The elements of geology are all around us: in the ground beneath our feet, in the mountains we climb, in the rivers we swim. A plethora of information on geology, the study thereof and its impact on your life is available online—but there’s so much, it’s easy to get lost. We’ve gone through it all and did the hard work for you. Best Online College has compiled the most useful sites about geology and its related fields, with short descriptions to help you find exactly what you’re looking for quickly and easily.
Whether you’re hoping to find a colorful, kid-friendly page like “Earth—Our World in Motion” at the American Museum of Natural History or an interactive, multimedia guide like that of “The Dynamic Earth” at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History or a more in-depth analysis like the course lecture notes at Massachusetts Institute of Technology Introduction to Geology, you’ll find it here.
The word “geology” means “the study of the earth”. It comes from the Greek “ge,” meaning “earth,” and “logos,” meaning “word, speech or discourse.” Geology is the study of the earth—particularly its structure, origin, history and composition. Study of earthquakes, tectonic plates, volcanoes, types of rocks, and the formation of landforms (islands, mountain ranges, valleys, and others) all fall into the category of geology.
American Geological Institute: AGI provides information services to geoscientists, serves as a voice of shared interests in our profession, plays a major role in strengthening geoscience education, and strives to increase public awareness of the vital role the geosciences play in society’s use of resources, resilience to natural hazards, and the health of the environment. It also provides practical information on geoscience careers, including essays by various professionals in related fields.
British Geological Survey: A world-leading geoscience centre for survey and monitoring; modelling and research; data and knowledge. Their website includes information on British geology, carbon capture, earthquakes, landslides, groundwater, and other geology topics. It includes sections on their research, data and free resources for teachers and students that include geological time-lines, reports, historical photographs and more.
Collecting Rocks (USGS) : This site features an article by Rachel M. Barker at the United States Geological Society on rock collecting. It includes information on rock identification, the geological formation of different rocks, and where to find specific rock types.
Earth Science Week: State Geological Surveys : This website provides links to information on state geological surveys for the fifty U.S. states. Each state’s site provides information on a variety of topics specific to the region, such as geological mapping, mineral and energy resources, hydrogeology, and local earthquakes.
Geology.com : Geology.com includes maps and satellite images of areas of geologic interest, information on current events in geology, examinations of geologic phenomena, and other helpful geology-related information.
Geology.com Terms and Definitions : Geology.com’s dictionary section provides a comprehensive source for definitions of commonly used terms and phrases relating to geology.
GeologyRocks : Written and maintained by Dr. Jon Hill and Dr. Katie Davis, GeologyRocks provides tutorials on a variety of geology-based topics, as well as photographs and diagrams for further study. The site also includes a glossary of terms and a community section that includes forums where more specific geology questions can be answered by other users as well as by the site’s operators.
National Park Service : The National Park Service website includes information on the geology of the United States National Parks—including information on caves, fossils, sand dunes, hot springs, glaciers, shorelines, and volcanoes.
Paleomap Project : The Paleomap Project, created and managed by Christopher R. Scotese, includes illustrations of plate tectonic development as well as an earth history section exploring the development of mountain ranges and other geologic phenomena. The site also includes sections on climate history and animations of plate tectonics.
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History : The Museum of Natural History’s “The Dynamic Earth”—a multimedia presentation also available as a printable version—is an interactive examination of various aspects of geology. It includes examinations of such subjects as plate tectonics and volcanoes, rocks and mining, gems and minerals, and the solar system.
United States Geological Service : The U.S. Geological Service site contains research and other information relating to the geology of the United States, including earthquake and volcano monitoring as well as geological mapping data and information on natural resources.
USGS Frequently Asked Questions : The U.S. Geological Service’s Frequently Asked Questions page contains hundreds of frequently asked questions—and their answers—about geology and earth science.
California Institute of Technology : The California Institute of Technology site for the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences includes descriptions of CalTech’s programs of study within geology, information about research being conducted, and a news page featuring current events in geology. Information about related seminars held at the school is also available.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Introduction to Geology : The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is part of the OpenCourseWare consortium, which provides online access to resources used in selected courses. This website contains most of the course materials for the undergraduate Introduction to Geology course at MIT, taught by Prof. Lindy Elkins-Tanton, including lecture notes, syllabus, assignments, handouts, and other resources.
Northern Arizona University : Professor of Geology Ron Blakey’s site includes his work on paleogeography and sedimentary geology, including specific work on the geology of the Colorado Plateau. It includes a helpful overview of paleogegraphy within the geologic timeframe.
University of California Davis : The Geology Department at the University of California Davis maintains this site with brief synopses of current geological events. The synopses are accompanied by links to press coverage of these events—such as landslides, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes.
University of California Museum of Paleontology : The University of California Museum of Paleontology’s Geology Wing site provides an interactive explanation of the geologic time scale with specific information available about each time period. The site also contains an exhibit on plate tectonics, including information on the history and mechanics of plate tectonics accompanied by animated visual aids.
University of Colorado : This site presents a student-created map of the Tectonics of the Western United States as well as information on various western U.S. geological phenomena, such as the San Andreas Fault, and information on the different time periods in geological history.
University of Idaho Geological Sciences : The University of Idaho’s Department of Geological Sciences site collects information on geology research at the University. The site includes information on research on hydrogeology, Alaskan icefields, mineralogy, geomechanics, and geomicrobiology, among others.
Whitman Geology : The Whitman College geology site has information on academic aids for geology, such as tutorials on using Excel, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, and other programs. The site also features links, local geology projects, a geological tour of I-90, and a photo album.
Yale University Geology and Geophysics : Yale’s Department of Geology and Geophysics site provides descriptions of research being conducted on such topics as geochemistry, paleontology, climate dynamics, and the physics of the earth’s interior. Each description contains a short background explanation of the topic, as well as more specific information on the research being conducted.
American Museum of Natural History : The American Museum of Natural History’s “Earth—Our World in Motion” site includes a video interview with geologist Ed Mathez and kid-friendly information on tectonic plates and deep sea vents, as well as quizzes, experiments, and projects for kids. This interactive site is colorful, easy to navigate, and presents concepts in a fun, kid-friendly format.
California Department of Conservation: Kids GeoZone : The California Department of Conservation’s website includes the Kids GeoZone, with suggestions for geology experiments and projects, such as growing crystals, creating “fossils” made of coffee grounds, and building a model volcano.
Johnston Geology Museum : The Johnston Geology Museum site provides a virtual tour of the museum (at Emporia State University in Emporia, Kansas), including photographs and short descriptions of fossils, minerals, and other artifacts housed in the museum.
Kidipede : Kidipede provides information on plate tectonics, volcanoes, earthquakes, geological eras, the earth’s core, and other topics.
NASA Careers: Geologist : This site presents information on geology as a career path as well as links to other National Air and Space Administration pages related to earth science.
One Geology Kids : One Geology’s kid-friendly site provides geological information—led by cartoon characters—on earthquakes, volcanoes, geology around the world, rocks and minerals, fossils and dinosaurs, and other topics.
USGS Earthquakes for Kids : Part of the U.S. Geological Service’s Earthquake Hazards Program, this site provides information aimed at kids on earthquake facts and history in addition to earthquake-related project ideas, puzzles, and games.