There are many fields of geology that each focus on minute details and problems. Though the focus may vary, the relation to geology on a whole is closely intertwined. I will graduate as part of the Spring 2000 class with a degree in elementary education. I feel that with my interest in geology, planning my lessons in this area will be simple. There are some themes in geology that hold precedence over others, such as geomorphology, and astrogeology.
I feel that incorporating these topics with lessons will not only be informative but interesting.
To a great extent, history must first materialize to give us the facts we have today. Geomorphology derives from Greek words meaning Earth and form. It is simply the study of landforms and how they are related to the formation processes in the environment. By studying the Earths features, an entire history may be deduced. William Smith of England, who is universally recognized as the Founder of Stratiagraphy, was first to recognize that sedimentary rock layers occur in regular sequences and that the fossils they contain can identify different strata.
These layers can reveal immense amounts about the Earths history. The type of rock, thickness of the strata, minerals and fossils make it easier to deduce the history of that area.
When studying geomorphology, one must instantly think of the developmental means of the earth: erosion. Erosion, by definition, (is) all processes that act to mold and wear down the Earths surface features. These processes include weathering, wind action, glacial processes, marine and fluvial processes (the effects of running water). Erosion is not the only formation process; climatic change, volcanism and plate techtonics also participate in the building and wearing down of the Earths surface.
Climate plays a major role in changing Earths features.
In areas where glaciation, aridity and humidity vary, landforms such as swamps and prairies may evolve. This occurs when drainage systems are disrupted and the glacial depressions, which first are lakes, fill with sediment, then time takes its toll and they evolve. A notable researcher in climato-genetic geomorphology, Budel, hypothesized that little of the Earths humid temperate regions result from modern processes, rather, it is inherited forom past climatic conditions, including arid and tropical. Meaning, as an example, that during the Tertiary period, there was a prolonged period of plantation, resulting in low-relief plains. It is possible, however that crustal movements and volcanism may have an effect on land formation.
Mountains are commonly formed by a combination of climate, rock deformation and crustal movement. At lower latitudes, it is more common for a newly developing mountain to form, but because of the humidity, they also erode quickly. Mountains may experience different forms of evolution and climates at the same time. This occurs because mountains heavily influence the direction of wind and moisture distribution. Some mountains are developed as a continuation to an oceanic trench, such as the Andes. Here, crustal movements, resulting in volcanic eruptions add to the mountain root and peaks.
If presented with a hands on project, I feel that children will be more inclined to take interest in these studies.