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introduction to physical geology

Introduction to Physical Geology

Presented by Tahsin Islam

table of contents
Table of Contents
  • Introduction
  • Scientific Method
  • Geology as a science
  • Why Geology?
  • Practical Aspects of Geology
  • Career in Geology
  • Branches of Geology
  • Physical Geology
  • Earth Systems

Geology uses the scientific method to explain natural aspects of the Earth

such as

  • Solar system
  • Earth’s Interior
  • Volcanism
  • Mountain Building
  • Weathering
  • Transportation
  • Erosion
  • Plate tectonics
  • Earthquake
scientific method
Scientific Method
  • Way of finding truth in the word
  • Geology is a science and it requires-
    • Observations
    • Measurements
    • Interpretations
geology as a science
Geology as a science
  • Names came from Greek goddess “GAEA”,daughter of Chaos.
  • Geology derives from Greek word “Geo” means Earthand “Logos” means discourse/study.
  • The scientific study of the Earth-
    • How earth was formed
    • What earth is made of
    • How earth changes
why geology
Why Geology?
  • Protecting Environment
  • Supply things we need
  • Avoiding Geo-hazards
geologic hazards

Geologic Hazards

  • Earthquakes
  • Volcanoes


practical aspects of geology

Practical Aspects of Geology

  • Natural Resources
    • All manufactured objects depend on Earth’s resources
    • Localized concentrations of useful geological resources are mined or extracted
    • If it can’t be grown, it must be mined
    • Most resources are limited in quantity and non-renewable
career in geology
Career in Geology
  • Petroleum geologist
  • Mining geologist
  • Environmental geologist
  • Marine geologist
  • Hydrogeologist
  • Glaciologist
  • Volcanologist
  • Sedimentologist
  • Geophysicists
  • Engineering geologist
  • Teaching
branches of geology
Branches of Geology
  • Physical Geology
  • Historical Geology
  • Mineralogy
  • Petrology
  • Geochemistry
  • Volcanology
  • Stratigraphy
  • Sedimentology
  • Palaeontology
  • Geomorphology
  • Hydrogeology
  • Structural Geology
physical geology
Physical Geology

Concerned with

Earth materials as well as

The Processesthat operate on those materials, either at or beneath the surface of the Earth.

  • Earth materials:elements,




physical geology cont
Physical Geology Cont.
  • Processes:
    • plate tectonics,
    • volcanic eruptions,
    • earthquakes,
    • mountain building,
    • actions of glaciers,
    • oceans,
    • wind,
    • weathering
    • erosion.
earth systems
Earth Systems

Planet earth has some components which is termed as

earth systems/spheres

  • Atmosphere- gases that envelop Earth
  • Hydrosphere-water on or near Earth’s surface
  • Biosphere-all living or once-living materials
  • Geosphere-rock and other inorganic materials
earth systems 1

Earth Systems

  • Earth’s Heat Engines
    • - External (energy from the Sun)
      • Primary driver of atmospheric (weather) and hydrospheric (ocean currents) circulation
      • Controls weathering of rocks at Earth’s surface
    • - Internal (heat moving from hot interior to cooler exterior)
      • Primary driver of most geospheric phenomena (volcanism, magmatism, tectonism)
earth s interior

Earth’s Interior

  • Compositional Layers
    • Crust (~3-70 km thick)
    • -Very thin outer rocky shell of Earth
      • Continental crust - thicker and less dense Oceanic crust - thinner and more dense
    • Mantle(~2900 km thick)
      • Hot solid that flows slowly over time;
      • Fe-, Mg-, Si-rich minerals
    • Core(~3400 km radius)
      • Outer core - metallic liquid; mostly iron
      • Inner core - metallic solid; mostly iron
mountain building

Mountain Building

SE Asia

Continent-Continent Convergence


60 million years ago

30 million years ago

Tibetan Plateau



  • Transported by geologic agents like-
      • Wind
      • Water
      • Glacier
tectonic plate boundaries

Tectonic Plate Boundaries

  • Divergent boundaries
    • Plates move apart
    • Magma rises, cools and forms new lithosphere
    • Typically expressed as mid-oceanic ridges
  • Transform boundaries
    • Plates slide past one another
    • Fault zones, earthquakes mark boundary
    • San Andreas fault in California
  • Convergent boundaries
    • Plates move toward each other
    • Mountain belts and volcanoes common
    • Oceanic plates may sink into mantle along a subduction zone, typically marked by a deep ocean trench
tectonic plate boundaries 1

Tectonic Plate Boundaries

Transform Divergent Convergent boundary

boundary boundary

theory of plate tectonics

Theory of Plate Tectonics

  • Continental Drift Hypothesis
    • Originally proposed in early 20th century to explain the “fit of continents”, matching rock types and fossils across ocean basins, etc.
  • Plate Tectonics Theory
    • Originally proposed in the late 1960s
    • Included new understanding of the seafloor and explanation of driving force
    • Describes lithosphere as being broken into plates that are in motion
    • Explains origin and distribution of volcanoes, fault zones and mountain belts