Fossils and the Surface of the Earth Goals 1. Fossils are important to Scientists because it lets them know what was there in the past. (EX: Kentucky is believed to have been covered by ocean water due to the shell and ocean animal fossils that are found.) 2. The lower the fossil is found in the ground the older the fossil is. 3. The two slow processes that change Earth’s surface are weathering and erosion. 4. Weathering is the breaking of Earth’s material in place. This can be caused by plant roots, ice, water or wind. 5. Erosion is the carrying away of Earth’s material by wind or water. 6. The three rapid processes that change Earth’s surface are landslides, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes. 7. We use Earth materials. Stone, clay and marble are used as building materials. Petroleum and natural gas are used as sources of fuel and soil is used for growing the plants we use as food. 8. The four materials that make up Earth are the atmosphere (gas), soil, minerals and rocks, and water.