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Geologic history provides a conceptual framework and overview of the evolution of the Earth.
An early development of the subject was stratigraphy, the study of order and sequence in bedded sedimentary rocks.
The problems and techniques of mineralogy, however, are distinct in many respects from those of the rest of geology, with the result that mineralogy has grown to be a large, complex discipline in itself.
This is the science of geochronology, which in recent years has revolutionized scientific perception of Earth history and which relies heavily on the measured parent-to-daughter ratio of radiogenic isotopes ().This in turn helps in interpreting the mode of formation and the depositional environment of sedimentary rocks.Thus the discipline of geomorphology is fundamental to the uniformitarian approach to the Earth sciences according to which the present is the key to the past.Many rocks have a more complex mineralogy, and in some the mineral particles are so minute that they can be identified only through specialized techniques.It is possible to identify an individual mineral in a specimen by examining and testing its physical properties.