Geology as a science is recent, beginning in the 18th century, but its heritage is ancient. This television series addresses itself to the basics of Earth Science, for a lower to middle secondary school audience. Rocks, and the materials that they contain, are as important to us as food is. Equally important, with the more recent discoveries in space, we have begun to understand just how unique and isolated we are.
Ep 1 - 'How Old Is It'? Geology as science begins with the industrial revolution in England. For the first time rock strata are studied and compared and an amazing conclusion is drawn. Earth is unbelievably old.
Ep 2 - 'Fossils' - a fossil is a trace of a living thing left in rock. Fossils offer a three-part challenge - first to reconstruct the organism itself, then to reconstruct the world it lived in, then to understand its place in time and evolution.
Ep 3 - 'The Fires Below' - whatever is inside the earth is very hot. The trail of clues leads to the model of a metallic core surrounded by a rocky mantle. Huge, slow convection currents rise up, often resulting in earthquakes and volcanoes.
Ep 4 - 'Pushing and Shoving' - volcanoes and earthquakes are only part of a bigger picture. Tectonic forces also push continents around and cause mountains to be uplifted. The crust recycles itself. The lighter rocks of the continents float on the heavier rocks of the mantle.
Ep 5 - 'Wear and Tear'- the forces of sun, wind and water have changed the face of earth just as much as tectonics. Weathering and erosion are driven by gravity, flattening the landscape. They create soil. Deposition starts the process of forming sedimentary rock.
Ep 6 - 'Rock Recipes' - rocks are complicated collections of mineral particles. Four silicate mineral groups make up 90% of the crustal rocks - mafic minerals, quartzes, feldspars and micas. Rocks come in three basic varieties - igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic. These are the ingredients of the rock cycle.
Ep 7 - 'Who Needs Geology?' Not only are our cities and almost every product we use derived from the ground, so is almost all our energy. Yet minerals and petroleum products are only the start. Every culture has wondered about the origin and nature of the earth and geology offers a rich and cautionary explanation.
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