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Earth science

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A volcano eruption is the release of stored energy from below the surface of Earth. The heat comes mostly from radioactive decay, and convection, in the Earth's core and mantle.[1]

Earth science is an all-embracing term for the sciences related to the planet Earth.[2] Earth science may also be called geoscience.

It is a broader term than geology because it includes aspects of planetary science, which is part of astronomy. The Earth sciences include the study of the atmosphere, oceans and biosphere, as well as the solid earth. Typically Earth scientists will use tools from physics, chemistry, biology, chronology and mathematics to understand the Earth, and how it evolved to its current state.

If there is one fact which underlies all Earth science it is this: the Earth is an ancient planet which has been changing the whole time since its formation. The extent of the changes is much greater than people used to think.[3]

Fields of study

The OrdovicianSilurian boundary, an example of marine transgression as exposed on the Southern tip of the Hovedøya island, Norway. Due to the folding of the Caledonian mountain range, the layers have been inverted, leaving Ordovician granular limestone on top of the later Silurian brownish mudstone.

The following disciplines are generally recognised as being within the geosciences:

List of Earth science topics




Lithosphere or geosphere





  1. Encyclopedia of Volcanoes. Academic Press, London, 2000.
  2. Wordnet Search: Earth science
  3. Van Andel, Tjeerd 1994. New views on an old planet: a history of global change. 2nd ed, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge UK.
  4. Adams, Simon & Lambert, David 2006. Earth Science: an illustrated guide to science. New York NY 10001: Chelsea House. ISBN 0-8160-6164-5.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Smith, Gary A. & Pun, Aurora 2006. How does the Earth work?. Pearson Prentice Hall, NJ. ISBN 0-13-034129-0.
  6. Wordnet Search: Geodesy
  7. NOAA National Ocean Service Education: Geodesy
  8. Elissa Levine, 2001, The Pedosphere As A Hub
  9. Duane Gardiner, Lecture: Why study soils? excerpted from Miller R.W. & D.T. Gardiner, 1998. Soils in our environment, 8th Edition