How were volcanoes formed? What was the earth like before the continental drift? What are the different types of rocks? Thanks to geology, we now know the answers. Geology is the study of the physical life, patterns and history of the earth, or basically the physical, biological and chemical transformations of the earth.
With geology, you can learn all about the world’s natural phenomena. One fascinating aspect is that people are still making discoveries and coming up with theories about the earth and its many wonders. Check out the following Web sites for more information about the study of geology and its findings, along with interactive activities to help you learn.
U.S. Geological Survey
It’s useful to be familiar with the basic geological terminology. USGS offers an extensive glossary, and each term also includes background information, maps, publications and reports from the survey's database. If you want to look up a specific definition, the site also has an alphabetical list of explanations. Use the Ask-a-Geologist page to e-mail a professional with earth science questions. Earthnet also has a more specialized dictionary with diagrams and pictures.
This self-proclaimed 'online geology textbook written for kids" mixes education and entertainment for students. Choose from the categories: Examining the Soil; Earth, Rocks and Landforms; The Earth Inside Out, An Introduction to Erosion and Erosion by Water Processes. You can even play a song related to each section. You can also play an interactive game in which you try to identify the type of rock.
The earth science section is a resourceful review for science students who want some additional help. Each chapter (Earth Structure, Atmosphere, Hydrosphere, Biosphere, BGC Cycles and Climates) has subcategories and, like a textbook, the format is straight-forward and easy-to-follow. After each section there is also a quiz.
Use the drop-down menu at the top and scroll over Discovery Topics for the fundamental categories. The sections include main information and facts, and then click on Tools for fun experiments and activities. The Interactive Mapping is a bit complex, but make sure to try the Virtual Experiments, which include Isostasy (changing the height and density of a block in liquid), reconstructing Pangea with Tectonics and experimenting with Viscosity.
If you’re still interested in upping your geology smarts, here are some ideas for those who want to take geology to the next level:
Mix food with learning on the Kentucky Geological Survey at the University of Kentucky site, which includes an online Geologic and Paleontologic Cook Book. Make Trilobite cookies or a fossil marine ecosystem sheet cake, or discover how to uncover the age or rocks and fossils with M&M’s.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has an informative Kids Site about what you can do to help save the environment and climate change. These helpful hints to reduce energy and pollution can make a huge difference if enough people are willing to try.
The annual Earth Science Week, sponsored by the American Geological Institute, is yet another way to spread knowledge and awareness of environmental safety and protection, as well as the continued study of geology. Read more about the week and its goals, see what events are going on near you, and check out the Students page for more that you can do to get involved.