purely scientific project; 2) temperatures were rising faster than expected. At the depth achieved, the temperature was 180 Celsius, instead of expected 100 degrees. Some of the scientific results achieved were: 1) specimen of lunar particles brought back to Earth, and those found at the Kola Superdeep, are almost identical. This brings up the question of the origin of the Moon. 2) It seems life on this planet appeared earlier than we thought. At the level of rocks measuring 2.8 billion years old, 14 types of fossilized microorganisms were found. 3) At the level of 9.5 km a layer very rich in minerals was found. For example, there are 78 grams of gold per 1 ton, while commercial production can start at only 34 grams. 4) There was a lot of mineral water at the depth, and it couldn’t come from the surface, as there is a layer of impermeable rock separating it from the surface. 5) A lot of hydrogen gas was found deep down. 6) A new method of drilling was invented, now used widely in drilling for oil. “In the past, drillers quickly spun the entire drillstem so the bit at the bottom could chew the bedrock. Before starting, the Soviets calculated that the tubing would weigh over a million pounds. They could never generate enough torque to rotate that much pipe fast enough to drill through kilometres of granite. So, in 1969, the Soviets invented a rotary bit. It spun by sending pressurized mud down the pipe where it blew through a turbine at the drill head, spinning it 80 revolutions per minute.” (Source).

  8. Earth poster.svg
    The Earth consists of several layers, about which we really don’t know much. Robert Feynman once remarked that we know more about the interior of the sun than about the interior of the Earth. Hence, we cannot predict such phenomena as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. However, we do know (or think we know) that the inner core of the Earth is very hot, and that there is a lot of “geothermal” energy there, which we can use to heat our houses, make electricity, etc.
  9. Krafla Geothermal Station

    Iceland is a leader in the use of geothermal energy. This is a power plant at Krafla, Iceland

    Conclusions:p { margin-bottom: 0.1in; line-height: 120%; }a:link { }1) Geology should talk about theory of the origin of the Earth and the Moon, but it prefers to remain silent on that topic. 2) Without expeditions “to the center of the Earth” (the phrase of Jules Verne) we will continue to know very little about the structure, and hence history of our planet. We need projects following in the footsteps of Kola Superdeep, which went only 0.002% to the middle of the Earth. 3) In the present, we can and should make use of geothermal energy for heating our cities, and other energy needs. 4) In the future, geology will lead to “terraforming”, or transformation of the surface and interior of the Earth. 5) For a theory to be true, it must appear as ridiculous to contemporaries. This we see again and again, with theories such as “Big Bang” and idea of continental drift.
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