Lesson 4: Geology and Seismic Testing


Geology! The word brings to mind dinosaurs, earthquakes, volcanoes, and, depending on how old you are, either Pierce Brosnan or The Rock. Geology encompasses all of these things (with the exception of Brosnan and The Rock), and much more. Simply put, geology is the study of earth processes through time. According to astronomers and physicists, the earth is 4.5 billion years old! A lot has happened in that time, and humanity has existed for only the smallest part of it.

The purpose of this lesson is to give you a general understanding of geologic principles, as a foundation for further lessons in this course. How do we know what we know about the earth? How do people know where to drill for oil? Where does oil and gas come from? These are just a few of the questions we will answer here.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this lesson, you should be able to:

  • Comprehend the basic geological history of the area and the resulting natural resources.
  • Gain an appreciation for geologic scales like time, depth, and distance.
  • Understand the process of locating oil and gas reservoirs, and the associated uncertainties.

Lesson Roadmap

Lesson Roadmap
To Read List reading assignments
To Do
  • Activity 1
  • Activity 2
  • Activity 3


If you have questions, or need further references you may contact Penn State hydrogeologist Dave Yoxtheimer, at the Earth & Environmental Systems Institute. His email address is day122@psu.edu.