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Geology is the science and study of the physical matter and energy that constitute the Earth. The field of geology encompasses the study of the composition, structure, properties, and history of the planet's physical material, the processes by which it is formed, moved, and changed, the history of life on Earth, and human interactions with the Earth.

The word geology was first used by Jean-Andre Deluc in 1778 and introduced as a fixed term by Horace-Benedict de Saussure in 1779. The word is derived from the Greek "ge" meaning "earth" and "logos", meaning "speech".

The study of the physical material of the Earth dates back at least to ancient Greece when Theophrastus (372-287 BC) wrote the work Peri Lithon (On Stones). In the Roman period, Pliny the Elder wrote in detail of the many minerals and metals then in practical use, and correctly noted the origin of amber.

The geologic time scale encompasses the history of the Earth. It is bracketed at the old end by the dates of the earliest solar system material at 4.567 Ga, (gigaannum: billion years ago) and the age of the Earth at 4.54 Ga at the beginning of the informally recognized Hadean eon.

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