The first association you may have with geoscience are the landscapes - from high mountains and steep cliffs of the Alps to the wide open flatlands of NW France. These landscapes, their evolution, the rivers and glaciers that flow through them, the nature of the soils, and the hazards that they contain, such as landslides, are studied by a field of geoscience known as physical geography. Processes that shaped the modern landscapes are typically on the order of hundreds of thousands of years or less.

The realm below these landscapes contains a record of a much longer history, of millions to billions of years. Geological processes such as sedimentation and volcanism make kilometers-thick piles of rock. These piles contain an archive of the geography of the past, but also life and climate, in the form of fossils and the chemical compounds they contain. At the edges of tectonic plates, these rocks become folded and broken, uplifted and eroded. They are buried and change their mineralogy, they may melt in places, fluids move through them, ore deposits form, earthquakes happen, volcanoes erupt. And the study of the rock record and the long-term reconstruction of the history of the Earth’s geography, climate, life, deformation, and mineralization is covered by the field of geology. And even deeper parts of the Earth, beyond tens of kilometers, is the realm of which the only abundant records come from lavas brought up from the deep studied by geochemistry, or where we use waves or magnetic fields to image Earth’s interior and its processes, studied by geophysics.

Each blog will briefly explain a geo-process that is related to that day’s stage. If you want to know more, find us on Twitter. And if you want to know more about a study in geoscience, check out the institutes where the blog writers work, all over Europe. And maybe we will see you in the field!