Problems with radiometric dating of rocks

The geologist is responsible for the discovery of minerals (such as lead, chromium, nickel, and tin), oil, gas, and coal, which are the main economic resources of the Earth; for the application of knowledge of subsurface structures and geologic conditions to the building industry; and for the prevention of natural hazards or at least providing early warning of their occurrence.(For further examples, Moon, for example, provided scientists with firsthand information on lunar geology, including observations on such features as meteorite craters that are relatively rare on Earth.Paleontology is the study of fossils and is concerned not only with their description and classification but also with an analysis of the evolution of the organisms involved.

As a discipline, mineralogy has had close historical ties with geology.

Minerals as basic constituents of rocks and ore deposits are obviously an integral aspect of geology.

The problems and techniques of mineralogy, however, are distinct in many respects from those of the rest of geology, with the result that mineralogy has grown to be a large, complex discipline in itself.

About 3,000 distinct mineral species are recognized, but relatively few are important in the kinds of rocks that are abundant in the outer part of the Earth.

This in turn helps in interpreting the mode of formation and the depositional environment of sedimentary rocks.

Thus the discipline of geomorphology is fundamental to the uniformitarian approach to the Earth sciences according to which the present is the key to the past.

Many rocks have a more complex mineralogy, and in some the mineral particles are so minute that they can be identified only through specialized techniques.

It is possible to identify an individual mineral in a specimen by examining and testing its physical properties.

Stratigraphers still use the two main principles established by the late 18th-century English engineer and surveyor William Smith, regarded as the father of stratigraphy: (1) that younger beds rest upon older ones and (2) different sedimentary beds contain different and distinctive fossils, enabling beds with similar fossils to be correlated over large distances.

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