Notes on Basic Geology
Notes created & information organization based on the book:
The Dynamic Earth - an introduction to physical geology"
Brian Skinner & Stephen C. Porter   (further book information here)
also look at for additional resource information
Introduction - Page 1

( jee-all-oo-jee)
From the Greek "GEO" meaning Earth, and "LOGIA" meaning the study of or the science of.
Physical Geology
Physical geology is interested in the processes that happen below and above the surface of the earth, and those materials which are involved in the processes.
Historical Geology
As the name implies, Historical geology is interested in the time line and when things have happened.
Scientific Method
It means to observe and record events that can be seen and can be tested.
1.) Observe and measure
In order to study something using the scientific method it is necessary to choose things that can be quantified or measured.
2.) Form a hypothesis
Form a line of reasoning that describes the observations. A hypothesis is usually simple and can often be explained in a single sentence.
3.) Decide on tests
(for or against) the hypothesis. From the results postulate a "theory". Based on the "line of reasoning" and further successful testing a theory is proposed. A theory should be able to predict.
4.) Formation of a Law or Principle.
Law is a step beyond a theory, and specifies a set of conditions which are "always true", that is, there are no known deviations.

5.) Continual re-examination
Hypothesis, theory, and law are always subject to questioning and further testing. If an exception is found to a law, it can no longer stand without modification.

A theory that cannot be tested is not science.

vs. Uniformitarianism

Early explanations of how things happended were based on catatrophism which stated that things happened in large, mostly unexplainable events.

A Scottish farmer named James Hutton (~1795) published his theories based on observation. And he published this in 1795. Hutton in known as the father of Modern Scientific Geology. James wrote about his observations regarding weathering and erosion. He made the first argument for repetitive cycles.

*( Perennial Press; (August 2002) ISBN: 0060931809
"The Map that Changed the World", by Simon Winchester )

His observations were based on what is know known as Uniformitarianism.

... what we observe happening today, has been happening in roughly the same way throughout the history of the earth. Most of his observations concerned the layering of sandstone and their ordering.