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Monday, May 30, 2022

Review: How the Earth Works

 How the Earth Works is a Great Courses audio/video series on geology. I never took a geology class in college and thought it would be interesting and was not disappointed in the course. It covers many topics, including astronomy, biology, ecology, hydraulics, plate tectonics and even earthquakes. I was astounded by the breadth and depth of Professor Wysession's work.

Over the course of 24+ hours, we get answers to questions like:

  • Could that scene in the Superman movie where Kal-El squeezes a lump of coal into a diamond ever work? (The answer is no, because in addition to pressure it also takes time to form diamonds from coal)
  • Why are the minerals on the planet clustered together in mineable form rather than scattered diffusedly over the planet's crust?
  • How do plate tectonics work?
  • Why are the deepest parts of the Ocean close to the continental plates rather than in the middle of the Ocean?
  • Can we predict earthquakes?
  • How likely is it that there's another earth-like planet in the galaxy? (the answer will surprise and disappoint you)
  • How were the underground aquifers created? How is the water in them replenished?
  • Why do underground caves not just collapsed instead of being formed?
I really enjoyed this series and will probably listen to it again. If you skipped geology classes in college, this class is for you. Highly recommended!

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