Recently I have been selected for the National Camp of INTERNATIONAL EARTH SCIENCE OLYMPIAD of my country. How do I prepare for it? Resources, books, etc.

I know there are 4 parts- geology, hydrosphere, atmosphere and astronomy. Astronomy isn't much of a problem for me (I can manage it). I need the most help in geology. Please see that complex details are not asked in it.

For the syllabus, please see https://www.sites.google.com/site/ineso555/syllabus---entrance-test.

  • $\begingroup$ Your question as currently phrased is very broad. Are you looking specifically for canonical introductory textbooks on geology? What is the level? Secondary school? $\endgroup$
    – gerrit
    Commented Mar 9, 2015 at 16:05
  • $\begingroup$ Could you please give a look at the syllabus. I am no pro in earth sciences. Also, the students who particate are in grades 10 and 11, so that must help. $\endgroup$
    – 1234567890
    Commented Mar 9, 2015 at 16:31
  • $\begingroup$ As the curriculum is different in each country - which country are you referring to? $\endgroup$
    – user889
    Commented Mar 9, 2015 at 19:04
  • $\begingroup$ I am from India. $\endgroup$
    – 1234567890
    Commented Mar 10, 2015 at 4:28

1 Answer 1


Here are a few, completely random advices I wished someone would have given me before I started to study geology. I'm aware of that this is over simplified, but I believe that it's good to start easy, gain interest and later, with experience, understand that you have been wrong.

A good book to start with: Earth: Portrait of a Planet by Stephen Marshak. It is used in many universities for undergraduate students. It has a lot of good illustrations and goes breathy through most aspects of earth science. I'd check that and memorize the diagrams and pictures.

http://www.usgs.gov/ also have plenty of easy accessible material.

Make sure that you understand the concept of tectonics well and use that as a starting point for almost any geological discussion.

Don't forget the most basic physical properties. What works in a laboratory also works in larger scale. (E.g. Density will make light material float and heavy material sink. That's why rivers erodes the paths to the oceans and volcanoes erupt volatile rich lava. Oceanic crust is heavy and continental crust is light.)

Take one hour of your life to learn the geological periods (everyone should!). Use the periods as imaginary folders for fossils, orogenies, mass extensions and whatever you later come across. (E.g. 'Permian' will be something distinctive, just like 'Elephant', 'Qawwali' or 'Andhra'. You'll recognize it when you see/hear/feel it, even if it's difficult to describe in words!).

When you read articles, always start with the latest, and work your way back. In this way you'll start with the modern concept and not get biased by earlier models.

Keep an interest in the present. You should know some biology to understand paleontology, some oceanography to understand deposition and hydrology to understand erosion etc. When you add time, we call it geology.

And, if you start to study and research in geology or anything else, learn LaTeX and learn some basic programming, before you need it.

Good luck with the Olympiad!

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ This is actually very good advice! $\endgroup$
    – user889
    Commented Mar 13, 2015 at 22:33
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks a lot! +1 for good advice. Do you have some sample chapters or eBook of the book you suggested. The book costs a fortune in India. $\endgroup$
    – 1234567890
    Commented Mar 14, 2015 at 4:48
  • $\begingroup$ I've no connection to Marshak in any way, and I believe there are other similar textbooks. However, a quick search on the net suggests that the book might be available as pdf, at least in earlier versions. $\endgroup$
    – user2821
    Commented Mar 14, 2015 at 12:21
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Good book reccommendation. That was my undergrad book. $\endgroup$
    – mtb-za
    Commented Mar 17, 2015 at 23:33

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