21 Reasons You Might Be a Geologist If …

Some personal comments on …

21 Reasons You Might Be a Geologist If …

1. You own more pieces of quartz than underwear.
… but only if you count grains in sandstone.

2. Your rock collection weighs more than you do.
… by a factor of several.

3. Your rock garden is located inside your house.
… but only just outside the front door.

4. You can pronounce the word ‘molybdenite’ correctly on the first try.
… and ‘chalcedony’.

5. You don’t think of “cleavage” the same way everyone else does.
… and cleavage / bedding relationships.

6. You think the primary function of road cuts is tourist attractions.
… and will cross a multilane highway to check that the rocks on the other side are the same.

7. You find yourself compelled to examine individual rocks in driveway gravel.
… and all the pebbles in my garden soil (they are glacial erratics you know)

8. You’re planning on using a pick and shovel while you’re on vacation.
Partially True.
… but a rock hammer is a definate possibility.

9. You have ever found yourself trying to explain to airport security that a rock hammer isn’t really a weapon.
Partially True.
… airport security no, ferry security yes.

10. You never throw away anything.
… just ask my better half!

11. You have ever taken a 17-passenger van over “roads” that were really intended only for cattle.
… Oh yes, but not rolled one – yet.

12. You consider a “recent event” to be anything that has happened in the last hundred thousand years.
… and Quaternary studies are just a bit too close to gardening.

13. You have ever had to respond “yes” to the question, “What have you got in here, rocks?”
… many a time.

14. You associate the word “saw” with diamonds instead of “wood”.
… and I associate the word ‘fountain’ with ‘fire’ rather than ‘water’ or ‘pen’.

15. You have ever been on a field trip that included scheduled stops at a gravel pit and/or a liquor store.
Partially True.
… certainly arrange field localities between pub stops.

16. You have ever hung a picture using a Brunton/Compass-clinometer as a level.
… and to check the level of a pub bar when testing the isostatic compensation properties of the head of a pint of guinness

17. You were the only member of the group who spent their time looking at cathedral walls through a pocket magnifier during your trip to Europe.
… and spend more time in a museum looking at the plinths than the exhibits

18. Your collection of beer cans and/or bottles rivals the size of your rock collection.
Partially True.
… but my beer glass collection does.

19. Your photos include people only for scale and you have more pictures of your rock hammer and lens cap than your family.
… and coins of the world.

20. Your spelling checker has a vocabulary that includes the words ‘polymorph’ and ‘pseudomorph’.
… and ‘porphyroblast’ and ‘poikiloblast’ and …

21. You have ever uttered the phrase ‘have you tried licking it’ with no sexual connotations involved.
… and ‘you don’t have to swallow it’ (distinguishing between silt/mud)

Adapted from a variety of sources including …

World's Longest Tunnel – My Contribution

The BBC are reporting details of the World’s longest tunnel being constructed underneath the Alps. I probably had a (very small) part in its construction.

As an undergraduate geology student in the early 80s I did my independent mapping dissertation in Lukmanierpass in southern Switzerland. During the mapping I met a Swiss geologist who was conducting a regional scale survey of the whole area with a view to determine the regional geology for a new deep level tunnel under the Gotthard Massif. After I completed my degree I learned that the Swiss had requested a copy of my mapping dissertation (along with those of the two guys I went out with who mapped adjacent areas). I know that from writing the ‘literature review’ section for my thesis that very little was known about the detailed structure of my mapping area and it would be nice to think that some of my undergraduate work contributed to the geological knowledge for the tunnel’s construction.

I know that I found thin slivers of Mesozoic cover that could be projected down to great depth between the granite massifs. This would correspond to the ‘serious geological problems’ where the rock is ‘as soft as butter’ as mentioned in the article.

It would be nice to think that the six weeks I spent mapping in the Swiss Alps – that really did change my life – was not entirely an academic exercise.

Bristol Channel Tsunami 1607 Update

It seems that an MP has now picked up on the Bristol Channel Tsunami story. Paul Flynn, Labour MP for Newport West, has set down an Early Day Motion that “That this House notes the consensus expert view that a tsunami caused the flood of the Gwent and Somerset levels in January 1607; believes a similar event now would result in massive destruction and loss of life; and calls for an early warning tsunami watch on British coasts.”

Talk about a waste of tax payers money.

Hat-tip: Dizzy

The Hamps-Manifold Geotrail

In the field twice in one week! On Sunday I attended the launch of the Hamps-Manifold Geotrail.An overcast, but mercifully mostly dry day, saw about forty people attend the launch of the geotrail. The whole trail runs from Hulme End to Waterhouses in the Staffordshire Peak District down the old track of the Manifold Light Railway, but this opening just did the northern section from Hulme End to Thor’s Cave.

The trail criss-crosses the axis of the Ecton Anticline staying within the Carboniferous Limestone but displays many limestone facies from deep water, to shallow water bioclastics to reef. There are also many localised tight folds, most notably at Apes Tor. Ecton is also noted for its copper mine on Ecton Hill above the trail, once one of the most productive copper mines in the world and there are also small lead mine entrances dotted along the trail.

A very interesting day out helped by the knowledgeable writers of the guide leading the walk and the magnificent spread laid out for us at the Wetton Mill tea rooms at lunchtime! The trail guide can be downloaded from www.esci.keele.ac.uk/srigs or picked up for free at the local information sites along the trail.

Back in the Field

Spring is here (almost) and yesterday I was back in the field. I spend too much time staring at the computer screen and it was great to be back out in the fresh air again. It reminded me of why it is great being a geologist. Also good to be with a group of very knowledgeable people who gave a great insight into reading landscapes. Interesting looking at the Quaternary for a change but missing a ‘decent’ rock outcrop by the end of the day – if it can be dug with a trowel it’s a bit too much like gardening for my liking.