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Geology: Extension GCSE

Geology is the study of the structure, evolution and dynamics of the Earth and its natural mineral and energy resources. It provides the primary evidence for plate tectonics, the evolutionary history of life, and the Earth's past climates. Geology also involves the study of the Moon and Mars.

Many of the problems the world faces today can be solved by geologists. Experts are in constant demand for advice and study of natural hazards, dwindling resources and climate change.

There are four key themes in geology:

  • rock exposures contain evidence of how rocks were formed and subsequently deformed
  • major concepts and techniques underpin our current understanding of the Earth and its history
  • comparisons of the Earth with other planetary bodies within the Solar System (provide evidence for the origin and evolution of both)
  • human interaction with the Earth can increase or reduce risk of Earth hazards.

Regular hands-on practical activities will be undertaken in the laboratory and in the field.

The content of the course is summarised in the table below:

1.1 Minerals

2.3 Geochronological principles

1.2 Igneous rocks and processes

2.4 Global Climate and sea level change

1.3 Sedimentary rocks and their fossil content

2.5 The origin and development of life on earth

1.4 Metamorphic rocks and processes

3.1 Planetary geology

1.5 Deformational structures

4.1 Earth hazards and their mitigation

2.1 The rock cycle

4.2 Earth resources and engineering

2.2 Plate tectonics

4.3 Practical skills and field work

Assessment is at the end of the course by two papers:

Paper 1: Geological principles. 1 hour 15 minutes 50% of the qualification

Paper 2: Investigative geology. 1 hour 30 minutes 50% of the qualification