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How can I Have Fun While Exploring Geology?

Article Details
  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Images By: Stanisa Martinovic, Kerstiny, Wavebreakmediamicro, Patrick Kuhl
  • Last Modified Date: 19 November 2016
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Exploring geology does not have to be dull. The history of the Earth and the composition of the materials found on its surface is actually quite fascinating, and someone who is mildly interested in geology can have a great deal of fun learning about geology. Whether one is exploring geology for recreation or educational purposes, there are a number of approaches to learning about geology which can be incorporated to make it enjoyable.

One of the great things about geology is that it is often best studied in the field. People who find classrooms stifling and dull may enjoy the opportunity to get outside to explore geology, and many sites of geological interest are also of general interest. Enthusiast organizations often organize trips for exploring geology, in which people are taken to sites of geological interest. Many offer tours of multiple sites, and people may be able to engage in activities like bird watching, visiting museums, and so forth along the way.

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Finding a good instructor is another way to make exploring geology fun. An enthusiastic, engaged instructor with a good sense of humor can make learning about geology enjoyable and dynamic, which will make classes more fun in addition to helping people retain information. One way to find a good instructor is to ask around in a community to see if anyone has taken classes with a particular instructor or if anyone has recommendations. It is also possible to find ratings and evaluations for teachers online, which can give a general idea of whether or not an instructor will be interesting to work with.

People who are exploring geology for recreational reasons might also want to think about ways to get involved with a particular area of interest. For example, a young child who is interested in dinosaurs might enjoy visiting a dig where fossils are being uncovered, providing an opportunity to learn about geology in a setting which is interesting and fun. Being able to actively participate in geological research and exploration can also be a good way to explore geology; a college student, for example, might enjoy a summer working under the supervision of a geologist. Rather than learning in the abstract, hands-on learning can be more engaging and memorable.

Finding interesting texts is also important. Some people enjoy exploring geology with the assistance of roadside geology guides which provide information about specific areas. People can take such guides into their back yards or along on trips to learn more about an environment or location which interests them. Other geology texts vary in quality and accessibility, making it a wise idea to evaluate a text before purchase to see whether or not it will be suitable.

People who are more interested in the humanities might try linking geology with something else of interest. For example, historians may find that some topics in geology dovetail with their interests, as they explore topics like historic building materials, how geology influenced human settlements, and so forth.

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bythewell
Post 3

@Mor - I would be particularly interested in a book where they explored the way cultures outside the West saw the Earth. Almost every one I've read has been from a Euro-centric, Christian point of view and that can be a bit frustrating.

I also think, if you're going to be teaching geology to youngsters that you should put a lot of emphasis on discovery. It doesn't have to be fossils either. You can go looking for crystals or metals or interesting land-forms and make it into a kind of treasure hunt.

Mor
Post 2

@KoiwiGal - I'm currently reading a book about the birth of geology as a science and I never realized how instrumental it was in shaping modern day thought about the world and our place in it. I guess I've taken for granted that humans understand that the land changes over time and that volcanoes and tectonic shifts push the ground up and other forces grind it down again.

But even a few hundred years ago that wasn't an accepted idea. People thought that God created the Earth relatively recently and it never changed. So when they found fossils of seashells on the tops of mountains they didn't have a clue how to fit that into their worldview.

Historical geology has a

lot of colorful characters, simply because they needed strong personalities to go up against the established dogma. It's definitely worth reading a book with the stories of who actually came up with modern theories, rather than just a book of modern theory.
KoiwiGal
Post 1

I think, if you don't have any direct interest in exploring geology, linking it with something you are interested in is the best way to go. Geology is extremely underrated as the foundation for a lot of different subjects. It was the study of geology that brought about revolutions in industry (with the discovery and exploitation of different minerals), religion, culture, biology and so forth.

If you have any interest in any of those subjects then studying geology, or the history of geology can help you to explore them further.

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