How do we study the geosphere?

Who is interested in the GEOSPHERE?

The Geosphere is traditionally studied by Geologists and Geophysicists. These two disciplines include Stratigraphers (people who study the age and vertical arrangement of rocks), Petrologists (People who study igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rock formation), Paleontologists, Volcanologists, and Seismologists. Geologists work both in terrestrial and marine environments. Surficial processes of the Geosphere are typically studied by Geomorphologists. Geomorphologists study rivers, arid landscapes, coastal environments and glacial landforms, to name a few. Other people who study the Geosphere include Environmental Geologists, who want to understand how the shape of slopes impact slope stability.

The traditional view of the Geosphere as largely the domain of Geology is changing to recognize the way all Earth systems are linked. For example, soil scientists are interested in topography because of its influence on soil-forming processes. In addition, rock parent material can be a major factor controlling the type of soils present an area. For example, volcanic areas can have very fertile soils due to the presence of nutrient-rich ash in the soil.

Plant ecologists, in turn, are concerned with soil nutrient and water availability which are also linked to topography, microclimate and soil parent materials. Hydrologists, who study the way water moves through the Earth system (either as surface runoff, groundwater or evaporated water), are not only concerned with the types of soils and plants on the landscape, but the way in which sunlight interacts and heats the surface.

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