Geology is the science and study of the solid and liquid matter that constitutes the Earth. The field of geology encompasses the study of the composition, structure, physical properties, dynamics, and history of Earth materials, and the processes by which they are formed, moved, and changed. The field is a major academic discipline, and is also important for mineral and hydrocarbon extraction, knowledge about and mitigation of natural hazards, some engineering fields, and understanding past climates and environments with reference to present-day climate change.
The word "geology" was first used by Jean-André Deluc in the year 1778 and introduced as a fixed term by Horace-Bénédict de Saussure in the year 1779. The science was not included in Encyclopædia Britannica's third edition completed in 1797, but had a lengthy entry in the fourth edition completed by 1809. An older meaning of the word was first used by Richard de Bury to distinguish between earthly and theological jurisprudence.