Free course

An introduction to geology

Free statement of participation on completion
An introduction to geology Copyright free Icon

Everything we use that has not been grown either contains or relies on materials that have been sourced by a geologist. In this free course, An introduction to geology, you will be introduced to some key geological processes that impact everyday life, as you discover the link between volcanoes and your mobile phone, and find out why tiny marine wildlife is at the core of the plastics industry.

You will learn about the various types of rock, and explore how, where and why different rocks and natural resources form across the Earth. You will also look at some of the environmental and sustainability considerations that geologists need to take into account when extracting and processing these resources.

This course material was originally written for FutureLearn in 2016. It was published on OpenLearn in April 2019.

This OpenLearn science course is produced with the kind support of Dangoor Education, the educational arm of The Exilarch's Foundation.

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • identify different igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks
  • apply and use numerical and graphical methods to interpret quantities and concentrations of different natural resources
  • assess and understand the origin, occurrence and availability of some natural physical resources associated with metals, oil and building stones
  • describe and appreciate societal and environmental issues associated with the sustainability of the Earth’s physical resources.

First Published: 24/01/2017

Updated: 05/02/2020

You can start this course right now without signing-up. Click on any of the course content sections below to start at any point in this course.
If you want to be able to track your progress, earn a free Statement of Participation, and access all course quizzes and activities, sign-up.

Course content

Skip Rate and Review

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371