Earth Sciences Geology personal statement
Exploring the glacial valleys of Snowdonia in my early childhood sparked my interest in what I now know to be Geology. In hindsight, I was oblivious to the immensity of the subject, as it is not constrained to the mountains, rather a river of understanding into which the tributaries of Mathematics, Sciences and Physical Geography flow.
Achieving the "Geography Attainment Award" in year 11 made me recognise I have the ability to pursue a future that would mentally stimulate me. With my newfound insight on the Earth, I began to make links between peculiar far away lands and volcanoes I saw on science documentaries: not only did volcanoes seem so alien compared to the rolling green hills of my home, but I learnt they play a vital role in the creation of such lands - even the familiar looming cliffs of Cadair Idris are of volcanic origin. Alongside this I realised I had never considered the Earth as an ever-transforming system, demonstrating that it has a deeper complexity than I expected.
Upon reading "T-Rex and the Crater of Doom" by Walter Alvarez (which left me with more questions that it answered) I was thrilled to discover that, if our planet itself was not complex enough, the incorporation of extraterrestrial factors produces an eventful rock record. Following their discovery of an iridium layer at the KT boundary, Luis Alvarez and his team proposed the theory of meteorite impact to explain foraminifera disappearance over the supposed Deccan Traps eruptions. This hypothesis I found inspiring not just for its unorthodox nature, but also I was excited to see relationships connecting advanced processes with concepts I was learning; such as neutron activation analysis which uses many particle physics principles I studied at A level to detect iridium abundance.
Identified in the aftermath of this discovery, the potential existence of a correlation between meteorite impacts and massive volcanism is a mystery that fascinates me. Is it possible that meteorite-generated seismic waves unleash mantle plumes triggering flood basalt eruptions? Further investigation led me to research the Permo-Triassic boundary, as discussed in Michael J. Benton's "When Life Nearly Died: The Greatest Mass Extinction of All Time" in which the Siberian Traps eruptions left climatic chaos in their wake. In such an apocalyptic scenario, I believe an impact provides a perfect catalyst for massive volcanism. Inevitably, there are issues with this theory, as large igneous provinces alike to those mentioned originate independently from impacts. Nevertheless, cutting-edge theories like this excite me, as although much progress has been made within science, there remain a multitude of mysteries left to investigate.
I found facing unfamiliar problems in the Náboj mathematics challenge intriguing, and working as a team enabled me to access different thought trails without compensating my own unique skills. It was satisfying to see how integrating a range of perceptions allowed us to solve problems with more efficiency. Aside from that, I love spending my spare time in the wilderness, whether that be cross-country running or hiking whilst listening to "the infinite monkey cage" - where I enjoy listening about the enigmatic science theories beyond the scope of my A levels.
The further I delve into the intricacies and mechanisms of our planet, the more I learn yet the more questions I unearth. I would be elated to follow what has grown to be a substantial torrent of questions through an Earth Sciences course, and even to the point where they become cutting-edge mysteries of the universe.
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