How do we read the rocks?

  • Exhibition Text

    • How has the Earth evolved? Why are there ocean basins, continents, and mountains? What causes climate and climate change? Why is the Earth habitable? The answers to questions like these are buried beneath our feet. The rocks are the evidence, but to learn from them we must know how to read them. This leads to our fifth question: How do we read the rocks? The rocks around you have been collected to answer the questions posed by this exhibition. Each rock provides its own unique piece of the Earth’s story.

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  • For Educators

    • Topic: Earth Science

      Subtopic: Earth Formation/Evolution

      Keywords: Geology, Earth (Planet)--Surface, Earth (Planet)--History, Rocks

      Audience: General

In This Section

Rethinking Earth history

Rethinking Earth history

Until the end of the 18th century, scientists believed that the Earth was no more than a few thousand years old.

The father of geology

The father of geology

The Scottish naturalist James Hutton (1726-1797) is known as the father of geology because of his attempts to formulate geological principles based on observations of rocks.

Dating rocks

Dating rocks

In order to understand geological processes, we need to envision time periods far greater than the hourly, daily, and yearly progression that dominates our everyday lives.