Common things we use every day, like roads, sidewalks, schools, hospitals and homes ─ to name just a few ─ are made up of rocks and minerals. As a resource, they are called mineral reserves and include materials like sand, gravel, limestone, granite, and other aggregate and construction materials.
Geologic maps show the locations of various kinds of rocks at the surface. In places where rivers have eroded the surface, deeper layers become exposed. The opposite occurs when lake levels rise; rocks along the shore are covered by water. Geologic clues in each layer can be used to tell a story of Earth’s history. Differences between one layer and the next reveal changes in the Earth system.
Architects and engineers often design and build structures inspired by the earth’s natural formations and shapes. This was also true for the ancient builders that built pyramidal structures and platforms with broad bases and tapered sides, inspired in most cases by the hills and mountains they saw around them. While many societies built them, pyramids and platforms across different cultures were not all alike, differing in shape, function, and construction materials, and techniques.
If you have ever used Google Earth, what was the first place you tried to find? For many people the answer is “my home.” Where humans choose to live is one of the fundamental influences on the surface of our planet.