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Geology (from Ancient Greek γῆ (gê) 'earth', and λoγία (-logía) 'study of, discourse') is a branch of natural science concerned with Earth and other astronomical objects, the rocks of which it is composed, and the processes by which they change over time. Modern geology significantly overlaps all other Earth sciences, including hydrology. It is integrated with Earth system science and planetary science.
Geology describes the structure of the Earth on and beneath its surface, and the processes that have shaped that structure. Geologists study the mineralogical composition of rocks in order to get insight into their history of formation. Geology determines the relative ages of rocks found at a given location; geochemistry (a branch of geology) determines their absolute ages. By combining various petrological, crystallographic and paleontological tools, geologists are able to chronicle the geological history of the Earth as a whole. One aspect is to demonstrate the age of the Earth. Geology provides evidence for plate tectonics, the evolutionary history of life, and the Earth's past climates.
Geologists broadly study the properties and processes of Earth and other terrestrial planets. Geologists use a wide variety of methods to understand the Earth's structure and evolution, including fieldwork, rock description, geophysical techniques, chemical analysis, physical experiments, and numerical modelling. In practical terms, geology is important for mineral and hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation, evaluating water resources, understanding natural hazards, remediation of environmental problems, and providing insights into past climate change. Geology is a major academic discipline, and it is central to geological engineering and plays an important role in geotechnical engineering.
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