The Difference Between Geography And Geology
While the two are studies of the earth, there is a big difference between geography and geology.
For starters, let’s look at the common prefix and the two suffixes of the two words.
Geo- stands for earth, -graphy stands for draw or record, and -ology stands for study or knowledge. Therefore geography is a study of the physical earth and geology is an insightful study of the earth.
And now that the basics are out of the way, what is the difference between geography and geology?
A lot; but for a better grasp, we will look at geography and geology individually, so as to understand what each of the two involves.
What is geography?
Geography is a field of study that deals with the physical features of the earth, including the seas, mountains and the countries of the world. A student of Geography therefore studies how the surface of the earth is differentiated, how factors such as elevation, climate, soil, vegetation, land use, industries, population and countries interact with each other.
To make this study more manageable, geography is divided into two main branches of study namely:
- Human geography
- Physical geography
However, geography can be divided into many sub-branches representing the various factors of the earth and the environment.
For our purposes, we will have regional geography as a sub-branch of physical geography, thus;
- Human geography
- Physical geography
- Regional geography
Human geography looks at human relationships and their effects on the earth’s environment. It includes population density, language patterns, politics, religion and architecture as well as cultural and economic interactions with the environment.
Other important factors in human geography include human dependence on the environment and how humans modify and adapt to the environment. It also looks at the effects of human movement on the earth, including migration dynamics and the differentiation of residential and work places.
Physical geography deals with the physical characteristics of the earth such as; bodies of water, climate, soils, natural vegetation and animal life. It also includes characteristics that are a result of human activities. These include houses, bridges, parks and land use.
Regional geography looks at different regions of the earth and by using various factors, determines the similarities or differences of the regions. Such comparisons are made on the basis of physical characteristics such as land forms, mountain ranges, natural vegetation, soil and climate. Regional geography helps to divide the earth into various major regions based on their similarities.
What is geology?
Geology is a scientific study dealing with what the earth is made of. It also looks at the earth’s physical history, the physical, chemical and biological changes that it has undergone or is undergoing, and the processes by which the earth has become what it is today. This includes studying the rocks, minerals, soils, beaches, ocean basins, fossils and volcanoes.
Geology thus involves studying the foundations of the earth, including tectonic plates and the movements that have shaped and continue to shape the earth. It also incorporates the studies of earthquakes and Tsunamis, and the natural wonders of the world.
Origin and evolution of the earth
Students of geology study the origin and evolution of the earth in order to understand;
- How the earth came to be
- how it works
- why it behaves the way it does
- why the earth is a dynamic system
Structure of the earth’s interior
This includes studies of what the earth’s interior is like and how this affects its continued existence. The studies cover;
- origin and nature of the earth’s magnetic field
- tectonic plates and how they interact with one another
- origin and evolution of continents, mountains and ocean basins
- the sources and limitations of energy and mineral resources
Summary of the difference between geography and geology
In summary, the major difference between geography and geology is that geography deals with what is physical while the geology deals with what lies below and beyond the physical.
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