Site icon CleverlySMART SavvyCorner

Earth Science (geoscience) | Fields and Limitations

Earth science geoscience

Earth Science (geoscience) | Fields and Limitations

View Post

Earth Science

Geoscience or Earth Science integrate everything related to the Earth system, from its core to its atmosphere. They study the structure, evolution and dynamics of our planet, as well as the processes (physical and chemical) that take place within the lithosphere (rock), the pedosphere (soil), the hydrosphere (water), the cryosphere (ice) and the atmosphere (air).

Geoscience also investigate the cycles and flows of these components of the geosphere between themselves or with the biosphere. Geoscience also deal with the impact of human (anthropogenic) activity on our planet, as well as social, economic, technological and territorial transformations in a changing world.

Geoscience play an essential role in our supply of energy and raw materials. Geoscientists prospect for sources of drinking water, hydrocarbons (oil, gas, coal), metals and other mineral resources such as gravel, construction sand, clay, limestone, gypsum , etc., but also to find deep reservoirs to exploit geothermal energy or even deep geological layers suitable for storing radioactive waste over the long term. Applied geoscience such as engineering geology, geophysics, geotechnics or geodesy are instrumental in many construction projects (earthworks, dams, underground works, stabilization of slopes).

Fields of Earth Science

Other fields of geoscience such as hydrogeology, hydrology, geochemistry (including microbial geochemistry), ecotoxicology, soil science, forest science or climatology concern themselves with questions related to the environment and development. sustainable.


Astrogeodesy is a specialist area between astrometry and geodesy that uses the knowledge, means and methods of astronomy for surveying tasks .

Soil science

Soil science (pedology) is the science that deals with the origin, development, components and classification of soils . Soils are formed from solid rock by physical and chemical weathering.

Remote sensing

Interdisciplinary instrument for data collection through aerial photographs and remote sensing satellites.


Means the reconstruction of the three-dimensional form of objects (here in particular the earth or terrain surface) from images (e.g. the perspective image of a photograph).


Geochemistry deals with the material structure and the distribution of elements and isotopes in the earth, on other planets and in space (cosmochemistry). She also researches the laws of mass transport and matter cycles in minerals and rocks and in the entire Earth system.


Geodesy or surveying deals with the determination of the shape and the gravitational field of the earth, their representation in maps and plans as well as the surveying and description of the terrain and the objects or facts on the earth’s surface . Sub-areas of geodesy are earth measurement , national surveying , cartography , photogrammetry , property and cadastral surveying as well as construction and engineering surveying.


Geography records, describes and explains the landscape sphere in an integrative form, as well as its interaction with people. She explores the relationship between humans and the environment in terrestrial space. The two major subfields of geography are physiogeography and human geography .


Geoinformatics deals with the nature and function of geoinformation , with its provision in the form of geodata and with the applications based on it. The knowledge gained in this way flows into the technology of geographic information systems (GIS). The spatial reference is common to all applications of geoinformatics.


Geology studies the structure of planet Earth , especially the rocks in the earth’s crust . The most important principle of geology is actualism . In the early 1960s , science experienced a leap forward with the general acceptance of the theory of plate tectonics . Sister sciences of geology are paleontology and historical geology . See also: History of Geology


Geophysics is a branch of both earth science and physics and uses physical principles to study the earth. Subfields of geophysics are seismics, seismology, gravimetry, geoelectrics, geothermals, isotope geophysics, geomagnetics and borehole geophysics. Geophysics also examines the properties of near-Earth space and the connection with meteorology. Most hydrology and oceanography are counted to her; together with them and the geodesy they form the international Union of IUGG .


Geomorphology or landform science is a sub-area of ​​physical geography. She examines the landforms found on the earth’s surface today. This includes their classification, description, peculiarities, origins, development and the relationship to the underlying geological structures and their erosion .


A generic term for the disciplines in civil engineering that deal with the foundation of structures underground.


Geothermal energy tries to use the inner heat of the earth to generate energy.


Hydrology is the science of water, its properties, and its manifestations on and below the land surface.

Engineering geology

Engineering or building geology is the applied branch of geology that studies the subsoil in the civil engineering sense. It deals e.g. B. with the stability of the foundation of buildings, also with earthquake safety . It also plays a role in the elimination and avoidance of environmental damage (waste dumps, final storage).


Cartography is the science, art and technique of creating maps to depict the surface of the earth in all its aspects of topography, tectonics, bio- and geology, territorial and infrastructure, settlement, social and economic geography, politics and history. It is based on primary data, in particular from geodesy and remote sensing


Crystallography is a materials science and deals with the physical properties of crystals .


Limnology is the science of inland waters as ecosystems, researching their structure, material and energy balance.


Meteorology (weather science) is the science of atmospheric phenomena.


Mineralogy deals with the composition and classification of minerals , their occurrence and their technical and economic use.


Oceanography examines material and energy cycles in the world’s oceans. A link to the life sciences is found in planktology .


Paleoclimatology tries to use various data from climate archives to clarify the different climatic conditions in the past and, in turn, to draw conclusions about the climatic future of the earth.


Paleontology is the science of past life that studies the fossil record of ancient plants ( palaeobotany ) and animals (palaeozoology). In addition to surviving body fossils such as shells, teeth or bones, trace fossils such as signs of eating and grazing, burrows and individual parts of living beings (usually only leaves, trunks or roots have survived in the case of plants), petrified faeces ( coprolites ) and chemically modified remains are among the fossils.

Petrology and Petrography

Two disciplines that have solid rocks as the subject of investigation. Petrography takes on a more descriptive role. Based on the differences in how rocks form, petrology is divided into three subfields: petrology of igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks.


Petrophysics deals with the determination of physical properties of rock samples. It has gained particular importance in evaluating reservoir rocks for oil and gas.


Sub-discipline of sedimentary petrology that deals with the reconstruction and study of the environmental conditions that prevailed in the depositional period of a sedimentary body today or prevailed in the geological past. The relevant information is obtained from the sedimentary body itself, on a microscopic to regional scale.


It is a branch of geology and tries, among other things, to classify rocks chronologically in the geological time scale with regard to their age of formation. Depending on which features of a rock the stratigraphy is based on, one differentiates: fossil or biostratigraphy, lithostratigraphy, magnetostratigraphy and sequence stratigraphy .


On the one hand, tectonics is the study of the current structure of the earth’s crust, e.g. “the tectonics of the Alps”, on the other hand, from the movements and forces responsible for the current state (see crustal movement and plate tectonics).

Environmental monitoring

Interdisciplinary, often practice-oriented research field, the subject of which is inventories or long-term observations of the animate and inanimate environment on a local to global scale. In the course of research into global warming and its effects, a subordinate research field of its own has formed, global change research.


The subject of volcanology is the volcanic phenomena of the earth.

Economic geology

In the search for economically valuable raw materials (exploration), economic geology or deposit geology uses not only classic geological techniques such as mapping and sampling in the field, but also methods of geochemistry , geophysics and remote sensing. To clarify the genesis of deposits, the ideas about the flow of underground, mineralizing solutions (fluids ) are particularly important. The theory of depositsused in the exploration and exploitation of ore deposits v. a. Knowledge of tectonics and structural geology. Searching for fossil fuels, as well as non-metallic raw materials, also requires knowledge of paleontology (especially microfossils) and sedimentology.


The delimitation of what “geoscience” are is not rigorously defined. Indeed, if certain branches of the geoscience such as geology, meteorology or hydrology belong to the natural and technical sciences, geography, on the other hand, is located at the interface of the natural sciences and the human sciences.

Thus, beyond the subjects of so-called “hard” sciences mentioned above, the geoscience, thanks to the contribution of geography, also incorporate aspects of the human and social sciences relating to spatiality such as the urban planning, territorial development, issues relating to migration, living spaces, borders, etc.

Sources: PinterPandai, Britannica, Wikipedia, NASA

Photo credit: ariadne-a-mazed / Pixabay

Exit mobile version