Geology Course Journals

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1. Volcanoes

In this class, I learned about volcanoesformation, types of eruptions and their products and how to predictvolcanoes. I learned the composition of magma,a thing that I have always sought to know, after I learned aboutvolcanic eruptions. I discovered that magma is composed of crystalsas well as dissolved gas which exist in the liquid rock, and areexposed to the surface pf the earth during volcanic eruptions. I alsolearned the common volcanic land forms include: Shieldvolcanoes&nbspStrato-volcanoes/CompositeVolcanoes Cindercones and Craters and Calderas. Ilearned that these exist as eruptions, either effusive or explosiveeruptions.

This knowledge is important to me in that I canbe able to comprehend that these eruptions may be hazardous to thesurrounding homesteads and can lead to loss of lives and property dueto poisonous gases, hot pyroclasticlava and rock fragments. I canapply this knowledge through early detection of active volcanicactivity and evict people from these areas.

2. Earthquakes

In this class I learnt a lot about earthquakes,including their epicenters and focus, prediction and mitigation ofearthquakes and prevention mechanism. Earthquakes cause tsunamis andflooding. I also learnt about the land use and building policies tobe followed in earthquake prone areas. I learnt that earthquakes arecaused by the eruption of gradually accumulating strain energy alongfaults in the earth’s crust. This eruption may cause shaking ofearth, surface faulting and quake-induced ground failure such aslandslides and liquefaction. Earthquakes are measured in terms ofintensity and magnitude using both Mercalli index and Richter scalesrespectively.

The media and geological departments use thesescales to warn the public about the impending earthquakes. I havelearnt that houses should have concrete reinforced foundations andshould be built on the grounds with intact rock surface to reduceincidences of earthquake effects. One of the major quakes I haveexperienced is the 2014 San Francisco Earthquake a replica of the1975 quake in the same city.

3. Tsunamis

In this class, I learnt a lot about the possible causes of tsunamis,protective mechanism and warning signs in case of impending tsunamis.Tsunamis are seismic sea waves caused by displacement of largeamounts of water, especially in lakes and oceans. Tsunamis are as aresult of volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, landslides,Meteo-tsunamis, glacier calving and underwater detonations. Tsunamisare caused destruction via its large force of the water wall anddebris carried in the water leading to loss of lives and property.Many methods have been designed to detect and give warning ofimpending tsunamis.

This knowledge helped me to understand the different geographicalfeatures and area that is good to live in and travel destinations,such as the coastal areas in different regions like the Americancoastline. I have not experienced any tsunamis in my area, but I haveseen all the tragedies caused by tsunamis in various media stationsand newspapers especially the deadly 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

4. Coastal processes

In this topic, I learnt the various coastalprocesses which include erosion and deposition, protection,mitigation and land use regulations. I have also learnt aboutdifferent types of coasts. The coastal zone is influenced by marineprocess. It is a dynamic zone where marine and atmospheric processescause rocky coasts, beaches, dunes, tidal inlets and deltas. Coastalso supports various ecosystems such as marshes, mangroves, coralreefs and sea grass. Beaches contain sediments made up of sand,cobbles and boulders. These sediments are derived from land anddeposited via rivers, glaciers and shoreline erosion.

I have visited various coastlines, beaches andhave enjoyed the numerous ecosystems and coast sand during summers.It is prudent to conserve our coastlines in order to gain much fromthem. My holidays cannot be better without swimming and basking inthe coast sun and sand.

5. Rivers and Flooding

In thistopic, I learnt that flooding is due to heavy and continuousrainfall, which exceeds the absorptive capacity of soil and the flowcapacity of rivers, streams, and coastal areas. This causes awatercourse to overflow its banks onto adjacent lands calledfloodplains. I also learnt the importance of flooding as ageological process like deposition of good minerals onto adjacentland surfaces and transfer of good arable soil from upstream to thelowlands. I appreciated the river systems, land use in flood plains,features of rivers, erosion and deposition and building codes inthese areas.

From thisknowledge I will be able to characteristically carry out mitigationplans in flood prone areas in my area through different mitigationstrategies such as satellite mapping, high flow diversions, dams,sanitary and water regulations, erosion control, flood proofing andflood insurance programs.

6. Mineral resources

In this class, I appreciated the minerals thatexist on earth and defined various economic and strategic minerals. Iwas able to learn the government’s role in managing mineralresources. Minerals are naturally occurring and are usuallyinorganic. The various minerals include diamonds, gold, fluorspar,dynamites, soda ash, iron ore and much more (Keller,2011). The government plays amajor role in regulation of minerals in their respective countries.They come up with various policies to govern the ownership of miningrights, mining, taxation, foreign mining rights, and sales ofminerals and distribution of proceeds from such minerals.

With this knowledge am well equipped with thenecessary insight on mining operations and the important requirementsput forth by the government. In this country, we are endowed withmany mineral resources. The government has taken the initiative tocontrol and regulate the mining processes and averted the likelihoodof illegal mining by unscrupulous foreign miners.

7. Energy Resources

In this class, I learnt about all types ofenergy resources, reserves and locations. Energy resources are thingsthat produce energy or power used in the world to move objects, powerlife and produce electricity. The major key energy resources includesolar energy, gravity generated on earth and moon, nuclear energy,energy in the earth’s interior and energy in chemical bonds(Keller,2011). Fossil fuels from livingmatter produce the non-renewable energy used mostly in the worldtoday. Fossil fuels include petroleum and coal. These are the widelyused energy sources and are formed from decomposed organic matterwhich has been subjected to pressure for a long period of time on theearth’s crust.

Geological knowledge attained from this lessonwill guide me in the proper use of energy and avoid any misuse.Energy conservation is very important if we have to prospereconomically. Through this knowledge we will conserve the forests andplants to avoid climatic changes and adverse pollutions of theenvironment.

8. Water Resources

In this session, I was able to appreciate allthe earthly water resources, such as the ground water sources,aquifers, and surface waters. We also learnt on replenishment ofaquifers and artesian wells. Ground waters are waters fromunderground, which comes to the surface through springs and wells.Ground water plays a major role in the hydrologic cycle and has over20% of fresh water on earth. It is also, important in supplying waterto rivers and wetlands.

Through this knowledge I am well equipped inwater conservation and sanitary practices. All water conservationpractices require us to have the basic knowledge of the sources ofthe fresh water. Everyone requires fresh water for drinking andtherefore, it is mandatory to retain all fresh water sources in goodcondition. Many programs have been aired on our televisions and othermedia centers to support the need for fresh water sourceconservation.

9. Soil and Land as a Resource

In this class I learnt a lot about the land andsoil. I learned things that affect the best management of the naturalresources. There are a number of challenges to proper use of naturalresources including the human activities that degrade the soul. Soildegradation is the reduction in quality soil after prolonged use.

Many human activities have led to muchdestruction of soil through bad land use practices. I have noticedmuch desertification after deforestation, which has caused a lot ofadverse effects on human populations. Food scarcity tops the list.Every day the media brings up stories about people suffering fromhunger in different parts of the world. I have experienced theintensity of the matter when I visited a village in Asia, which wasinflicted with food shortages. This knowledge will help me come upwith better ideas on land use and regulations.

10. Society’s Waste as a Resource.

In this lecture I learned the benefits ofrenewing the waste matter to provide energy or new products. I learntthe different societal waste products ranging from fecal matter,factory effluents, hydrocarbon wastes, technological wastes amongothers. The common waste matter is the organic fecal matters frompeople and animals. All these can be treated and used to produceclean water (after filtration and treatment) produce energy such asbiogas and electricity produce other products such as farmyardmanure from cow dung. I therefore learned that waste management isvital in the society.

Through this knowledge I can be able to utilizethe necessary waste resources to produce energy and recycledproducts. I have seen many people make money through such venturesand this is both environmentally friendly (green energy and pollutionreduction) and economically viable. I am now abreast with all thenecessary processes involved in waste product management.

11. Global Climate Change and EnvironmentalGeology

This lecture helped me to gain more insight onthe thorny issue of climate change. Many nations of the world todaywith the United Nations Organization in the forefront looking forways to reduce climate change for environmental sustainability.Climate change is related to geological processes on earth. Climatechange involves changes in the accumulation of greenhouse gases,especially carbon dioxide. The depletion of the ozone layer due toaccumulation of Carbon dioxide through various human processes suchas air pollution from hydrocarbon fuels has increased the amount ofsunlight rays reaching the earth surfaces (Keller,2011). This has led to moremountain snow, ice and glacier melt, which in turn increases thewater levels. This causes tsunamis and hurricanes. More sunlightcauses skin cancers in people. This knowledge has opened my eyes onbetter strategies to minimize climate change and geological processesthat come with it.

12. Politics and Environmental Geology

In this class, I learnt a lot about the variouspolitical and environmental geological interactions. Here Iappreciated the influence the political class and political policieshas on the environmental geology, relevance of scientific methods inthe face of politics and an understanding of scientist’s reluctanceto comment on possible geological processes. Political class usuallymakes the policies in absolutely all sectors of the country. Theydetermine the news that can reach the public from the scientists tomake sure public worry is subverted.

Through this knowledge, I can appreciate therole of the government in policy formulation, geological processesmonitoring and warning signs put in place to allow public evictionsand preparedness. I can candidly, argue my support for good policyformulations as well as better geological management. The publicdepends on such policies for their safety in case of naturaldisasters.


Lecture Notes on Environmental Geology. GEOL1208.2., 24, February 2016

Keller, E.A.(2011). EnvironmentalGeology.UpperSaddle River:PearsonPrentice Hall