Earth Sciences

Linda Jones, Northeast Center,Saratoga Unit, SUNY Empire State College explains in this video and writes:

“Earth Science is an interdisciplinary field of study which encompasses the physical natural sciences:  Geology—rock cycle, landforms, Earth’s history, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, plate tectonics, mass wasting, mountain building, and mineral and fossil fuel resources; Hydrology—global water cycle, stream formation, groundwater, water quality, and flood frequency; Oceanography—marine biology, ocean structure and composition, coastal processes, and geology of the ocean floor; Climatology—precipitation and temperature characteristics of a region, climate controls, and patterns of atmospheric change; Soil Science—soil formation, global patterns of soils, desertification, and agroecology; and Astronomy—origins of the universe/solar system, Sun-Earth dynamics, and planetary geology.”

“Earth scientists study the environment from the perspective that it can be divided into 4 spheres: the geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere.  They focus on the exchange of matter and energy between and within components of each of the spheres to better understand patterns and processes related to the Earth’s landforms, climate, soils, water systems, and biomes.  Earth scientists study environmental processes using a systems science model.  The aspect of the environment under investigation—a forest, a prairie, a lake, a river, etc.—is viewed as a system which adjusts itself in response to inputs which flow into the system and outputs which flow out from the system.”

“The field of Earth Science relates to sustainability in that it helps us understand the dynamics processes which have created the natural resources we have come to rely on—air, water, soil, minerals, and habitat for micro-organisms, plants, and animals.  Earth Science, then, offers insight into ways we can interact more effectively with the environment by developing resource management strategies which operate in sync with the dynamic processes which drive natural environmental systems.”