Earth is a dynamic and evolving planet
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Uniformitarianism is a cornerstone of geology ... of historical geology. aid in interpreting ... How Does the Study of Historical Geology Benefit Us? ...

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Earth is a dynamic and evolving planet l.jpg

Earth is a Dynamic and Evolving Planet

  • changes in its surface

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3 Main Themes

Plate Tectonics



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  • Uniformitarianism is a cornerstone of geology

    • present-day processes have operated throughout geologic time

    • physical and chemical laws of nature have remained the same through time

  • to interpret geologic events

    • we must first understand present-day processes and their results

    • rates and intensities of geologic processes may have changed with time

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Historical Geology

  • In historical geology we study

    • changes in our dynamic planet

    • how and why past events happened

    • implication for today’s global ecosystems

  • Principles of historical geology

    • aid in interpreting Earth’s history

    • also have practical applications

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Geologic Time

  • Human perspective

    • seconds, hours, days, years

  • Ancient human history

    • hundreds or even thousands of years

  • Geologic history

    • millions, hundreds of millions, billions of years

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Geologic Time Scale

  • Resulted from the work of many 19th century geologists who

    • pieced together information from numerous rock exposures

    • constructed a sequential chronology based on changes in Earth’s biota through time

    • started as a relative time scale

  • The time scale was subsequently dated in years using radiometric dating techniques

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How Does the Study of Historical Geology Benefit Us?

  • Survival of the human species depends on understanding how Earth’s various subsystems work and interact

    • how we consumenatural resources and interact with the environment determines our ability to pass on this standard of living to the next generation

    • our standard of living depends directly on our consumption of natural resources that formed millions and billions of years ago

  • Study what has happened in the past, on a global scale, to try and determine how our actions might affect the balance of subsystems in the future