Greeks, Gods, and Gold – The Story of Geology!

Welcome to ‘Fossils on Friday!’

To begin with, we will be discussing the word ‘geology’. It starts with the same word as ‘geography’ – so it must be connected right?  Right!

Geo is the word we use in science when referring to the Earth. It comes from Gaia – the Greek goddess of the Earth, shortened to ‘geo’, and then inserted in words like ‘geography’, ‘geology’ and ‘geometry’. ‘Logy’ comes from the Greek word ‘Logia’, meaning ‘study of’ or ‘to study’. So, what does ‘geology’ mean?  Study of the Earth, of course!

While geography (mapping/describing of the earth) is technically geology, geology usually refers to the study of rocks, and what the earth is made of. But that still covers a lot! You could be watching volcanoes, digging up fossils, mining for gold, smashing rocks in a quarry, or studying rocks on the moon – it’s all geology!

The name was actually invented in the 14th century by Richard de Bury, who was the Bishop of Durham!

Geology affects our everyday lives in many hidden ways.

Think about a basic morning: You get up and put your dressing gown on – which is made from polyester, a plastic made from oil found in the rocks. You go to the bathroom where you visit the loo (made from clay ceramic – mined out of the ground), brush your teeth (with calcium and fluoride – all mined!), and wash your face (minerals in the water determine how ‘hard’ or ‘soft’ the water is). Downstairs, breakfast is popped-rice (rice only grows well in clay-rich soil, where it floods), and milk (grass grows best where there is calcium minerals in the soil, which the cows eat). And that’s just breakfast!

So join us every Friday to learn about geology – from fossils to rocks, minerals to mountains, and learn the wonders hidden in the Earth around Britain!