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What Science Geology Is?

Human beings live on the earth. Our living environment and the goods and materials required for production cannot be without the earth. In ancient times, our ancestors tried to understand the earth. Therefore, there is a subject of Geology. Geology, Geography, Geometry, Geomonphology are all discussions on earth.

Not until the second half of eighteenth Century, geology really became an independent science. With the enhanced understanding ability, improved detection means and rich materials and knowledge, the research content of geology is also constantly expanding and updating.

The utilization of the steam engines has made the coal mining output greatly increased. The industrial revolution requires the rapid development of mining and metallurgical industry, which promotes a large area of the regional geological survey. By the middle of the 20th century, fundamental geology had formed three branch systems. The first is to research the components of the crust of the earth and material composition. The second is to research the developing history of the crust of the earth or geological processes. The third is to research the changes of the crust of the earth and dynamic geological processes. Applied geology had formed two major branch systems. One is to research the rules of formation, migration and enrichment of various minerals and can be called economic geology. The other is the engineering geology and hydrologic geology which direct serves all kinds of engineering constructions. In short, the research objects of geology of this stage are mainly the land and only reveal the developing process on the surface of the earth (mainly the upper crust of the earth). The emergence of a series of branch subjects marks the flourishing of geology.

The plate tectonics that began to emerge in 1960s led geology into a completely new developing era. The research content of geology was greatly broadened, which can be vulgarly compared by six words “Going into the sky, going into the earth and going into the sea”, namely, oceans, mantle, lithosphere, even outer core of the earth and meteorites from the universe (extraterrestrial meteorites) are all research objects of geology . For the main characteristics of the development of geology, one is to move from its own branches to the comprehensive subject, the other is the interaction and penetration of Geology and other subjects. Since comprehensive investigation on geological phenomena from the perspective of the whole world has become the only way for geological researches, sometimes the term “Solid-Earth Science” can describe the research content of the original geology more accurately. New branch subjects of geology are often based on global tectonic pattern and put forward by concentrating in a particular region, such as geology of continental margin, geology of continental rift valley, geology of Tethys, geology of Gondwana and so on.

For nearly half a century, the living environment of human beings has been seriously threatened due to the over accelerated urbanization and desertification. The environmental geology has become a research field that people pay close attention to. The rapid growth of population and the excessive exploitation of resources have resulted in the rapid depletion of several kinds of resources. The sustainable development has become an extremely urgent problem. As we have entered the new millennium, the core issue of applied geology is to solve the problems of resources and environment.

In 1980, at the 26th International Geological Congress held in Paris, both d'Estaing, French President, and O'Brien, President of the Congress, expressed the idea that: the central problem of the end of the 20th century is energy and resources. Therefore, geology is a necessary condition for the 21st century. It is believed that in the 21st Century, geology will add more content and make greater contributions to survival and development of human beings.


Ministry of Land and Resources P.R. ChinaDepartment of Land and Resources of Hubei ProvincePeople’s Government of HuanggangHuanggang Municipal Bureau of Land and ResourcesGlobal Geoparks NetworkNational Geopark of China The Geological Museum of ChinaHong Kong UNESCO Global GeoparkShennongjia Global GeoparkTianzhushan Global Geopark




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