Geology Research Paper Topics


Geology studies the composition of the Earth's solid surface and interior, though techniques can be used to study interstellar bodies as well, to an extent. Research papers regarding geology often take into account historical geological activity and relate it to contemporary aspects of geology or use it to hypothesize future events. Choosing a geographically-specific topic aids in creating a self-contained, lasting academic contribution.

Interior Geology of the Earth

  • While geological elements on the surface of the Earth tell much about the structure of the planet, the arrangement of the interior of the planet also offers a wealth of structural information. Hundreds of kilometers below the surface, the geological structure of Earth has not been studied to the same extent as the surface for the obvious reason that it cannot be seen with the naked eye. Discuss the historical and contemporary methods of studying the geology of Earth's interior and the importance this study has on geology as a scientific discipline.

Australia's Lakes

  • Recent research into what caused the extinction of Australia's prehistoric megafauna as far back as 46,000 years ago has stressed a link with geographical changes to Australia's mega-lakes. Some researchers posit that today's Australian lakes were once joined in a large, interconnected series of lakes. When the tectonic plates shifted, these lakes separated from one another and the result was an aridification of the climate. Examine the research done regarding this and hypothesize whether or not the geological separation of these lakes could have been the cause of Australia's deserts today.

Caribbean Fault Slippage and Earthquakes

  • Studies of prehistoric earthquakes along the Central Range fault, separating the Caribbean and South American plates, reveal present day continual slip movement at a rate off 9 to 15 mm/yr at a point in central Trinidad. This movement has remained continuous since prehistoric times. It is theorized that this movement may cause a large future earthquake at that site. In a research paper, examine Trinidad's topography and look for geological features and sediment accumulation that backs up or negates this claim. In order to help hypothesize the effects of plate movement in the Caribbean, look at other major earthquakes and note whether or not similar continual fault slippage occurred before they happened,

Mars' Geochemistry

  • Recent research into Mars, particularly by the Mars Odyssey gamma ray spectrometer, indicates varied concentrations of chemicals, including potassium, calcium and silicon on Mars. One idea for a research paper is to focus on this interstellar body at a geochemical level. Find where proliferations of various elements occur and create a geochemical map of the planet based on those findings. Note the ways in which these elements might play a role in surface geology. This same topic can be used to focus on any other body in space that has been adequately researched.

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  • "Proceedings of the National Academy of Science"; Structural Geology of the Earth's Interior; Thomas Jordon; September 1979
  • "Geology"; Continental Aridification and the Vanishing of Australia's Megalakes; Tim Cohen, et al; January 2011
  • "Geology"; Prehistoric Earthquakes on the Caribbean--South American Plate Boundary, Central Range Fault, Trinidad; Carole Prentice, et al; August 2010
  • "Geology"; Mapping Mars Geochemically; G. Geoffrey Taylor; February 2010
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