- Importance of the Five Fundamental Concepts
There are five basic recurrent geology concepts:: human population growth, sustainability, systems and change, hazardous earth processes, and scientific knowledge and values. These concepts are important, because they affect everything that occurs to Earth. They also affect the economy, lifestyle, politics, society, culture, and basic survival of the mankind.
We live in on the planet with limited resources, and, thus the problem of overpopulation will plague Earth presently and generations to come. Earth is experiencing an exponential population growth rate that leads to a drop in living standards, as Earth nears its carrying capacity. The second concept of sustainability deals with how we can achieve development without outstripping resources. It aims to achieve better standards of living for future generations, and focuses on acts like sharing, conservation, and utilization of renewable materials and energy. The concept of systems and change, on the other hand, assesses the threat of human activity on Earth’s interconnected systems, and hopes to mitigate this risk in order to ensure continuity. The fourth concept of hazardous planet processes hopes to understand, recognize, assess, plan for, and avoid hazardous earth processes which have occurred for generations. Lastly, there is a need to accumulate scientific knowledge and values that will lead to better alternative solutions.
In conclusion, the five fundamental concepts of geology aim to improve the Earth for humankind and other systems by preserving the planet, and finding novel solutions that will ensure better interaction between man and Earth. Adherence to these concepts will lead to better outcomes for all systems on the planet, hence better living standards and sustainable development for future generations.
- Earth’s Surface and Interior
Researchers have investigated for decades how the Earth interacts with its interior, in order to acquire data necessary for the assessment, mitigation, and forecasting of natural hazards. Earth has internal energy, generated by radioactive decay, as well as the conversion of gravitational energy, and this energy sometimes reaches the surface of the Earth (0.013% of total energy reaching Earth’s surface). This energy is responsible for deformational and melting events that affect the Earth’s surface.
Plate tectonics is the theory of how the Earth’s layers interact. It states that the planet is made up of plates that move in different directions and meet at the plate boundaries. The heat inside the Earth causes the mantle to be the thermally unstable, causing the creation of mantle conversion cells that deform the planet along the plate boundaries (Yong, 2002). The different boundaries are responsible for different phenomena. Divergent plate boundaries, for example, lead to magma rising from the asthenosphere, leading to volcanism and earthquakes. Convergent boundaries act to create islands and mountains, while transform fault boundaries, cause fault lines and earthquakes. The internal energy also interferes with other processes that may later manifest on the Earth’s surface. The high pressure in the interior, for example, causes heating of minerals and materials in the interior, that later expresses themselves as geysers, geothermal springs, and gas ducts. This material influences Earth’s systems, as some of these gasses are hazardous to live organisms.
In conclusion, the Earth’s interior has energy caused by radioactive decay and gravitational energy that causes the Earth to be heated and become thermally unstable. As this energy tries to escape it interacts with the planet’s layers causing them to move. Since this movement is not smooth, it leads to natural phenomena, such as earthquakes, volcanoes, and the creation of mountains and islands.
Yong, C. (2002). Natural Hazards- Internal and External Processes. Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems, 56-69.