Earth Sciences is the study of solid planet Earth, its waters and the air surrounding it. Earth is the 3rd planet away from the Sun and the 5th largest planet in the solar system both in term of size and mass.
Earth scientists are for example interested in locating mineral resources, understanding the impact of human activity on Earth, predict natural disasters (volcanoes, earthquakes, hurricanes). They largely rely on fieldwork where they measure, sample (rocks, fossils, water) and analyse their findings. Their daily fieldwork is not just limited to interior labs but also climbing in mountains, exploring underwater or crawling in caves.
Studying the Earth’s outer shell (lithosphere), liquid elements of Earth (hydrosphere including liquid water, ice, snow), Earth’s gas layers (atmosphere) and Earth’s ecosystems (Biosphere) are thus of main interest.
The CPD accredited courses are carefully crafted to help you gain in-depth knowledge on a topic of your interest.
Such fields can mainly be divided in 4 branches:
- Geology (Science of the Earth): focuses on the composition of the Earth’s materials and all Earth processes such as the formation of mountains resulting from subduction (downward movement of a Earth’s beneath another) and later collision. Geologists are also interested in understanding how our planet has evolved at a geological time scale (Precambrian, Paleozoic, Mesozoic, Cenozoic era) as well as the emergence of life such as dinosaur presence.
- Meteorology (Science of the Atmosphere): studies the Earth’s atmosphere and how its processes can affect the Earth’s weather and climate. Studying the weather is particularly important in our daily lives not only to prepare for rain or plan for a picnic but also to predict storms or torpedoes. Meteorologists also analyse how climate is impacted by human action and as a result how they should protect the Earth’s environment and populations.
- Oceanography (Science of the Oceans): oceans make up about 70% of our planet and play key roles in leisure (diving, snorkelling), natural resources (minerals, food), tourism (sight-seeing, boats) and job creation (fisherman, navy). Oceans are also used as a mean to provide energy as such understanding their composition, movement and processes are very important. The Oceans affect weather and may contribute to natural disasters (tsunamis). Oceanographers have to find a balance between using rich oceanic resources while protecting it from excessive human activity.
- Astronomy (Science of the Universe): you may wonder how space has any impact of the Earth. These may convince you as the Moon explains the ocean’s tides while the Sun affects weather and climate on our planet. Astronomers can also use all the knowledge obtained on Earth (processes, composition) to understand other planets as well. However some argue that this is also a major limitation in that astronomers seek for “Earth-like traits” when they should expect completely different characteristics for example different life building blocks.