What are the 10 branches of earth science?

In this brief guide we are going to answer the question ‘’What are the 10 branches of earth science?’’ We will highlight the main branches of earth science, what each one studies and we will explain the importance of the role of earth science in humanity.

What are the 10 branches of earth science?

The 10 branches of earth science are:

  • Geology
  • Oceanography
  • Meteorology
  • Environmental Science
  • Astronomy
  • Astrophysics 
  • Geography
  • Hydrology
  • Soil science
  • Paleontology

Earth Sciences is an area of knowledge that groups together those sciences whose purpose is the study of the composition, structure, dynamics, evolution of the planet and relationships with the other components of the solar system.

Through Earth Sciences, the necessary knowledge can be obtained to understand the behavior and relationships between the different geospheres of the planet, to avoid inferring their natural functioning. Some Earth scientists use their knowledge of the Earth to locate and develop energy and mineral resources.

Others study the impact of human activity on the Earth’s environment and design methods to protect the planet. Some use their knowledge of the Earth with processes; such as volcanoes, earthquakes and hurricanes.

Earth science branches


Astronomy is a science that studies the universe and all of its components. It also studies the phenomena that affect celestial bodies, their movements and expected behaviors.

The object of study of astronomy is all celestial objects, that is, everything we see in the sky: planets, stars, asteroids, satellites, interstellar matter and dark matter.

In addition to studying the characteristics of each of these elements (their chemical components, distance from Earth, movement), astronomy studies the way they are related to each other and the structures in which they are organized: systems, nebulae and galaxies.


It is a part of astronomy that studies the physical constitution, formation and evolution of celestial bodies: astrophysics seeks the explanation of the phenomena observed on a cosmic scale through the theories of physics.

The field of action of astrophysics is based on several concepts:

  • Solar system. They seek to understand everything related to the Sun and its magnetic systems.
  • Stars Determine the interior of these, and the related phenomena.
  • Galaxy. Know the structure and evolution of our galaxy.

An important branch of astrophysics is nuclear astrophysics, being the basis of the formulation of the Big Bang theory. 

An astrophysicist works to seek understanding of the beginning and end of the lives of stars and all planets. This is how we can see that an expert in this field of work develops investigations, theories and experiments of all kinds to solve the doubts that continue to exist about the origin of the Universe and its changes.


Geography is a science that studies the phenomena that occur on the earth’s surface, including geographical features, ethnic groups, economic activities associated with the land, and the distribution of living species.

Broadly speaking, geography studies planet Earth. This encompasses a huge set of processes, dynamics and elements both natural and human. It has a rich multiplicity of perspectives, depending on the particular focus of the study.

Geography is a dynamic discipline that draws on other social sciences in order to better understand the way in which the world today was built: both geologically and humanly. In that sense, geography tries to make the whole of our planet.


Geology is the science that studies the composition of the planet Earth, from a physical-chemical and also historical point of view. The latter allows you to dedicate yourself to understanding the various processes that make up geologic time.

Geology is also called geological sciences, since various geosciences are taught within it, various aspects of the planet. For example, they can study its composition, or the processes that take place inside it, such as plate tectonics or the formation of relief.

It has asynchronous approach, that is, it takes into account the temporal moments in which the changes occur. That’s why it is considered part of the historical sciences. Those who are dedicated to this science are called geologists.


Meteorology is the branch of physics that deals with phenomena that occur in the atmosphere. These refer to a great variety of processes, including, among other aspects, the movement of the atmosphere (dynamic meteorology), its interaction with the flows of radiative energy (solar and infrared radiation), and the thermodynamic processes that lead to the formation of clouds and the generation of precipitation in any of its forms (rain, snow and hail), energy exchanges with the surface (transport of heat and water vapor), chemical reactions (formation of the ozone layer, generation of pollutants by photochemical reactions), electrical phenomena (rays) and optical effects (rainbows, mirages, halos in the Sun and Moon).

Physical phenomena in the atmosphere occur at all spatial and temporal scales and their impacts are relevant to many activities.


Oceanography focuses on explaining all the physical and biological chemical processes that occur in all parts of the Earth with water. This science has to be multidisciplinary since it has to have specialists in various fields. One of the main aspects to take into account is the dynamics in the study of the physical processes that occur.

In these physical processes, we include waves, ocean currents, wind action, pressure, irradiance, etc. All these variables and more alone than try to explain the functioning of the oceans, seas, rivers, lakes, etc. For this reason, as not only physical processes are included, but also chemical and biological ones, specialists from many branches are needed.

In order to better understand oceanography, it is divided into several types. On the one hand, we have physical oceanography. On the other hand, we have chemical oceanography and, finally, biological oceanography. To these 3 subdivisions a fourth type is also added: geological oceanography.

Environmental Science

Environmental Sciences arise to improve the quality of land, water, and air, to manage resources and to administer sustainable systems.

Over the last few years, environmental problems due to the extreme use of resources have come to occupy a fundamental place in society’s concern.

Environmental Sciences are born to understand and improve man’s relationship with the environment, to improve the pollution of watercourses, the pollution of basins by industrial and activities, changes in the atmospheric composition, deforestation and even others on a world scale such as global warming.


The U.S. Federal Council for Science and Technology (1962) defines hydrology as the science that deals with Water on Earth, its occurrence, circulation and distribution, its physical and chemical properties and its reaction with the environment, including its relationship with living beings.

Hydrology deals with the scientific study of water, its movement and distribution, its physical-chemical properties and its effects in relation to the environment, the atmosphere and living beings, studying the hydrological cycle and water resources.

A hydrological study has different characteristics depending on the professional approach and the knowledge base that is used in the research. In any case, hydrological studies require the analysis of available hydrometeorological information (series of precipitations, flows, temperature, evaporation, and others).

Soil science

Edaphology teaches us how to use the soil to make the most of its different functions. It is an applied science that inspires the most appropriate techniques and practices to achieve these objectives. But it is also a science of important theoretical foundations that it is necessary to know to guide the work of technicians and scientists with safe criteria.

Soil science, which was established as such a little more than a hundred years ago, already has a rich history in which concepts and methods were coined that served to interpret the complex behavior of the soil, surely one of the natural entities of composition and more diverse and heterogeneous dynamics.

At first, these methods and concepts were taken from other sciences, but little by little a body of doctrine proper and specific to edaphology was born that, today, clearly defines and differentiates it from other disciplines.


Paleontology is the science that studies the geological past of life on Earth from the fossil record found under the earth’s surface. It studies organisms at the microbiotic, animal, and plant level and of everything that is preserved when petrified and survives the passage of time. In other words, it is a kind of retrospective biology.

Paleontology as a science encompasses a set of knowledge that combines it with geology and biology, and it can be considered the crossing of both. His study methods involve the analytical description of fossils, their comparative study, and the formulation of statistical data.

Ultimately, paleontology reaches conclusions regarding the biological past of the planet, which are useful for thinking about the present and the future. Those same conclusions serve as the basis for new research by other palaeontologists.


Earth Sciences allow us to understand natural processes and their study is linked both to the investigation of energy flows in nature and in some cases, to the use of them, as well as to the prevention of risks.

In this brief guide we answered the question ‘’What are the 10 branches of earth science?’’ We highlighted the main branches of earth science, what each one studies and we will explain the importance of the role of earth science in humanity.

If you have any comments or questions let us know!


About Earth Sciences. https://www.nsf.gov/geo/ear/about.jsp

Windley, B. Frederick and Albritton, . Claude C. (2021, April 30). Earth sciences. Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/science/Earth-sciences