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Earth’s rocks are composed of minerals—inorganic elements or compounds that have a fixed chemical composition and that are made up of regularly aligned rows of atoms.
Seismology, for example, involves the exploration of the Earth’s deep structure through the detailed analysis of recordings of elastic waves generated by earthquakes and man-made explosions.
Unmanned space probes have yielded significant data on the surface features of many of the planets and their satellites.
Since the 1970s even such distant planetary systems as those of Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus have been explored by probes.
Geochemistry is the study of the composition of these different types of rocks.
During mountain building, rocks became highly deformed, and the primary objective of structural geology is to elucidate the mechanism of formation of the many types of structures (e.g., folds and faults) that arise from such deformation.