Understand Earth Systems

Questions Earth Scientists want to understand

Earth Science studies are critically important to modern society.  An understanding of the rocks and minerals that make up the solid Earth, and how these materials interact with the atmosphere, the world water supply, and living organisms provides the foundation for all natural and environmental sciences.  All of these factors are critical for understanding how the Earth has changed in the past and how it may change in the future.

On a daily basis, humans utilize mineral and energy resources and require water for drinking, industrial purposes and crop irrigation.  Our lives are disrupted by natural disasters such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and landslides.  As communities, we grapple with the issues of environmental contamination and global climate change.  At a higher level we struggle to understand human origins and the origins of life on our planet, and we wonder about the possibility of life on other planets.


It is through our knowledge of earth science that we can discover sources of energy (coal, oil, gas, uranium, geothermal), mineral resources (iron, copper, nickel, etc.), and fresh water. Understanding the dynamic nature of the Earth’s crust and interior also helps us to predict and avoid natural hazards.  

Information preserved in rocks and minerals tells the incredible story of the Earth’s 4.6 billion year history.  Studying fossils and the rocks in which they are found gives us insight into how life has diversified from its humble beginnings as single cell bacteria to the myriad of life forms we see today.  Studying the rock record gives us insight into past environmental changes, from which we may be able to make predictions about how the Earth could change in the future.

At VIU we offer a wide variety of courses in Earth Science to help you achieve a deeper understanding of the materials and processes that shape our planet.  Most of our courses will provide you with opportunities to consider the interactions between humans and the Earth’s systems, for better or for worse.  Options to further your Earth Science education at VIU range from single general interest courses that will help you become a more aware citizen of the Earth, to the BSc, Minor in Earth Science that will enhance your geoscience knowledge as part of a BA or BSc degree, to a BSc Major in Geoscience that could prepare you to work as a Professional Geoscientist.

Click this link to learn more about studying Earth Science or Geoscience at VIU

Learn more about career opportunities for Earth Scientists and Geoscientists