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Geology is an earth science that deals with the solid Earth, mostly concerning the rocks that compose the planet and the processes by which they change over time. It can also include the study of any other terrestrial planet or natural satellite, meaning Mars and the Moon can be a part of it too. But sticking to the planet that we live on, private geology tutors can be a great way to learn about our planet, especially if you are interested in the physical natural disasters that occur, such as earthquakes and volcanoes.
These are caused by shifting tectonic plates, which are the separate portions of the upper mantle in the earth’s crust that move over time. The plates converge and cause subduction, which is where one plate is forced underneath the other by gravity. This squishing together leads to energy building up, which is released through earthquakes. It also creates volcanic arcs, which can lead to eruptions along the subducting plate.
One of the most famous subductions in America is along the San Andrea Fault in California, which is the boundary between the Pacific and North American plates. The plates move in opposite directions, causing lots of energy to release. Large earthquakes in 1857 and 1906 hit the northern section of the fault, but the southern section has not seen a similar rupture in at least 300 years. In Los Angeles, small earthquakes are a common reality, happening almost yearly like a snow day in school, but you do not get any time off. The quakes are usually short and painless, maybe knocking over a couple of picture frames, but not much more. A lot of people do not even notice or sleep right through if they are at night.
Part of where geology intersects with other professions is in earthquake preparedness, especially in the field of architecture. Buildings must be designed with the ecological realities of the area in mind, which means that many California buildings are designed to withstand earthquake level shaking. The designs make it so buildings flex without snapping or holding the improper shape. This is a form of geotechnical engineering that is vitally important. It goes beyond just buildings and extends to other civil necessities like roads and bridges.
When you search for geology tutors near me, you can find options that can teach you whatever you want to know about the earth’s crust and its movement.
I took a class on Natural Disasters in school and it was one of the most fascinating classes that I took. One lesson on earthquakes was interesting enough with the images and videos that we saw, but my professor decided to amp things up with a shake table. The device, on a small scale, was used to simulate the ground movement you might experience during an earthquake. It was not something that we all stood on, instead, allowing us to put models on top and test their structural stability with the help of the device. We were separated into small groups and given a set of materials that we could use to build a structure. There was a requirement to reach a certain number of floors, compromising the stability, and our goal was to create something that had the proper design to withstand shaking. Basically, you wanted to build something that would bend under the stress, but not break.
It was lessons like this that really made the subject fun and this is the kind of stuff that you get with private geology tutoring. You can learn things the way that you want them because you go with what is most interesting to you. I love movies and there are a plethora of disaster movies that you can look at to study geology. My disasters professor told us stories of a movie that he was hired to work on as a consultant. In the film, a giant volcano was supposed to erupt underneath Los Angeles, surprising a city that was not prepared at all for such an event. One reason that he pointed out as to why Angelenos would not expect something like that to happen was not that such a volcano is still secret, but that such a volcano is not possible. He explained that the tectonic plates do not allow for a volcano under Los Angeles. They pressed on, asking if there could be a volcano under Los Angeles, what could that look like? He responded that it could not look like anything, as it could not exist. It was silly, but he showed the science and was not wrong.
Another great lesson looked at houses positioned on mountains. Buildings are traditionally built on flat land for obvious reasons, but expansion means that we look for more space. People also move to mountainsides for good views. In Los Angeles, the Santa Monica Mountains separate the main city from an area referred to as the Valley, which features more suburban neighborhoods than the city. The mountains might have served as a natural barrier between two cities in the past, but they are fully utilized in their current form. Houses were built all over the mountains, offering a gorgeous view of the city along the stretches where roads connect the Valley to the rest of the city. Many of those houses use risers to lift up one side of the house where the slope can’t support keeping the house parallel to the gravitational floor. Instead of living on an incline, support beams often lift porches or even full sides of the house. One issue, however, is that gravity does not care about your nice house. The mountains are not static rock. Over time, the grounds shift. Our natural disasters lessons showed that, even without earthquakes, the force of the house on the incline can lead to those porches tearing off the side of the house.
There are so many cool lessons in geology and part of the fun is that they come with real-life examples. The best geology tutoring near me uses the lessons in the textbook as a springboard to inspire practical examples.
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