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Advances in seismology, computer modeling, and mineralogy and crystallography at high temperatures and pressures give insights into the internal composition and structure of the Earth.
Geology also plays a role in geotechnical engineering and is a major academic discipline.
The majority of research in geology is associated with the study of rock, as rock provides the primary record of the majority of the geologic history of the Earth.
This coupling between rigid plates moving on the surface of the Earth and the convecting mantle is called plate tectonics.
On this diagram, subducting slabs are in blue, and continental margins and a few plate boundaries are in red.
Mineralogists have been able to use the pressure and temperature data from the seismic and modelling studies alongside knowledge of the elemental composition of the Earth to reproduce these conditions in experimental settings and measure changes in crystal structure.