What is Geology?
Geology is the science that deals with the earth’s physical structure and substance, its history, and the processes that act on it.
Geology of Ireland
For a relatively small area, 70,000 km2 Ireland has a diverse geology. One of the most interesting aspects of the geology of Ireland is studying its origins.
Studies of plate tectonics tell us that Ireland once had a very different setting. Hundreds of millions of years ago the land that makes up Ireland as we know it today existed on two continents known as Laurentia and Gondwana that were separated by an ocean called Iapetus. The northern part of Ireland was located on the continent of Laurentia, preserved as parts of modern North American.
The southern part of Ireland was located on Gondwana, now preserved as large parts of Europe, Africa and Australia.
The land that is now Ireland then moved north close to the equator, at this time, known as the Carboniferous period, a sea extended across Ireland allowing for the for the formation of sedimentary rocks such as sandstone and mudstone. Over the next 50 million years limestone deposits formed in the warm waters.
Life as a Geoscientist
Geologists are the scientists who study geology. Geology is such a broad area that there are many types of geologists or geoscientists who do different types of jobs. These jobs range from studying the earth’s processes including hazards like volcanoes, earthquakes or landslides, to studying the earth’s materials looking for new resources such as minerals or raw materials, to studying the earth’s history and using this to anticipate the earth’s future.