Rock Around the World

Rock Around The World

Why Should We Study Rocks?

Geologists study rocks because they contain clues about what the Earth was like in the past. We can assemble a historical record of a planet and trace events that occurred long before humans roamed our planet. For example, one particular area may have experienced changes as extreme as changing from a desert to a swamp to a coral reef under the sea. Different rocks form under only certain conditions and even the dullest gray lump of a rock can tell us something important about the past. Some types of things that rocks can tell us about our planet as well as other planets are:

  • Was there a lake or a volcano present where the rock was found?
  • Was there a mountain range or a sea?
  • Was it hot or cold?
  • Was the atmosphere thick or thin?

These things are important for a number of reasons.

First, by studying how the Earth and other planets worked in the past, we can better understand how they are working today. This helps us understand our effects on the environment and its potential effects on us. For example, by understanding where earthquakes have occurred in the past, we have a much better idea of where they are likely to occur in the future and can be prepared for them. Second, by gaining an understanding of how planets work, we can better predict how the Earth will react to changes. For example, if we understand how the Earth and its life responded to temperature changes in the past, we might better understand the effects of the global warming that is happening today.

So the basic point is to better understand our world. This helps us to better coexist with nature and reap the benefits that it has to offer.

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