The phenomena of the physical world

The study of nature is a large, if not the only, part of science

Nature, in the broadest sense, is the natural, physical, material world or universe. ‘Nature’ can refer to the phenomena of the physical world, and also to life in general. The study of nature is a large, if not the only, part of science.

Aerial photography
Much of Oman is desert, but the Arabian Sea coast in the Dhofar region represents a startling difference in climate – photo: USGS

Biological processes

Earth has evolved through geological and biological processes that have left traces of the original conditions. The outer surface is divided into several gradually migrating tectonic plates. The interior remains active, with a thick layer of plastic mantle and an iron-filled core that generates a magnetic field. This iron core is composed of a solid inner phase, and a fluid outer phase.

Geology is the science and study of the solid and liquid matter that constitutes the earth. The field of geology encompasses the study of the composition, structure, physical properties, dynamics, and history of Earth materials, and the processes by which they are formed, moved, and changed. The field is a major academic discipline, and is also important for mineral and hydrocarbon extraction, knowledge about and mitigation of natural hazards, some Geotechnical engineering fields, and understanding past climates and environments.

Deposition can occur when sediments settle onto the surface of the Earth and later lithify into sedimentary rock, or when as volcanic material. Igneous intrusions such as batholiths, laccoliths, dikes, and sills, push upwards into the overlying rock, and crystallize as they intrude.

Deformation typically occurs as a result of horizontal shortening, horizontal extension, or side-to-side (strike-slip) motion. These structural regimes broadly relate to convergent boundaries, divergent boundaries, and transform boundaries, respectively, between tectonic plates.


Jane Roe

Jane Roe

Jane is a 24-year-old researcher who enjoys charity work, cycling and cookery. She is allergic to artificial food colourings. She has a severe phobia of sharks, and is obsessed with milkshakes.