October 15, 2012

Celebrating Planet Earth!

While perusing the internet for topics for today’s posts, I found this article on redOrbit announcing that as of Sunday, October 14, 2012, we are in the midst of Earth Science Week. Of all the sciences, I love Earth Sciences, also known as geosciences, the most. Though I love being an English professor and writer, I often consider what my life would have been like had I pursued my other interest in the geosciences. I love them and find them fascinating. That’s why I’m so excited about this week honoring the Earth Sciences.

This year, Earth Science Week’s theme is “Discovering Careers in the Earth Sciences,” so I thought a little list of those fields of study would be beneficial:

  • Geology
  • Physical Geography
  • Geophysics
  • Soil Science
  • Oceanography
  • Glaciology
  • Atmospheric Sciences

And what’s great is that some of these break down even further into field-specific careers, too:

  • Geology—mineralogy and petrology, geochemistry, geomorphology, paleontology, stratigraphy, structural geology, engineering geology, and sedimentology
  • Physical Geography—geomorphology, soil study, hydrology, meteorology, climatology, biogeography.
  • Geophysics—geodesy, and careers exploring the Earth’s core, mantel, tectonic, and seismic activity.
  • Oceanography—hydrology, limnology, hydrogeology, physical oceanography, chemical oceanography, and biological oceanography.
  • Atmospheric Sciences—meteorology, climatology, atmospheric chemistry, and atmospheric physics.

Of all these careers opportunities, I am most interested in geology and geophysics. This is the field of study I would have chosen to pursue, but since I did not, this is now the area of study I am most interested in and choose to research and follow as a hobby. I do like the other areas of Earth Science, but I just really like geology and geophysics. They’re fascinating and cover so much of the Natural World’s past, present, and future.

Geology caught my attention even before I was in school. I loved rocks. I collected them, learned about them, catalogued them. Clearly, mineralogy, sedimentology, and geophysics interested me, only I didn’t know those terms. In grade school my teacher introduced me to paleontology. I loved the lessons on our prehistoric world. The thought of creatures as large as some of the dinosaurs inspired me. I wanted to learn more about these prehistoric beasts. Then we went to the Natural History Museum, and I was a goner. Geology had me from then on.

Every time I could, I took classes in the field. I went to lectures, read stories, and researched what was current in the field, and even today, I spend time updating myself on geology. All the areas of study are just too interesting. It doesn’t hurt that I camp and hike in areas specifically to study the geology. Geology was just the start of my slippery slope into the Earth Sciences, and that’s a slip I’m happy about.

What I further like about the Earth Sciences is that they deal with philosophy to some extent. They do not just focus on the science of the studies, but also discuss and incorporate philosophy. I mean, one cannot pursue paleontology without considering the affect this field of study will have on beliefs. I like that these areas challenge beliefs. I’m not saying that people should not have beliefs nor am I alluding that I do not have beliefs. However, I do believe that we should know why we believe what we believe and challenge those to strengthen them. The geosciences do just that. I doubt that people pursue this field because of that, but it does naturally come from this field. Perhaps that is the case with all of the sciences.

I’m so excited about Earth Science Week! I hope that you look into the fields of study more, and find yourself just as taken as I did so many years ago. redOrbit’s reporter, April Flowers, does a wonderful job of discussing some events associated with Earth Science Week, so definitely check out her article by clicking on the hyperlink above. And spread the word.

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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