Mineralogy is the science that deals with the materials of the solid Earth – minerals, rocks, soils – the formation of the building blocks of Earth, and the interaction of the solid Earth with water, air or other materials, and the living world. Mineralogy as a science focuses on the minerals, their chemical components, physical properties, and their role within the dynamic Earth. Though, the mineralogy of the solar system and the universe including meteorites and the interstellar cosmos has even wide-ranging spatial borders. Historically, mineralogy as a scientific discipline has built the base for many younger disciplines, such as inorganic chemistry and geology. Today, mineralogy is the principal scientific connection between the evolutionary temporality of geology and biology, and the timeless principles of nature that are the main focus of chemistry and physics. Modern mineralogists study a vast amount of materials and reactions, which are typically (but not always) crystalline and are derived from the living as well as the unenlivened world. Technical mineralogists use the knowledge of fundamental research for the development of new materials for engineering and work on solving many social problems such as reuse and recycling of waste materials or energy generation through new and innovative applications.
Petrology is the science of the structure and formation of rocks. It belongs to the discipline of Geo- or Earth Sciences and specifically studies the mineral assemblages in rocks as they preserve a geological record of the past. As sociologists study the interaction of humans in society, petrologists study the concurrent occurrence of minerals in rocks and their specific chemical composition – using only the methods of natural sciences. Many modern methods of mineralogy allow us as petrologists insight into the dynamics of our planet: the formation of oceans, the uplift of mountain chains, the processes during volcanic eruptions and meteorite impacts, the causes of earthquakes, and many other processes that we find today preserved as mineralogical signatures in rocks. The work of petrologists is often also closely linked to that of geochemists, geophysicists and geologists.
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