Earth science or geoscience, as some people would call it, is an umbrella discipline that includes all fields of natural science related to the study of earth. This branch of science deals with the physical, chemical and biological constituents of the earth. Some scientists also include the study of nearby extraterrestrial neighbours within the domain of Earth science. It is a fascinating field which provides you an adventurous life, full of excitement and challenges. You could find yourself climbing the highest peaks or diving into the wonders of the tropical oceans, shivering in Antarctica or sweating in the Sahara and spending months outdoors hiking in the field or meticulously working indoors in a lab behind a computer screen; earth science has something to offer to everyone.
What do geologists do?
Geologists are involved in a multitude of activities ranging from pure economic to pure academics. Some use their expertise to explore and develop energy resources and minerals. Others study the history of the earth and the life on earth. Many use their knowledge to solve environmental problems and mitigate the negative impact of human activities on nature. Then there are those who try to save communities from getting affected by natural disasters such as earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides.
Field within Earth Science
Earth science is a wide scientific field and various fields of sciences can be categorised within earth science. These are:
Geology is the study of the rocky part of the earth. Most of the geologists investigate the rocks found on the earth’s crust, although these rocks may have been generated deep within the earth. Geology may involve different sub-disciplines such as mineralogy, petrology, sedimentology, ore geology, structural geology and so on. Geologists spend a significant part of their work like in the field. These field trips can take geologists to some exotic locations.
Geophysics is a combination of geology and physics. This field is basically the application of physics to solve practical problems in the field of geology. Geophysics includes the study of seismic waves, such as those generated during the earthquake, and they use these to explore the internal structure of earth. Geodesy is a sub-discipline within geophysics that deals with the shape of the earth. Geophysicists also use electrical, magnetic and gravitation related techniques to explore the internal structure of the earth.
Atmospheric sciences is a discipline within earth science that deals with the study and prediction of atmospheric processes. This discipline also borrows a lot from physics, mathematics and chemistry. Meteorology, climatology, atmospheric chemistry, and atmospheric physics are the major sub disciplines within atmospheric sciences.
Oceanography includes the study of the earth’s oceans, seas and also coastal bodies such as deltas and estuaries. Those interested in oceanography try to understand the movement of ocean currents, ocean heat transfer, change in ocean conditions over time and the sea floor topography. Oceans also provide us with energy, food and . These also regulate earth’s climate and ocean related studies also help in climate modeling.
Since the extraterrestrial bodies are not earth, some people question whether planetary sciences is a sub-discipline within earth science. However, several processes taking place on or inside the extraterrestrial bodies have many parallels to those taking place on earth. Several experts from geosciences have gone on to work in the planetary science domain. It is only natural to consider planetary science as a sub-discipline within the earth science domain.