Geology and Earth Sciences Personal Statement
A visit to a collection of minerals and gemstones while holidaying in the Lake District in 2006 opened my eyes to the fascinating subject of geology. Seeing naturally dull rock split open to reveal a myriad of vibrant crystals posed many questions: where had this discovery been made and, more intriguingly, how had it formed? My wish to find out more about these mineral forms and the rocks that had sheltered their intricate beauty started my interest in geology.
My interest in the planet and sciences developed further at GCSE, where I was introduced to areas of physical geography: volcanology, plate tectonics and earthquakes, and also the part that geologists have to play in solving challenging environmental matters. Recent protests in Balcombe against fracking show that geology does not currently have the answers to cure the energy crisis or counter society’s negative views. While I agree with protesters’ opinions that fracking will disturb British ecosystems and use substantial amounts of water better used elsewhere, the need for extra gas reserves and the political agenda of cutting energy bills, to me, outweigh the negatives.
A Level choices enabled me to receive a greater understanding of the chemical, physical and mathematical aspects of earth sciences. Having an academic background in these three fields has facilitated my use and appreciation of graphs and statistics produced by geological societies such as USGS and allowed me to analyse theories and reports in a new way, giving me varied perspectives. Learning about volcano mechanics in geology, pressure in chemistry, and stress and strain in physics and maths during my first year at college created links between my subject choices and how they inter-relate.
I became interested in volcanoes and their tectonics, leading me to read ‘Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded’ by Simon Winchester. The book taught me about the island’s background and how Krakatoa’s location on the Sunda Strait and the infamous eruption in 1883 influenced lives, affected world trade, and global temperatures and created one of the world’s best geologists, Alfred Wegener.
However, I believe the book strays too far away from the topic of Krakatoa and does not go into enough detail about its future, with only brief mentions of Anak Krakatau and nothing on the potential for eruptions or how the world should prepare. This extra reading has prompted me to write my extended project on super volcanoes and how society has been shaped because of them. I feel this particular section of research encompasses all of my A2 subjects and allows my interest in geology to develop further.
Next summer I am taking part in an expedition to Borneo for a month. While there we will climb Mount Kinabalu and see Deer and Clearwater caves; visiting huge geological features will teach me more about Asia’s geology and build on ideas I have already encountered in my studies and extra reading.
In July this year I was invited to an Experience Cambridge: Natural Sciences day at the university, which gave me the opportunity to talk to experts in geochemistry and geophysics, fully engage in discussions and appreciate new concepts and ideas currently being tested, such as the new theory that impact energy from meteors causes continental drift, not plate tectonics. Talking to academics in the field made me realise there is much more to learn, new ideas I never thought existed or could be possible, making me want to learn more and widen my knowledge.
Beyond geology I was chosen as an Olympic ambassador as part of my role in the Youth Sport Trust, which was an exciting opportunity to engage in sports and develop my leadership qualities. I have had a part time job at Farmfoods since April 2012 which has taught me to balance my time equally between my work, social and college life.
Overall, I would appreciate any opportunity for further reading in earth sciences. I am fascinated by the study of new aspects of the field, and look forward to continuing to research and explore the world to decode some of the geological mysteries that still surround us, while continuing to not only work hard with my studies but contribute to the university community.