Everything we use that has not been grown either contains or relies on materials that have been sourced by a geologist.
In this course, An introduction to geology, you will be introduced to some key geological processes that impact everyday life, as you discover the link between volcanoes and your mobile phone, and find out why tiny marine wildlife is at the core of the plastics industry.
You will learn about the various types of rock, and explore how, where and why different rocks and natural resources form across the Earth. You will also look at some of the environmental and sustainability considerations that geologists need to take into account when extracting and processing these resources.
This course material was originally written for FutureLearn in 2016. It was published on OpenLearn in April 2019.
This OpenLearn science course is produced with the kind support of Dangoor Education, the educational arm of The Exilarch's Foundation.
Course learning outcomes
After studying this course, you should be able to:
- Identify different igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks
- Apply and use numerical and graphical methods to interpret quantities and concentrations of different natural resources
- Assess and understand the origin, occurrence and availability of some natural physical resources associated with metals, oil and building stones
- Describe and appreciate societal and environmental issues associated with the sustainability of the Earth’s physical resources.
- Introduction to Week 1 00:10:00
- What is a rock? 00:15:00
- Igneous rocks 00:10:00
- Sedimentary rocks 00:10:00
- Metamorphic rocks 00:10:00
- Watch out for concrete 00:02:00
- Rock textures 00:10:00
- Identifying rock textures 00:07:00
- Identifying rocks: going into the ‘field’ 00:20:00
- The rock cycle and plate tectonics 00:20:00
- So, how old is the Earth? 00:15:00
- And how do we know that? 00:02:00
- Relative dating 00:10:00
- Absolute dating 00:15:00
- What is plate tectonics? Continental drift and sea floor spreading – part 1 00:30:00
- What is plate tectonics? Continental drift and sea floor spreading – part 2 00:10:00
- Plate tectonics – part 1 00:20:00
- Plate tectonics – part 2 00:10:00
- Week 1 quiz 00:05:00
- Summary of Week 1 00:10:00
- Introduction to Week 3 00:05:00
- Oil comes from the ground 00:07:00
- Plastics and transport fuel 00:20:00
- Fertilisers 00:20:00
- What is oil? 00:15:00
- Where does it come from? 00:20:00
- Why doesn’t it just rot? 00:15:00
- It’s a trap! 00:20:00
- If it’s buried, how do we find it? 00:15:00
- Seismic exploration – part 1 00:10:00
- Seismic exploration – part 2 00:07:00
- Biostratigraphy 00:15:00
- Economics of oil production 00:25:00
- More economics of oil 00:25:00
- Week 3 quiz 00:05:00
- Summary of Week 3 00:05:00
About the instructor