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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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3 main themes
3 Main Themes

Plate Tectonics



  • 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
historical geology
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
geologic time
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
geologic time scale
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
how does the study of historical geology benefit us
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