Augustana College printing logo

The subject of geology

Augustana geology students in Hawaii, 2008
Augustana geology students in Hawaii, 2008.

GEOLOGY is the study of the earth, its history and its processes. The discipline of geology addresses the materials which comprise the earth and the processes of earth formation and deformation.

Subdisciplines include, but are not limited to: the study of life and evolution; the study of minerals and rocks; processes of tectonic deformation of rocks; and processes of landscape evolution.

GEOLOGISTS are responsible for finding economic natural resources, such as minerals, oil, gas, coal, and water, upon which our industrial society depends. Geologists are also responsible for determining how to safely dispose of waste and how to remediate areas contaminated with toxic substances. Thus, geologists are unique in that they occupy both ends of a spectrum within society.

Geologists also study the earth's history, including the the evolution of life forms, and Geologists apply such knowledge to interpret other planets, such as Mars in the recent Pathfinder mission.

GEOL105 fieldtrip Sunlight Basin Wyoming
A field trip to the Sunlight Basin, Wyoming.

GEOLOGY MAJORS at Augustana study the fundamentals of the science, including mineralogy; igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary petrology; vertebrate and invertebrate paleontology; structural geology; hydrogeology; environmental geology; stratigraphy; geomorphology; and plate tectonics.

Geology is an interdisciplinary science, requiring knowledge of fundamentals of physics, chemistry, biology and mathematics.

The Geology Department emphasizes field experiences, offering numerous local and distant field trips every year and providing opportunities for student research during the summer and the school year.

Geology majors are well-prepared for graduate school in earth and environmental sciences or law, and many majors pursue careers in earth sciences, education, and business. Many geology majors also choose to minor in Environmental Studies at Augustana.