Thin end of the (accretionary) wedge: Analogies

Callan over at NOVA Geoblog has asked for examples of geological analogies in something he says is between a meme and an accretionary wedge. At the time of writing, the contributions to this thin end of the accretionary wedge have come from:

My favourite analogy regards geology itself. I liken it to being given ten pieces from a thousand piece jigsaw and being asked what the picture is. You have to examine each piece you have incredibly carefully, describing it in detail. You have to decide where you pieces might fit in the overall picture (sky, land, water …) and also how the pieces might relate to each other. You have to make educated guesses based on what you have seen before. You can go and explore down the back of the sofa and if you are lucky you will find an eleventh piece. This will possibly confirm your interpretation, but more likely require you to completely re-evaluate what little information that you have. However, how ever hard you look, you are never going to find all the pieces and you are going to have to use all your experience and skill to get a reasonable approximation too what is going on.

Beyond the obvious like volcanoes and champagne bottles, the only other analogy I can think of straight away is one a former colleague used to use. He used to say that gneissose fabrics were like the result of stirring porridge with a spanner. No, we didn’t have a clue what he was on about either!

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