Geologist Quotes

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What we do see depends mainly on what we look for. ... In the same field the farmer will notice the crop, the geologists the fossils, botanists the flowers, artists the colouring, sportmen the cover for the game. Though we may all look at the same things, it does not all follow that we should see them.
John Lubbock (The Beauties of Nature and the Wonders of the World We Live in)
Geologists are never at a loss for paperweights.
Bill Bryson (A Short History of Nearly Everything)
For the stone from the top for geologists, the knowledge of the limits of endurance for the doctors, but above all for the spirit of adventure to keep alive the soul of man.
George Mallory
The geologist takes up the history of the earth at the point where the archaeologist leaves it, and carries it further back into remote antiquity.
Bal Gangadhar Tilak (The Arctic Home in the Vedas)
If only the Geologists would let me alone, I could do very well, but those dreadful Hammers! I hear the clink of them at the end of every cadence of the Bible verses
John Ruskin
No Geologist worth anything is permanently bound to a desk or laboratory, but the charming notion that true science can only be based on unbiased observation of nature in the raw is mythology. Creative work, in geology and anywhere else, is interaction and synthesis: half-baked ideas from a bar room, rocks in the field, chains of thought from lonely walks, numbers squeezed from rocks in a laboratory, numbers from a calculator riveted to a desk, fancy equipment usually malfunctioning on expensive ships, cheap equipment in the human cranium, arguments before a road cut.
Stephen Jay Gould (An Urchin in the Storm: Essays About Books and Ideas)
Ah!" I cried, springing up. "But no! no! My uncle shall never know it. He would insist upon doing it too. He would want to know all about it. Ropes could not hold him, such a determined geologist as he is! He would start, he would, in spite of everything and everybody, and he would take me with him, and we should never get back. No, never! never!" My over-excitement was beyond all description.
Jules Verne (Journey to the Center of the Earth)
The present is the key to the past.
Archibald Geikie
But in truth, the world is constantly shifting: shape and size, location in space. It's got edges and chasms, too many to count. They open up, close, reappear somewhere else. Geologists nay have mapped out the planet's tectonic plates -hidden shelves of rock that grind, one against the other, forming mountains, creating continents - but thy can't plot the fault lines that run through our heads, divide out hearts. The map of the world is always changing; sometimes it happens overnight. All it takes is the blink of an eye, the squeeze of a trigger, a sudden gust of wind. Wake up and your life is perched on a precipice; fall asleep, it swallows you whole
Anderson Cooper (Dispatches From The Edge: A Memoir of War, Disasters, and Survival)
Everything we’ve been taught about the origins of civilization may be wrong,” says Danny Hilman Natawidjaja, PhD, senior geologist with the Research Center for Geotechnology at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences.
Graham Hancock (Magicians of the Gods: The Forgotten Wisdom of Earth's Lost Civilization)
I’m a rather useless insomniac viscount, but”—he gestured at Minerva—“my companion here is a brilliant geologist. There’s a symposium, you see. We need to get to Edinburgh by tomorrow, so she can present her findings about giant lizards and possibly alter our understanding of the world’s natural history.
Tessa Dare (A Week to be Wicked (Spindle Cove, #2))
Don´t you ever get tired of believing, Madame? Don´t you ever want proof? Madame Manec rests a hand on Marie-Laure's forehead. The thick hand that first reminded her of a gardener's or a geologist's. You must never stop believing. That's the most important thing.
Anthony Doerr (All the Light We Cannot See)
Basically, if you were a triceratops in Alberta, you had about two minutes before you got vaporized” is how one geologist put it to me.
Elizabeth Kolbert (The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History)
Oxygen was – to quote Mikhail Elesco, the team’s top geologist – a needy bastard that couldn’t stand not to be in a relationship, no matter how toxic.
Adrian Tchaikovsky (Children of Memory (Children of Time, #3))
The decline of geography in academia is easy to understand: we live in an age of ever-increasing specialization, and geography is a generalist's discipline. Imagine the poor geographer trying to explain to someone at a campus cocktail party (or even to an unsympathetic adminitrator) exactly what it is he or she studies. "Geography is Greek for 'writing about the earth.' We study the Earth." "Right, like geologists." "Well, yes, but we're interested in the whole world, not just the rocky bits. Geographers also study oceans, lakes, the water cycle..." "So, it's like oceanography or hydrology." "And the atmosphere." "Meteorology, climatology..." "It's broader than just physical geography. We're also interested in how humans relate to their planet." "How is that different from ecology or environmental science?" "Well, it encompasses them. Aspects of them. But we also study the social and economic and cultural and geopolitical sides of--" "Sociology, economics, cultural studies, poli sci." "Some geographers specialize in different world regions." "Ah, right, we have Asian and African and Latin American studies programs here. But I didn't know they were part of the geography department." "They're not." (Long pause.) "So, uh, what is it that do study then?
Ken Jennings
Look, I don't know what you are, but you're more than a geologist, if you are one at all. I've met lots of geologists on different projects like this, and they're all tiny sunburned men with fetishes for geodes. They wear floppy hats and carry baggies for soil samples around with them. ... And geologists don't make rocks disappear like you did the other night. They keep them and build little shrines to them.
Kevin Hearne (Tricked (The Iron Druid Chronicles, #4))
Mendeleev, unlike the squeamish Meyer, had balls enough to predict that new elements would be dug up. Look harder, you chemists and geologists, he seemed to taunt, and you’ll find them.
Sam Kean (The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements)
One of the best examples of a polymath is Leonardo da Vinci. Born in Italy in 1452, Leonardo was a sculptor, painter, architect, mathematician, musician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, botanist, geologist, cartographer and writer. Although he received an informal education that included geometry, Latin and mathematics, he was essentially an autodidact, or a self-taught individual.
James Morcan (Genius Intelligence (The Underground Knowledge Series, #1))
The last Gold Team geologist decided to retire after we basically had to reattach a limb. For a second time.” “Oh.” “Well, that’s not completely accurate. It wasn’t the same limb twice. They were different limbs.
John Scalzi (The Kaiju Preservation Society)
[L]et us not overlook the further great fact, that not only does science underlie sculpture, painting, music, poetry, but that science is itself poetic. The current opinion that science and poetry are opposed is a delusion. ... On the contrary science opens up realms of poetry where to the unscientific all is a blank. Those engaged in scientific researches constantly show us that they realize not less vividly, but more vividly, than others, the poetry of their subjects. Whoever will dip into Hugh Miller's works on geology, or read Mr. Lewes's “Seaside Studies,” will perceive that science excites poetry rather than extinguishes it. And whoever will contemplate the life of Goethe will see that the poet and the man of science can co-exist in equal activity. Is it not, indeed, an absurd and almost a sacrilegious belief that the more a man studies Nature the less he reveres it? Think you that a drop of water, which to the vulgar eye is but a drop of water, loses anything in the eye of the physicist who knows that its elements are held together by a force which, if suddenly liberated, would produce a flash of lightning? Think you that what is carelessly looked upon by the uninitiated as a mere snow-flake, does not suggest higher associations to one who has seen through a microscope the wondrously varied and elegant forms of snow-crystals? Think you that the rounded rock marked with parallel scratches calls up as much poetry in an ignorant mind as in the mind of a geologist, who knows that over this rock a glacier slid a million years ago? The truth is, that those who have never entered upon scientific pursuits know not a tithe of the poetry by which they are surrounded. Whoever has not in youth collected plants and insects, knows not half the halo of interest which lanes and hedge-rows can assume. Whoever has not sought for fossils, has little idea of the poetical associations that surround the places where imbedded treasures were found. Whoever at the seaside has not had a microscope and aquarium, has yet to learn what the highest pleasures of the seaside are. Sad, indeed, is it to see how men occupy themselves with trivialities, and are indifferent to the grandest phenomena—care not to understand the architecture of the universe, but are deeply interested in some contemptible controversy about the intrigues of Mary Queen of Scots!—are learnedly critical over a Greek ode, and pass by without a glance that grand epic... upon the strata of the Earth!
Herbert Spencer
The geologist, six years ago now, hadn't defied anything to climb the hill. He'd had his own powerful magic--the ordinary magic that extraordinarily interested people always have.
Elizabeth Knox (Mortal Fire)
Geologists on the whole are inconsistent drivers. When a roadcut presents itself, they tend to lurch and weave. To them, the roadcut is a portal, a fragment of a regional story, a proscenium arch that leads their imaginations into the earth and through the surrounding terrane.
John McPhee (Annals of the Former World)
Certain English geologists produced confusion by embracing continental drift and then drawing up narratives and maps that showed continents moving all over the earth with respect to a fixed and undriftable England.
John McPhee (Basin and Range)
The earth is not a mere fragment of dead history, stratum upon stratum like the leaves of a book, to be studied by geologists and antiquaries chiefly, but living poetry like the leaves of a tree, which precede flowers and fruit—not a fossil earth, but a living earth; compared with whose great central life all animal and vegetable life is merely parasitic.
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
It seems so ridiculous to me,' he said, 'that a person should be expected to lock themselves into a suit of clothes. I mean like the suit of clothes of an engineer or a doctor or a geologist and then the skin grows over it, over the clothes, I mean, and that person can't ever get them off. When we are given a chance to explore the whole world of inner and outer reality and to live in a way that takes in the spiritual and the physical and the whole range of the beautiful and the terrible available to mankind, that is pain as well as joy and turmoil. This way of expressing myself may seem overblown to you, but one thing I have learned to give up is intellectual pridefulness...
Alice Munro (Too Much Happiness: Stories)
On each of two porches lie big chunks of serpentine—smooth as talc, mottled black and green. When you see rocks like that on a porch, a geologist is inside.
John McPhee (Assembling California (Annals of the Former World Book 4))
We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience." Teilhard de Chardin - French geologist, Jesuit priest, philosopher, mystic (1881-1955)
Angela Jeffs
We don't see the world as a botanist who is at the same time an architect, a physician, a geologist, and a ship's captain. Recognizing isn't at all like seeing; the two often don't even agree...
Sten Nadolny (Die Entdeckung der Langsamkeit)
No! I'm a friend of the family," I replied. "That's such a funny way of saying you've hit on half of my sisters-in-law and selected my wife as your emotional support geologist." I was an asshole. We knew this.
Kate Canterbary (The Worst Guy (Vital Signs #2))
According to the conclusion of Dr. Hutton, and of many other geologists, our continents are of definite antiquity, they have been peopled we know not how, and mankind are wholly unacquainted with their origin.
Jean-André de Luc
Three quarks for Muster Mark!” One thing quarks do have going for them: all their names are simple—something chemists, biologists, and especially geologists seem incapable of achieving when naming their own stuff.
Neil deGrasse Tyson (Astrophysics for People in a Hurry (Astrophysics for People in a Hurry Series))
In general, we imagine rivers to be subject to a kind of dynamic equilibrium, largely stable geologic features, with processes like regional incision or subtle shifts in mountain building causing short- and medium-term variation around some slowly changing mean condition, but in fact it is far more common to see dramatic change over short periods, with long periods of stability between in what geologists refer to as 'dynamic metastable equilibrium.' It is the same with families, memory, the history of a person's life, what we believe to be true.
Katharine Haake (That Water, Those Rocks: (A Novel) (Western Literature and Fiction Series))
annihilation. “Money flows toward short term gain,” writes the geologist David Archer, “and toward the over-exploitation of unregulated common resources. These tendencies are like the invisible hand of fate, guiding the hero in a Greek tragedy toward his inevitable doom.” This is indeed the essence of humanity’s present derangement.
Amitav Ghosh (The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable)
Light. Space. Light and space without time, I think, for this is a country with only the slightest traces of human history. In the doctrine of the geologists with their scheme of ages, eons and epochs all is flux, as Heraclitus taught, but from the mortally human point of view the landscape of the Colorado is like a section of eternity- timeless. In all my years in the canyon country I have yet see a rock fall, of its own volition, so to speak, aside from floods. To convince myself of the reality of change and therefore time I will sometimes push a stone over the edge of a cliff and watch it descend and wait- lighting my pipe- for the report of its impact and disintegration to return. Doing my bit to help, of course, aiding natural processes and verifying the hypotheses of geological morphology. But am not entirely convinced.
Edward Abbey (Desert Solitaire)
There’s a spot over Lake Superior where migrating butterflies veer sharply. No one understood why they made such a quick turn at that specific place until a geologist finally made the connection: a mountain rose out of the water in that exact location thousands of years ago. These butterflies and their offspring can still remember a mass they’ve never seen,
Aimee Nezhukumatathil (World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments)
I'm here to present my findings at the symposium. I'm an esteemed member of the Society, with an impressive record of scholarship, and I have something of value to contribute to these proceedings. I also happen to be female. I'm a woman who knows a great deal about rocks. I suggest you find the stones to deal with it.
Tessa Dare (A Week to be Wicked (Spindle Cove, #2))
And now, indeed, everything began to look new, unexpected, full of surprises. I had a book in my hands to while away the time, and it occurred to me that in a way a landscape is not unlike a book--a compilation of pages that overlap without any two ever being the same. People open the book according to their taste and training, their memories and desires: for a geologist the compilation opens at one page, for a boatman at another, and still another for a ship's pilot, a painter and so on. On occasion these pages are ruled with lines that are invisible to some people, while being for others as real, as charged and as volatile as high-voltage cables.
Amitav Ghosh (The Hungry Tide)
It must have appeared almost as improbable to the earlier geologists, that the laws of earthquakes should one day throw light on the origin of mountains, as it must to the first astronomers, that the fall of an apple should assist in explaining the motions of the moon.
Charles Lyell (Principles of Geology, Volume 3)
The home terms still apply. The enthusiasm geologists show for adding new words to their conversation is, if anything, exceeded by their affection for the old. They are not about to drop granite. They say granodiorite when they are in church and granite the rest of the week.
John McPhee (Annals of the Former World)
Boys are cheats and liars, they're such a big disgrace. They will tell you anything to get to second base... ball, baseball he thinks he's gonna score. If you let him go all the way then you are a hor... ticulture studies flowers, geologist studies rocks. The only thing a guy wants from you is a place to put his cock... roaches, beetles, butterflies and bugs. Nothing makes him happier than a giant pair of jug... glers and acrobats, a dancing bear named Chuck. All guys really want to do is - forget it, no such luck.
...if you want to make a room full of geologist shut up, tir their hands to their sides.
Sarah Andrews
Geologists might seem boring, but we’re really renegades.
Tessa Dare (A Week to Be Wicked (Spindle Cove, #2))
published in 1980, John McPhee noted that even then one American geologist in eight still didn’t believe in plate tectonics. Today
Bill Bryson (A Short History of Nearly Everything)
The history of any one part of the Earth, like the life of a soldier, consists of long periods of boredom and short periods of terror. British geologist Derek V.Ager
Bill Bryson (A Short History of Nearly Everything)
To geologists, it's death, taxes, and climate change that are the true constants of life on Earth.
E. Kirsten Peters (The Whole Story of Climate: What Science Reveals About the Nature of Endless Change)
One thing quarks do have going for them: all their names are simple—something chemists, biologists, and especially geologists seem incapable of achieving when naming their own stuff.
Neil deGrasse Tyson (Astrophysics for People in a Hurry (Astrophysics for People in a Hurry Series))
What did this mean for the ocean, the ecosystem, the future? All this plastic had appeared in barely more than 50 years. Would its chemical constituents or additives—for instance, colorants such as metallic copper— concentrate as they ascended the food chain, and alter evolution? Would it last long enough to enter the fossil record? Would geologists millions of years hence find Barbie doll parts embedded in conglomerates formed in seabed depositions? Would they be intact enough to be pieced together like dinosaur bones? Or would they decompose first, expelling hydrocarbons that would seep out of a vast plastic Neptune’s graveyard for eons to come, leaving fossilized imprints of Barbie and Ken hardened in stone for eons beyond?
Alan Weisman (The World Without Us)
The scientific world of the time was in the midst of a terrible ferment, with discoveries and realizations coming at an unseemly rate. To many in the ranks of the conservative and the devout, the new theories of geology and biology were delivering a series of hammer blows to mankind's self-regard. Geologists in particular seemed to have gone berserk, to have thrown off all sense of proper obeisance to their Maker... Mankind, it seemed, was now suddenly rather – dare one say it? – insignificant. He may not have been, as he had eternally supposed, specially created.
Simon Winchester (Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded: August 27, 1883)
Darwin was a biological evolutionist, because he was first a uniformitarian geologist. Biology is pre-eminent to-day among the natural sciences, because its younger sister, Geology, gave it the means.
Charles Lapworth
Permian recalls the former Russian province of Perm in the Ural Mountains. For Cretaceous (from the Latin for chalk) we are indebted to a Belgian geologist with the perky name of J. J. d’Omalius d’Halloy.
Bill Bryson (A Short History of Nearly Everything)
With the growth of civilisation in Europe, and with the revival of letters and of science in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the ethical and intellectual criticism of theology once more recommenced, and arrived at a temporary resting-place in the confessions of the various reformed Protestant sects in the sixteenth century; almost all of which, as soon as they were strong enough, began to persecute those who carried criticism beyond their own limit. But the movement was not arrested by these ecclesiastical barriers, as their constructors fondly imagined it would be; it was continued, tacitly or openly, by Galileo, by Hobbes, by Descartes, and especially by Spinoza, in the seventeenth century; by the English Freethinkers, by Rousseau, by the French Encyclopaedists, and by the German Rationalists, among whom Lessing stands out a head and shoulders taller than the rest, throughout the eighteenth century; by the historians, the philologers, the Biblical critics, the geologists, and the biologists in the nineteenth century, until it is obvious to all who can see that the moral sense and the really scientific method of seeking for truth are once more predominating over false science. Once more ethics and theology are parting company.
Thomas Henry Huxley (The Evolution Of Theology: An Anthropological Study)
The director said there would be three decoys. Added to the real diamond, that makes four. One would stay behind at the museum. Three others would be sent in three different directions. One south with a young geologist. Another north with the chief of security. And one is here, in a field west of Versailles, inside the tool case of Daniel LeBlanc, principal locksmith for the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle. Three
Anthony Doerr (All the Light We Cannot See)
You want undergraduates who can write, think, and read? Stop pretending that writing can be taught across the curriculum by geologists and physicists who wouldn’t recognize a dependent clause if it bit them on the ass.
Julie Schumacher (Dear Committee Members)
An interesting contrast between the geology of the present day and that of half a century ago, is presented by the complete emancipation of the modern geologist from the controlling and perverting influence of theology, all-powerful at the earlier date. As the geologist of my young days wrote, he had one eye upon fact, and the other on Genesis; at present, he wisely keeps both eyes on fact, and ignores the pentateuchal mythology altogether. The publication of the 'Principles of Geology' brought upon its illustrious author a period of social ostracism; the instruction given to our children is based upon those principles. Whewell had the courage to attack Lyell's fundamental assumption (which surely is a dictate of common sense) that we ought to exhaust known causes before seeking for the explanation of geological phenomena in causes of which we have no experience.
Thomas Henry Huxley (Advance of Science in the Last Half-Century, The)
fathers who regularly do household chores, according to a University of British Columbia study, have daughters who are more likely to aspire to less stereotypically feminine careers, instead voicing an ambition to be an astronaut, professional soccer player, or geologist. When girls see fathers pulling their own weight, they receive a direct message that they are not—and should not be—destined to shoulder all the tedious work by themselves.
Jancee Dunn (How Not to Hate Your Husband After Kids)
The careful observations and the acute reasonings of the Italian geologists of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; the speculations of Leibnitz in the 'Protogaea' and of Buffon in his 'Théorie de la Terre;' the sober and profound reasonings of Hutton, in the latter part of the eighteenth century; all these tended to show that the fabric of the earth itself implied the continuance of processes of natural causation for a period of time as great, in relation to human history, as the distances of the heavenly bodies from us are, in relation to terrestrial standards of measurement. The abyss of time began to loom as large as the abyss of space. And this revelation to sight and touch, of a link here and a link there of a practically infinite chain of natural causes and effects, prepared the way, as perhaps nothing else has done, for the modern form of the ancient theory of evolution.
Thomas Henry Huxley (Advance of Science in the Last Half-Century, The)
SOUTH AMERICA’S GREAT Atacama Desert is a place unlike any other. Its climate is different, with close to zero rainfall but occasional thick fogs. Its plants and animals are different—what there are of them, which is to say almost none—capable of living with almost no water. Even its rocks are different. The floor of the Atacama is crusted and shot through with a riot of strange chemicals: nitrates, chromates, and dichromates; perchlorates, iodates, sulfates, and borates; chlorides of potassium, magnesium, and calcium; minerals “so extraordinary,” a researcher wrote, “were it not for their existence, geologists could easily conclude that such deposits could not form in nature.” How
Thomas Hager (The Alchemy of Air: A Jewish Genius, a Doomed Tycoon, and the Scientific Discovery That Fed the World but Fueled the Rise of Hitler)
Miners and geologists, for whom the bleakness of Kovir’s barren mountains and rocks was an infallible signal that if there was such paucity on the surface there must be wealth beneath, also headed North. For nature loves equilibrium.
Andrzej Sapkowski (The Tower of Swallows (The Witcher, #4))
One could make a compelling argument that we know more about the universe than the marine biologist knows about the bottom of the ocean or the geologist knows about the center of Earth. Far from an existence as powerless stargazers, modern astrophysicists are armed to the teeth with the tools and techniques of spectroscopy, enabling us all to stay firmly planted on Earth, yet finally touch the stars (without burning our fingers) and claim to know them as never before.
Neil deGrasse Tyson (Death by Black Hole)
It has been Anita’s style as a geologist to begin with an outcrop and address herself to history from there—to begin with what she can touch, and then to reason her way back through time as far as she can go. A river conglomerate, as tangible rock, unarguably presents the river. The river speaks of higher ground. The volume of sediment that the river has carried can imply a range of mountains. To find Precambrian jaspers in the beds of younger rivers means that the Precambrian, the so-called basement rock, was lifted to form the mountains. These are sensible inferences drawn cleanly through an absence of alternatives. To go back in this way, retrospectively, from scene to shifting scene, is to go down the rock column, groping toward the beginning of the world. There is firm ground some of the way. Eventually, there comes a point where inference will shade into conjecture. In recesses even more remote, conjecture may usurp the original franchise of God.
John McPhee (Annals of the Former World)
The authors of literary works may not have intended all the subtleties, complexities, undertones, and overtones that are attributed to them by critics and by students writing doctoral theses." "That's what God says about geologists," I told him...
John McPhee (Basin and Range)
Little by little, over more than two centuries, the local stories told by rocks in all parts of the world have been stitched together into a great global tapestry - the geologic timescale. This "map" of Deep Time represents one of the great intellectual achievements of humanity, arduously constructed by stratigraphers, paleontologists, geochemists, and geochronologists from many cultures and faiths. It is still a work in progress to which details are constantly being added and finer and finer calibrations being made.
Marcia Bjornerud (Timefulness: How Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World)
Yet it would be nearly impossible to overstate Lyell’s influence. The Principles of Geology went through twelve editions in his lifetime and contained notions that shaped geological thinking far into the twentieth century. Darwin took a first edition with him on the Beagle voyage and wrote afterwards that ‘the great merit of the Principles was that it altered the whole tone of one’s mind, and therefore that, when seeing a thing never seen by Lyell, one yet saw it partially through his eyes22.’ In short, he thought him nearly a god, as did many of his generation. It is a testament to the strength of Lyell’s sway that in the 1980s, when geologists had to abandon just a part of his theory to accommodate the impact theory of extinctions, it nearly killed them. But that is another chapter.
Bill Bryson (A Short History of Nearly Everything)
Don’t you ever get tired of believing, Madame? Don’t you ever want proof?” Madame Manec rests a hand on Marie-Laure’s forehead. The thick hand that first reminded her of a gardener’s or a geologist’s. “You must never stop believing. That’s the most important thing.
Anthony Doerr (All the Light We Cannot See)
When the Muslims conquered India, they did not bring along archaeologists to systematically study Indian history, anthropologists to study Indian cultures, geologists to study Indian soils, or zoologists to study Indian fauna. When the British conquered India, they did all of these things.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
One of the wilder proselytizers, a Scandinavian geologist Henrick Steffens, was said to have stated that ‘The diamond is a piece of carbon that has come to its sense.’ To which a Scottish geologist, probably John Playfair gave the legendary reply, ‘Then a quartz, therefore, must be a diamond run mad.
Richard Holmes
The end-Permian extinction also seems to have been triggered by a change in the climate. But in this case, the change went in the opposite direction. Right at the time of extinction, 252 million years ago, there was a massive release of carbon into the air—so massive that geologists have a hard time even imagining where all the carbon could have come from. Temperatures soared—the seas warmed by as much as eighteen degrees—and the chemistry of the oceans went haywire, as if in an out-of-control aquarium. The water became acidified, and the amount of dissolved oxygen dropped so low that many organisms probably, in effect, suffocated.
Elizabeth Kolbert (The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History)
[In geology,] As in history, the material in hand remains silent if no questions are asked. The nature of these questions depends on the 'school' to which the geologist belongs and on the objectivity of his investigations. Hans Cloos called this way of interrogation 'the dialogue with the earth,' 'das Gesprach mit der Erde.
R.W. van Bemmelen
To my surprise, I found that geology demanded a type of whole-brain thinking I hadn't encountered before. It creatively appropriated ideas from physics and chemistry for the investigation of unruly volcanoes and oceans and ice sheets, It applied scholarly habits one associates with the study of literature and the arts - the practice of close reading, sensitivity to allusion and analogy, capacity for spatial visualization - to the examination of rocks. Its particular form of inferential logic demanded mental versatility and a vigorous but disciplined imagination. And its explanatory power was vast; it was nothing less than the etymology of the world.
Marcia Bjornerud (Timefulness: How Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World)
Fathoming deep time is arguably geology’s single greatest contribution to humanity. Just as the microscope and telescope extended our vision into spatial realms once too minuscule or too immense for us to see, geology provides a lens through which we can witness time in a way that transcends the limits of our human experiences.
Marcia Bjornerud (Timefulness: How Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World)
So Dan Miller decided to roast a pig. The idea took hold of him after another eruption on August 7. He would roast a pig in the steaming volcano fields at the base of St. Helens. Being a scientist meant that he would do it in a methodical fashion: notes would be kept and he would document everything. The operation needed a cover name because reporters and others were monitoring all radio communication around the volcano, so he called it the 'FPP temperature experiment'. FPP stood for Front Page Palmer, a name the scientists had given a local geology professor who had irritated the Survey geologists by grandstanding for the press. Miller would roast a pig and Palmer at the same time.
Dick Thompson (Volcano Cowboys: The Rocky Evolution of a Dangerous Science)
I was teaching introductory geology at Caltech for the first time. I’m not a geologist. I’ve never taken a single class in geology. If you gave me a handful of different types of rocks, chances are I could identify only a small number of them. I still get confused by the meanings of strike and dip. Luckily, most of my students didn’t realize this.
Mike Brown (How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming)
Antipathy toward time clouds personal and collective thinking.
Marcia Bjornerud (Timefulness: How Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World)
we should all carry two slips of paper in our pockets: one that says “I am ashes and dust,” and one that reads “The world was made for me.
Marcia Bjornerud (Timefulness: How Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World)
From what I’d written in “The Improper Princess” and from the history I’d given in Talking to Dragons, I already knew the general outline of her adventures, which, again, required someone smart, practical, and sure of herself. Explaining this occasionally confounds people who think that I wrote Cimorene as some sort of feminist statement about what women can achieve. I find their surprise hard to understand. My real-life family and friends are full of women like Cimorene, from my twin cousins, who have been fur trappers in the Alaskan bush for most of their lives, to my mother, who became an engineer long before women’s liberation officially opened “nontraditional careers” to women, to my grandmothers, aunts, and cousins, who were office managers, farmers, nurses, nuns, geologists, and bookkeepers, among other things. None of these women takes any guff from anyone. They aren’t proving a point about what women could, should, or can do; they are ignoring that whole question (which none of them considers a question worth asking at all) and getting on with doing the things that interest them most.
Patricia C. Wrede (Dealing with Dragons (Enchanted Forest Chronicles, #1))
We had defied our caste assignments: He was not a warrior or ruler. He was a geologist. I was not a domestic. I was an author. He had defied his caste from on high and I, from below, and we had met at this moment in London at our own Maginot Line of equality, standing on different sides of the same quest to understand the forces that had sought to define us but had failed.
Isabel Wilkerson (Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents)
You can hardly convince a man of an error in a lifetime, but must content yourself with the reflection that the progress of science is slow. If he is not convinced, his grandchildren may be. The geologists tell us that it took one hundred years to prove that fossils are organic, and one hundred and fifty more, to prove that they are not to be referred to the Noachian deluge.
Henry David Thoreau
By the age of twelve, he was using the family typewriter to correspond with a number of well-known local geologists about the rock formations he had studied in Central Park. Not aware of his youth, one of these correspondents nominated Robert for membership in the New York Mineralogical Club, and soon thereafter a letter arrived inviting him to deliver a lecture before the club.
Kai Bird (American Prometheus)
If Darwin is right, Agassiz argued, then we should find not just one or a few missing links, but innumerable links shading almost imperceptibly from alleged ancestors to presumed descendants. Geologists, however, had found no such myriad of transitional forms leading to the Cambrian fauna. Instead, the stratigraphic column seemed to document the abrupt appearance of the earliest animals. Agassiz
Stephen C. Meyer (Darwin's Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design)
At a depth of 2,400 metres, about a mile and a half straight down, the team found the vents they had predicted, but also something they had not – life, in extreme abundance. . . The team were so unprepared to find life that there wasn’t a single biologist among them – they were all geologists. When they collected specimens and brought them back to the surface, the only preservative they had was vodka.
Ed Yong (I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life)
The way grew more and more stony and this made me suspicious. If we were approaching a town we ought by now to have found a path. Instead there were these jumbled white stones that looked as if they had been combed out by an ignorant hand from the elements that make least sense. There must be stupid portions of heaven, too, and these had rolled straight down from it. I am no geologist but the word calcareous seemed to fit them. They were composed of lime and my guess was that they must have originated in a body of water. Now they were ultra-dry but filled with little caves from which cooler air was exhaled—ideal places for a siesta in the heat of noon, provided no snakes came. But the sun was in decline, trumpeting downward. The cave mouths were open and there was this coarse and clumsy gnarled white stone.
Saul Bellow (Henderson the Rain King)
Of course the theologians fought the facts found by the geologists, the scientists, and sought to sustain the sacred Scriptures. They mistook the bones of the mastodon for those of human beings, and by them proudly proved that "there were giants in those days." They accounted for the fossils by saying that God had made them to try our faith, or that the Devil had imitated the works of the Creator. They answered the geologists by saying that the "days" in Genesis were long periods of time, and that after all the flood might have been local. They told the astronomers that the sun and moon were not actually, but only apparently, stopped. And that the appearance was produced by the reflection and refraction of light. They excused the slavery and polygamy, the robbery and murder upheld in the Old Testament by saying that the people were so degraded that Jehovah was compelled to pander to their ignorance and prejudice. In every way the clergy sought to evade the facts, to dodge the truth, to preserve the creed. At first they flatly denied the facts -- then they belittled them -- then they harmonized them -- then they denied that they had denied them. Then they changed the meaning of the "inspired" book to fit the facts. At first they said that if the facts, as claimed, were true, the Bible was false and Christianity itself a superstition. Afterward they said the facts, as claimed, were true and that they established beyond all doubt the inspiration of the Bible and the divine origin of orthodox religion. Anything they could not dodge, they swallowed and anything they could not swallow, they dodged. I gave up the Old Testament on account of its mistakes, its absurdities, its ignorance and its cruelty. I gave up the New because it vouched for the truth of the Old. I gave it up on account of its miracles, its contradictions, because Christ and his disciples believe in the existence of devils -- talked and made bargains with them. expelled them from people and animals. This, of itself, is enough. We know, if we know anything, that devils do not exist -- that Christ never cast them out, and that if he pretended to, he was either ignorant, dishonest or insane.
Robert G. Ingersoll
The long, slow turn of world-time as the geologist has known it, and the invisibly moving hour hand of evolution perceived only yesterday by the biologist, have given way in the human realm to a fantastically accelerated social evolution induced by industrial technology. So fast does this change progress that a growing child strives to master the institutional customs of a society which, compared with the pace of past history, compresses centuries of change into his lifetime. I myself, like others of my generation, was born in an age which has already perished. At my death I will look my last upon a nation which, save for some linguistic continuity, will seem increasingly alien and remote. It will be as though I peered upon my youth through misty centuries. I will not be merely old; I will be a genuine fossil embedded in onrushing man-made time before my actual death.
Loren Eiseley (The Invisible Pyramid)
In 1864 a geologist named that supercontinent Lemuria, because he used the theory to account for the fact that living lemurs were found, in the nineteenth century, only in Madagascar and the surrounding islands, and fossil lemurs were found from Pakistan to Malaya, but no lemurs, living or dead, were found in Africa or the Middle East (areas that would never have been connected to Lemuria as Madagascar and Pakistan presumably once were).
Wendy Doniger (The Hindus: An Alternative History)
about her in a long conversation with Professor Stumph, the learned geologist. Rose did not care, for one dance proved to her that that branch of Mac's education had been sadly neglected, and she was glad to glide smoothly about with Steve, though he was only an inch or two taller than herself. She had plenty of partners, however, and plenty of chaperons, for all the young men were her most devoted, and all the matrons beamed upon her with
Louisa May Alcott (Rose in Bloom (Eight Cousins #2))
had still not been promoted. In fact, she was now reporting to a new hire—a twenty-one-year-old boy fresh out of college with no discernible skills other than making chains out of paper clips. As for Eddie—the geologist she’d slept with to prove she was marriage material—he’d dumped her two years ago for a virgin. Today’s latest slap in the face: her new boy-boss had given her a seven-point plan for improvement. Item one: lose twenty pounds.
Bonnie Garmus (Lessons in Chemistry)
Traveling with more than a hundred men, from engineers, cartographers, and geologists to astronomers, meteorologists, and botanists, as well as soldiers and guides, Whipple trudged through present-day Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico, into what would become Arizona, on a path that vaguely foreshadowed today’s Route 66. The group was guided along the way by Indians — Creeks, Shawnees, and Zunis. But it was the Mohaves who would lead Whipple on the final leg of the journey.2 On
Margot Mifflin (The Blue Tattoo: The Life of Olive Oatman (Women in the West))
Sara understood this passion that beset geologists. Their minds were heavy with theories shaped by fire and water, their pockets weighted with residual bits of evidence chipped from road cuts and canyon walls, identifiable, able to be pigeonholed in time that stretched back five hundred million years. She understood that the rock in the Canadian's hand was likely to endure intact long after the bones of the four people in this room would be discovered set in sandstone among snail shells and ferns.
Harriet Doerr (Stones for Ibarra)
Those who believe that the End of Days is just around the corner have no reason to be concerned about matters like climate change, groundwater depletion, or loss of biodiversity.3 If there is no future, conservation of any kind is, paradoxically, wasteful.
Marcia Bjornerud (Timefulness: How Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World)
Cynthia Dusel-Bacon, by all accounts a rugged thirty-one-year-old geologist, was conducting a land survey in the Alaskan bush in 1977 when she saw an aggressive black bear beelining toward her. Dusel-Bacon waved her arms and shouted, right up until the moment the bear knocked her down, after which she decided to play dead so the bear wouldn’t see her as a threat. That was a consequential error in judgment, experts said afterward, because the 170-pound bear likely never saw her as a threat. It was just hungry. When she stopped resisting, it dragged her into the trees and began to eat her alive. Even as some parts of her body disappeared down the throat of the bear, other parts of her body, quite heroically, accessed a communication device and alerted a partner in the area as to her emergency. Other geologists arrived in a helicopter and scared the bear off in time to save her life. The never-say-die Dusel-Bacon went on to post instructional YouTube videos in which she demonstrates how to chop carrots, wash dishes, and get dressed with two prosthetic arms.
Matthew Hongoltz-Hetling (A Libertarian Walks Into a Bear: The Utopian Plot to Liberate an American Town (And Some Bears))
By the age of twelve, he was using the family typewriter to correspond with a number of well-known local geologists about the rock formations he had studied in Central Park. Not aware of his youth, one of these correspondents nominated Robert for membership in the New York Mineralogical Club, and soon thereafter a letter arrived inviting him to deliver a lecture before the club. Dreading the thought of having to talk to an audience of adults, Robert begged his father to explain that they had invited a twelve-year-old. Greatly amused, Julius encouraged his son to accept this honor. On the designated evening, Robert showed up at the club with his parents, who proudly introduced their son as “J. Robert Oppenheimer.” The startled audience of geologists and amateur rock collectors burst out laughing when he stepped up to the podium; a wooden box had to be found for him to stand on so that the audience could see more than the shock of his wiry black hair sticking up above the lectern. Shy and awkward, Robert nevertheless read his prepared remarks and was given a hearty round of applause. Julius
Kai Bird (American Prometheus)
After that I went to Sydney and talked profitlessly with seamen and members of the vice-admiralty court. I saw the Alert, now sold and in commercial use, at Circular Quay in Sydney Cove, but gained nothing from its non-committal bulk. The crouching image with its cuttlefish head, dragon body, scaly wings, and hieroglyphed pedestal, was preserved in the Museum at Hyde Park; and I studied it long and well, finding it a thing of balefully exquisite workmanship, and with the same utter mystery, terrible antiquity, and unearthly strangeness of material which I had noted in Legrasse’s smaller specimen. Geologists,
H.P. Lovecraft (The Complete Works of H.P. Lovecraft)
I think it is almost impossible that he [Prophet Muhammad (saas)] could have known about things like the common origin of the universe, because scientists have only found out within the last few years with very complicated and advanced technological methods that this is the case. Somebody who did not know something about nuclear physics 1400 years ago could not, I think, be in a position to find out from his own mind for instance that the earth and the heavens had the same origin, or many others of the questions that we have discussed here. (Alfred Kroner, Professor of the Department of Geosciences, University of Mainz, Germany. One of the world's most famous geologists)
Harun Yahya (Allah's Miracles in the Qur'an)
Because the British were the most active in the early years of the discipline, British names are predominant in the geological lexicon. Devonian is of course from the English county of Devon. Cambrian comes from the Roman name for Wales, while Ordovician and Silurian recall ancient Welsh tribes, the Ordovices and Silures. But with the rise of geological prospecting elsewhere, names began to creep in from all over. Jurassic refers to the Jura Mountains on the border of France and Switzerland. Permian recalls the former Russian province of Perm in the Ural Mountains. For Cretaceous (from the Latin for chalk) we are indebted to a Belgian geologist with the perky name of J. J. d’Omalius d’Halloy.
Bill Bryson (A Short History of Nearly Everything)
Geologists think the mountains were formed by several distinct tectonic events over the course of 500 million years, a span of time that represents a thick slice of the planet's geological record. The Appalachians once soared as high as the Rockies or even higher. They were most recently thrust upward about 290 million years ago, which makes these mountains older than the bones of the first dinosaurs. They predate the appearance of deciduous trees. They are older than flowers. There were mountains here before the Earth had ever seen anything as fantastic as grass. Some of the rocks were formed in the Precambrian Era, in that gray epoch when life was pondering a wholesale leap from one cell to many.
Joel Achenbach (The Grand Idea: George Washington's Potomac & the Race to the West)
Years ago, I asked an acquaintance who was completing his PhD in geology if he had seen any geological evidence for Noah’s Flood. He answered that he had not. And added that geologists don’t see a “flood layer” like they do the iridium layer all over the world. Since then, after much study and reflection, I have come to the conclusion that if the descriptions of the Flood in the scriptures and related sources are reasonably accurate, geologists have been ignoring what is right before their eyes. No surface feature on Earth would have escaped significant alteration, and in many places the changes would have been extreme! There would be no “flood layer,” but there would be many diverse strata and features providing clues.
David Barker (Science and Religion: Reconciling the Conflicts)
It concerns the growing body of evidence that 12,800 years ago a giant comet traveling on an orbit that took it through the inner solar system broke up into multiple fragments, and that many of these fragments, some more than a mile (2.4 kilometers) in diameter, hit the earth. It is believed that North America was the epicenter of the resulting cataclysm with several of the largest impacts on the North American ice cap causing floods and tidal waves and throwing a vast cloud of dust into the upper atmosphere that enshrouded the earth, preventing the sun’s rays from reaching the surface and thus initiating the sudden, mysterious global deep freeze that geologists call the Younger Dryas. We will go into the evidence for all this, and how it relates to “Bretz’s flood
Graham Hancock (Magicians of the Gods: The Forgotten Wisdom of Earth's Lost Civilization)
Over human timescales, however, our disruption of geography will haunt us. Soil lost to erosion, coastal areas claimed by the sea, and mountaintops sacrificed on the altar of capitalism won't be restored in our lifetime. And these alterations will set in motion a cascade of side effects--hydrologic, biological, social, economic, and political--that will define the human agenda for centuries.
Marcia Bjornerud (Timefulness: How Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World)
What we can imagine as plausible is a narrow band in the middle of a much broader spectrum of what is actually possible. [O]ur eyes are built to cope with a narrow band of electromagnetic frequencies. [W]e can't see the rays outside the narrow light band, but we can do calculations about them, and we can build instruments to detect them. In the same way, we know that the scales of size and time extend in both directions far outside the realm of what we can visualize. Our minds can't cope with the large distances that astronomy deals in or with the small distances that atomic physics deals in, but we can represent those distances in mathematical symbols. Our minds can't imagine a time span as short as a picosecond, but we can do calculations about picoseconds, and we can build computers that can complete calculations within picoseconds. Our minds can't imagine a timespan as long as a million years, let alone the thousands of millions of years that geologists routinely compute. Just as our eyes can see only that narrow band of electromagnetic frequencies that natural selection equipped our ancestors to see, so our brains are built to cope with narrow bands of sizes and times. Presumably there was no need for our ancestors to cope with sizes and times outside the narrow range of everyday practicality, so our brains never evolved the capacity to imagine them. It is probably significant that our own body size of a few feet is roughly in the middle of the range of sizes we can imagine. And our own lifetime of a few decades is roughly in the middle of the range of times we can imagine.
Richard Dawkins (The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design)
More pervasive and corrosive are the nearly invisible forms of time denial that are built into the very infrastructure of our society. For example, in the logic of economics, in which labor productivity must always increase to justify higher wages, professions centered on tasks that simply take time - education, nursing, or art performance - constitute a problem because they cannot be made significantly more efficient.
Marcia Bjornerud (Timefulness: How Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World)
In 1831, the Royal Navy sent the ship HMS Beagle to map the coasts of South America, the Falklands Islands and the Galapagos Islands. The navy needed this knowledge in order to be better prepared in the event of war. The ship’s captain, who was an amateur scientist, decided to add a geologist to the expedition to study geological formations they might encounter on the way. After several professional geologists refused his invitation, the captain offered the job to a twenty-two-year-old Cambridge graduate, Charles Darwin. Darwin had studied to become an Anglican parson but was far more interested in geology and natural sciences than in the Bible. He jumped at the opportunity, and the rest is history. The captain spent his time on the voyage drawing military maps while Darwin collected the empirical data and formulated the insights that would eventually become the theory of evolution.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
In 1831, the Royal Navy sent the ship HMS Beagle to map the coasts of South America, the Falklands Islands and the Galapagos Islands. The navy needed this knowledge in order to tighten Britain’s imperial grip over South America. The ship’s captain, who was an amateur scientist, decided to add a geologist to the expedition to study geological formations they might encounter on the way. After several professional geologists refused his invitation, the captain offered the job to a twenty-two-year-old Cambridge graduate, Charles Darwin. Darwin had studied to become an Anglican parson but was far more interested in geology and natural sciences than in the Bible. He jumped at the opportunity, and the rest is history. The captain spent his time on the voyage drawing military maps while Darwin collected the empirical data and formulated the insights that would eventually become the theory of evolution.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
We tend to think of the water cycle as a relatively short-term phenomenon; the average molecule of water stays in the atmosphere for about nine days; the residence time of water even in the largest lakes, like Superior, is a century or two; deep groundwater may be stored for a millennium. But there is a 100 million-year water cycle that involves the interior of the Earth, and adding water to the mantle is in fact the critical step in the recipe for continental crust.
Marcia Bjornerud (Timefulness: How Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World)
It is also not the “end of nature” but, instead, the end of the illusion that we are outside nature. Dazzled by our own creations, we have forgotten that we are wholly embedded in a much older, more powerful world whose constancy we take for granted. As a species, we are much less flexible than we would like to believe, vulnerable to economic loss and prone to social unrest when nature—in the guise of Katrina, Sandy, or Harvey, among others—diverges just a little from what we expect.
Marcia Bjornerud (Timefulness: How Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World)
Bohr is really doing what the Stoic allegorists did to close the gap between their world and Homer's, or what St. Augustine did when he explained, against the evidence, the concord of the canonical scriptures. The dissonances as well as the harmonies have to be made concordant by means of some ultimate complementarity. Later biblical scholarship has sought different explanations, and more sophisticated concords; but the motive is the same, however the methods may differ. An epoch, as Einstein remarked, is the instruments of its research. Stoic physics, biblical typology, Copenhagen quantum theory, are all different, but all use concord-fictions and assert complementarities. Such fictions meet a need. They seem to do what Bacon said poetry could: 'give some show of satisfaction to the mind, wherein the nature of things doth seem to deny it.' Literary fictions ( Bacon's 'poetry') do likewise. One consequence is that they change, for the same reason that patristic allegory is not the same thing, though it may be essentially the same kind of thing, as the physicists' Principle of Complementarity. The show of satisfaction will only serve when there seems to be a degree of real compliance with reality as we, from time to time, imagine it. Thus we might imagine a constant value for the irreconcileable observations of the reason and the imagination, the one immersed in chronos, the other in kairos; but the proportions vary indeterminably. Or, when we find 'what will suffice,' the element of what I have called the paradigmatic will vary. We measure and order time with our fictions; but time seems, in reality, to be ever more diverse and less and less subject to any uniform system of measurement. Thus we think of the past in very different timescales, according to what we are doing; the time of the art-historian is different from that of the geologist, that of the football coach from the anthropologist's. There is a time of clocks, a time of radioactive carbon, a time even of linguistic change, as in lexicostatics. None of these is the same as the 'structural' or 'family' time of sociology. George Kubler in his book The Shape of Time distinguished between 'absolute' and 'systematic' age, a hierarchy of durations from that of the coral reef to that of the solar year. Our ways of filling the interval between the tick and tock must grow more difficult and more selfcritical, as well as more various; the need we continue to feel is a need of concord, and we supply it by increasingly varied concord-fictions. They change as the reality from which we, in the middest, seek a show of satisfaction, changes; because 'times change.' The fictions by which we seek to find 'what will suffice' change also. They change because we no longer live in a world with an historical tick which will certainly be consummated by a definitive tock. And among all the other changing fictions, literary fictions take their place. They find out about the changing world on our behalf; they arrange our complementarities. They do this, for some of us, perhaps better than history, perhaps better than theology, largely because they are consciously false; but the way to understand their development is to see how they are related to those other fictional systems. It is not that we are connoisseurs of chaos, but that we are surrounded by it, and equipped for coexistence with it only by our fictive powers. This may, in the absence of a supreme fiction-or the possibility of it, be a hard fate; which is why the poet of that fiction is compelled to say From this the poem springs: that we live in a place That is not our own, and much more, nor ourselves And hard it is, in spite of blazoned days.
Frank Kermode (The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction)
The great heaps of sediment also underscore an amazing fact about the Earth: that the speeds of tectonic processes, driven by the internal radioactive heat of the Earth are, by happy coincidence, about evenly matched 13 by the tempo of external agents of erosion— wind, rain, rivers, glaciers— powered by gravity and solar energy. In the barbershop analogy, it is as if the hair on a customer’s head keeps growing as fast as the barber can cut it. And while the tectonic growth and erosional trimming of mountains both proceed at an average pace that is deliberate, they are not so slow as to be beyond our perception.
Marcia Bjornerud (Timefulness: How Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World)
Ocean Acidification is sometimes referred to as Global Warming's Equally Evil Twin. The irony is intentional and fair enough as far as it goes... No single mechanism explains all the mass extinctions in the record and yet changes in ocean chemistry seem to be a pretty good predictor. Ocean Acidification played a role in at least 2 of the Big Five Extinctions: the End-Permian and the End-Triassic. And quite possibly it was a major factor in a third, the End-Cretaceous. ...Why is ocean acidification so dangerous? The question is tough to answer only because the list of reasons is so long. Depending on how tightly organisms are able to regulate their internal chemistry, acidification may affect such basic processes as metabolism, enzyme activity, and protein function. Because it will change the makeup of microbial communities, it will alter the availability of key nutrients, like iron and nitrogen. For similar reasons, it will change the amount of light that passes through the water, and for somewhat different reasons, it will alter the way sound propagates. (In general, acidification is expected to make the seas noisier.) It seems likely to promote the growth of toxic algae. It will impact photosynthesis—many plant species are apt to benefit from elevated CO2 levels—and it will alter the compounds formed by dissolved metals, in some cases in ways that could be poisonous. Of the myriad possible impacts, probably the most significant involves the group of creatures known as calcifiers. (The term calcifier applies to any organism that builds a shell or external skeleton or, in the case of plants, a kind of internal scaffolding out of the mineral calcium carbonate.)... Ocean acidification increases the cost of calcification by reducing the number of carbonate ions available to organisms that build shells or exoskeletons. Imagine trying to build a house while someone keeps stealing your bricks. The more acidified the water, the greater the energy that’s required to complete the necessary steps. At a certain point, the water becomes positively corrosive, and solid calcium carbonate begins to dissolve. This is why the limpets that wander too close to the vents at Castello Aragonese end up with holes in their shells. According to geologists who work in the area, the vents have been spewing carbon dioxide for at least several hundred years, maybe longer. Any mussel or barnacle or keel worm that can adapt to lower pH in a time frame of centuries presumably already would have done so. “You give them generations on generations to survive in these conditions, and yet they’re not there,” Hall-Spencer observed.
Elizabeth Kolbert (The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History)
Geologists claim to find evidence from the earth itself that it is very much older than the Mosaic record teaches. Bones of men and animals, as well as instruments of warfare, petrified trees, et cetera, much larger than any that now exist, or that have existed for thousands of years, have been discovered, and from this it is inferred that the earth was populated long before the time brought to view in the record of creation, and by a race of beings vastly superior in size to any men now living. Such reasoning has led many professed Bible believers to adopt the position that the days of creation were vast, indefinite periods. But apart from Bible history, geology can prove nothing. Those who reason so confidently upon its discoveries have no adequate conception of the size of men, animals, and trees before the Flood, or of the great changes which then took place. Relics found in the earth do give evidence of conditions differing in many respects from the present, but the time when these conditions existed can be learned only from the Inspired Record. In the history of the Flood, inspiration has explained that which geology alone could never fathom. In the days of Noah, men, animals, and trees, many times larger than now exist, were buried, and thus preserved as an evidence to later generations that the antediluvians perished by a flood. God designed that the discovery of these things should establish faith in inspired history; but men, with their vain reasoning, fall into the same error as did the people before the Flood—the things which God gave them as a benefit, they turn into a curse by making a wrong use of them.
Ellen Gould White (Patriarchs and Prophets (Conflict of the Ages Book 1))
The men entered the sumptuously furnished reception room of the office suite. After the first greeting, they were silent, uncomfortable. They didn’t know what to say. Doc Savage’s father had died from a weird cause since they last saw Doc. The elder Savage had been known throughout the world for his dominant bearing and his good work. Early in life, he had amassed a tremendous fortune— for one purpose. That purpose was to go here and there, from one end of the world to the other, looking for excitement and adventure, striving to help those who needed help, punishing those who deserved it. To that creed he had devoted his life. His fortune had dwindled to practically nothing. But as it shrank, his influence had increased. It was unbelievably wide, a heritage befitting the man. Greater even, though, was the heritage he had given his son. Not in wealth, but in training to take up his career of adventure and righting of wrongs where it left off. Clark Savage, Jr., had been reared from the cradle to become the supreme adventurer. Hardly had Doc learned to walk, when his father started him taking the routine of exercises to which he still adhered. Two hours each day, Doc exercised intensively all his muscles, senses, and his brain. As a result of these exercises, Doc possessed a strength superhuman. There was no magic about it, though. Doc had simply built up muscle intensively all his life. Doc’s mental training had started with medicine and surgery. It had branched out to include all arts and sciences. Just as Doc could easily overpower the gorilla-like Monk in spite of his great strength, so did Doc know more about chemistry. And that applied to Renny, the engineer; Long Tom, the electrical wizard; Johnny, the geologist and the archaeologist; and Ham, the lawyer. Doc had been well trained for his work.
Lester Dent (Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze)
[W]e can calculate our way into regions of miraculous improbability far greater than we can imagine as plausible. Let's look at this matter of what we think is plausible. What we can imagine as plausible is a narrow band in the middle of a much broader spectrum of what is actually possible. Sometimes it is narrower than what is actually there. There is a good analogy with light. Our eyes are built to cope with a narrow band of electromagnetic frequencies (the ones we call light), somewhere in the middle of the spectrum from long radio waves at one end to short X-rays at the other. We can't see the rays outside the narrow light band, but we can do calculations about them, and we can build instruments to detect them. In the same way, we know that the scales of size and time extend in both directions far outside the realm of what we can visualize. Our minds can't cope with the large distances that astronomy deals in or with the small distances that atomic physics deals in, but we can represent those distances in mathematical symbols. Our minds can't imagine a time span as short as a picosecond, but we can do calculations about picoseconds, and we can build computers that can complete calculations within picoseconds. Our minds can't imagine a timespan as long as a million years, let alone the thousands of millions of years that geologists routinely compute. Just as our eyes can see only that narrow band of electromagnetic frequencies that natural selection equipped our ancestors to see, so our brains are built to cope with narrow bands of sizes and times. Presumably there was no need for our ancestors to cope with sizes and times outside the narrow range of everyday practicality, so our brains never evolved the capacity to imagine them. It is probably significant that our own body size of a few feet is roughly in the middle of the range of sizes we can imagine. And our own lifetime of a few decades is roughly in the middle of the range of times we can imagine.
Richard Dawkins (The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design)
if consumption by the one billion people in the developed countries declined, it is certainly nowhere close to doing so where the other six billion of us are concerned. If the rest of the world bought cars and trucks at the same per capita rate as in the United States, the world’s population of cars and trucks would be 5.5 billion. The production of global warming pollution and the consumption of oil would increase dramatically over and above today’s unsustainable levels. With the increasing population and rising living standards in developing countries, the pressure on resource constraints will continue, even as robosourcing and outsourcing reduce macroeconomic demand in developed countries. Around the same time that The Limits to Growth was published, peak oil production was passed in the United States. Years earlier, a respected geologist named M. King Hubbert collected voluminous data on oil production in the United States and calculated that an immutable peak would be reached shortly after 1970. Although his predictions were widely dismissed, peak production did occur exactly when he predicted it would. Exploration, drilling, and recovery technologies have since advanced significantly and U.S. oil production may soon edge back slightly above the 1970 peak, but the new supplies are far more expensive. The balance of geopolitical power shifted slightly after the 1970 milestone. Less than a year after peak oil production in the U.S., the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) began to flex its muscles, and two years later, in the fall of 1973, the Arab members of OPEC implemented the first oil embargo. Since those tumultuous years when peak oil was reached in the United States, energy consumption worldwide has doubled, and the growth rates in China and other emerging markets portend further significant increases. Although the use of coal is declining in the U.S., and coal-fired generating plants are being phased out in many other developed countries as well, China’s coal imports have already increased 60-fold over the past decade—and will double again by 2015. The burning of coal in much of the rest of the developing world has also continued to increase significantly. According to the International Energy Agency, developing and emerging markets will account for all of the net global increase in both coal and oil consumption through the next two decades. The prediction of global peak oil is fraught with
Al Gore (The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change)
Charles Darwin “could be considered a professional outsider,” according to creativity researcher Dean Keith Simonton. Darwin was not a university faculty member nor a professional scientist at any institution, but he was networked into the scientific community. For a time, he focused narrowly on barnacles, but got so tired of it that he declared, “I am unwilling to spend more time on the subject,” in the introduction to a barnacle monograph. Like the 3M generalists and polymaths, he got bored sticking in one area, so that was that. For his paradigm-shattering work, Darwin’s broad network was crucial. Howard Gruber, a psychologist who studied Darwin’s journals, wrote that Darwin only personally carried out experiments “opportune for experimental attack by a scientific generalist such as he was.” For everything else, he relied on correspondents, Jayshree Seth style. Darwin always juggled multiple projects, what Gruber called his “network of enterprise.” He had at least 231 scientific pen pals who can be grouped roughly into thirteen broad themes based on his interests, from worms to human sexual selection. He peppered them with questions. He cut up their letters to paste pieces of information in his own notebooks, in which “ideas tumble over each other in a seemingly chaotic fashion.” When his chaotic notebooks became too unwieldy, he tore pages out and filed them by themes of inquiry. Just for his own experiments with seeds, he corresponded with geologists, botanists, ornithologists, and conchologists in France, South Africa, the United States, the Azores, Jamaica, and Norway, not to mention a number of amateur naturalists and some gardeners he happened to know. As Gruber wrote, the activities of a creator “may appear, from the outside, as a bewildering miscellany,” but he or she can “map” each activity onto one of the ongoing enterprises. “In some respects,” Gruber concluded, “Charles Darwin’s greatest works represent interpretative compilations of facts first gathered by others.” He was a lateral-thinking integrator.
David Epstein (Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World)
Our regiment was all women…We flew to the front in May 1942… The planes they gave us were Po-2s. Small, slow. They flew only at a low level. Hedge-hopping. Just over the ground! Before the war young people in flying clubs learned to fly in them, but no one could have imagined they would have any military use. The plane was constructed entirely of plywood, covered with aircraft fabric. In fact, with cheesecloth. One direct hit and it caught fire and burned up completely in the air, before reaching the ground. Like a match. The only solid metal part was the M-11 motor. Later on, toward the end of the war, we were issued parachutes, and a machine gun was installed in the pilot’s cabin, but before there had been no weapon, except for four bomb racks under the wings—that’s all. Nowadays they’d call us kamikazes, and maybe we were kamikazes. Yes! We were! But victory was valued more than our lives. “Before I retired, I became ill from the very thought of how I could possibly not work. Why then had I completed a second degree in my fifties? I became a historian. I had been a geologist all my life. But a good geologist is always in the field, and I no longer had the strength for it. A doctor came, took a cardiogram, and asked, “When did you have a heart attack?” “What heart attack?” “Your heart is scarred all over.” I must have acquired those scars during the war. You approach a target, and you’re shaking all over. Your whole body is shaking, because below it’s all gunfire: fighter planes are shooting, antiaircraft guns are shooting…Several girls had to leave the regiment; they couldn’t stand it. We flew mostly during the night. For a while they tried sending us on day missions, but gave it up at once. A rifle shot could bring down a Po-2… We did up to twelve flights a night. (...) You come back and you can’t even get out of the cabin; they used to pull us out. We couldn’t carry the chart case; we dragged it on the ground. And the work our girl armorers did! They had to attach four bombs to the aircraft by hand—that meant eight hundred pounds. They did it all night: one plane takes off, another lands. The body reorganized itself so much during the war that we weren’t women…We didn’t have those women’s things…Periods…You know…And after the war not all of us could have children.
Svetlana Alexievich (War's Unwomanly Face)
To future geologists, then, the huge wave of extinctions a few thousand years ago as First Peoples spread out into new continents and remote archipelagoes will be all but indinstinguishable from the current wave of destruction loosed by modernity and its growing appetites.
Peter Brannen (The Ends of the World: Supervolcanoes, Lethal Oceans, and the Search for Past Apocalypses)
enrolled, and just seven sophomores and ten freshmen. All that remained of the college’s endowment was $2,458.29 in worthless Confederate currency, a few minuscule real estate investments, and George Washington’s original stock gift. When it prepared to open for classes in 1865, it could count on the services of only four instructors: James J. White, a classics professor; John L. Campbell, a chemist, geologist, and Presbyterian elder; Carter Johns Harris, another classicist; and Alexander L. Nelson, a mathematician.2
Allen C. Guelzo (Robert E. Lee: A Life)
After the 1994 Los Angeles earthquake, it was those families (often from Third World countries) who camped, ate, and played together that fared better than many middle-class families. Those who remained isolatedobsessively watching replays of the disaster, listening to interviews with geologists claiming “the big one is yet to come”—were much more susceptible to traumatic effects than those who supported each other in community.
Ann Frederick (Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma)
As departments, we aren't very respectful of one another. The geologists are the Rock People and Delores and Ginger are the Plant People. Here in Ornithology, we're the Bird People, the ichthyologists are the Fish People, the entomologists are the Bug People, those in Paleo are the Bone People, and Anthro is just Antho, because otherwise we'd have to call them the People People.
Virginia Hartman (The Marsh Queen)
Hartland Point is a geologist’s delight. The rock on this coast changes and changes and changes again, but at Hartland Point it’s unlike anything else. Created in shallow seas 320 million years ago, the sedimentary strata are formed from layers of sand, shale and mudstone. Around 290 million years ago, when the Gondwana tectonic plate moved up from the south and collided with the Laurasia plate in the north, they met in a huge upswell of rock known as the Variscan orogeny. It formed mountains through Portugal, western Spain, Cornwall, Devon and on through the south and west of Wales and Ireland. The Hartland Point cliffs are carved out in sandstone ribs that rise up into chevron-shaped rock folds. A movement millennia old, still visible, still alive beneath our feet.
Raynor Winn (The Salt Path: A Memoir)
a network that fans out in every direction, routes along which pilgrims and warriors, nomads and merchants have travelled, goods and produce have been bought and sold, and ideas exchanged, adapted and refined. They have carried not only prosperity, but also death and violence, disease and disaster. In the late nineteenth century, this sprawling web of connections was given a name by an eminent German geologist, Ferdinand von Richthofen (uncle of the First World War flying ace the “Red Baron”) that has stuck ever since: “Seidenstraßen”—the Silk Roads.
Peter Frankopan (The Silk Roads: A New History of the World)
Which begs the question, how exactly do we know anything about the core given that we’ve never seen it? You’re forgetting, of course, that geologists are SUPER ROCK DETECTIVES — able to solve any mystery. Even one as deep as this.
Charlie McDonnell (Fun Science: A Guide to Life, the Universe and Why Science Is So Awesome)
I don’t mind,” I said. “My mom was a really good athlete. She liked to go on these exotic trips with her geologist friends. Dad didn’t like going so much. He’d stay home with me. That was before he had all these long business trips. Anyway, Mom spent months preparing for some hike in Antarctica. She was so excited. Dad and I were following her trek in the cold, through this awesome video feed, when a snowstorm hit . . . It was really bad. We could hear yelling. Then the yelling got drowned out by the wind. Dad says I started screaming, like I knew what was about to happen. The screen turned totally white . . . and then nothing . . .
Peter Lerangis (Lost in Babylon (Seven Wonders, #2))
But for geologists quarries are wonderful places, allowing us to see down through the trees and pastures that may be pleasing to the eye but obscure the profound stories that rocks have to tell. In a quarry we are privileged to look into the heart of the mountains and open up the record of the Earth's past. For me, finding a new quarry can be an emotional experience akin to entering the granite portal of the university library at Berkeley. In a library and in a quarry we confront the archives of history.
Walter Álvarez (The Mountains of Saint Francis : Discovering the Geologic Events that Shaped our Earth)
In the empirical argument, so-called Neptunians and Vulcanists squared off. They debated seemingly quotidian subjects, such as the origin of granite (was it crystallized from water or disgorged from volcanos?). But, as so often happens when people divide into opposing camps, the debate became polarized and tribal animosities surfaced. Partisans took to hiding mineral samples which might support the other side; a play written by a Vulcanist was booed on opening night by an audience deliberately packed with Neptunians. As the British geologist Charles Lyell would write several decades later, in his 1835 Principles of Geology, “Ridicule and irony were weapons more frequently employed than argument by the rival sects, till at last the controversy was carried on with a degree of bitterness almost unprecedented in questions of physical science.
Jonathan Rauch (The Constitution of Knowledge: A Defense of Truth)
There is always some trace, Roger tells me, of the history of things, the impressions humans have left on them. The term for the study of rock layers in geology is stratigraphy, but it is also used in archaeology to describe the technique of seeking out the contexts of rocks, discovering the events that have left detectable traces on their surfaces – in the same way we might scan one another’s bodies, looking for those distinctive lines and marks which tell us something unspoken about the stranger opposite us on the train, or the friend we grew up with but have not seen for years, or the person we are falling in love with. A geologist’s task is to see beyond the ways in which time tries to smooth out difference, examining layers in order to isolate each shift to our world, to feel every fault line. We discuss how hard this is to do this with people, to imagine our lives not as one continuous line, but comprised of hundreds of versions stacked up behind us, and hundreds more ahead of us too, like those pairs of facing mirrors that make your reflection curl up infinitely on either side of you.
Lamorna Ash (Dark, Salt, Clear: Life in a Cornish Fishing Town)
Guar, mostly imported from India, is derived from the guar bean. It is used extensively in the food industry to assure consistency in cakes, pies, ice cream, breakfast cereals, and yogurt. But it has another major use—in fracking, in a Jell-O-like slosh that carries sand into the fractures to expand them. But guar and the related additives were expensive. At a baseball game in Dallas, Steinsberger ran into some other geologists who had successfully replaced much of the guar with water, but in another part of Texas and not in shale. In 1997, he experimented with their water recipe on a couple of shale wells, without success. Steinsberger got approval for one final try. This was the SH Griffin #4 in Dish. The team was still using water to replace most of the guar, but this time they fed in the sand more slowly. By the spring of 1998, they had the answer. “The well,” said Steinsberger, “was vastly superior to any other well that Mitchell had ever drilled.” The code for shale had been broken.
Daniel Yergin (The New Map: Energy, Climate, and the Clash of Nations)
me, my Rebbe was the geologist of the soul. You see, there are so many treasures in the earth. There is gold, there is silver, and there are diamonds. But if you don’t know where to dig, you’ll only find dirt and rocks and mud. The Rebbe can tell you where to dig, and what to dig for, but the digging you must do yourself.
Joseph Telushkin (Rebbe: The Life and Teachings of Menachem M. Schneerson, the Most Influential Rabbi in Modern History)
Take a simple pocket pen, so cheap that they are given away as advertising. Back of it lie several sorts of chemists, metallurgists, synthetic polymer experts, mechanical engineers, extrusion presses, computer programmers, computers, computer technicians, toolmakers, electrical engineers, a planet-wide petroleum industry, five or more sorts of mines with mining engineers, geologists, miners, railroads, steamships, production engineers, management specialists, merchandizing psychologists—et cetera to a splitting headache. It is impossible even to list the myriad special skills that underlie even the most trivial trade item of our enormously complex and interdependent industrial web.
Robert A. Heinlein (The Pursuit of the Pankera: A Parallel Novel About Parallel Universes)
The earth from orbit is a delight—alive, inviting, enchanting—offering visual variety and an emotional feeling of belonging “down there.” Not so with this withered, sun-seared peach pit out my window. There is no comfort to it; it is too stark and barren; its invitation is monotonous and meant for geologists only. Look at this crater, look at that one, are they the result of impacts, or volcanism, or a mixture of both?
Michael Collins (Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut's Journey)
I’ve started to interact with geologists around the world, scientists who’ve dedicated their lives to studying glaciers and ice fields, and it’s tough for all of us to realize that we’re studying a system in decline, the demise of the cryosphere, that frozen part of the world.
Michio Kaku (The Best American Science And Nature Writing 2020)
Four and a half billion is a number almost beyond reckoning. The current Guinness world record for longevity is held by a French woman who lived to celebrate her 122nd birthday—so humans fall far short of living even for 4.5 billion seconds (about 144 years). All of recorded human history is much less than 4.5 billion minutes. And yet geologists claim that Earth has been around for more than 4.5 billion years.
Robert M. Hazen (The Story of Earth: The First 4.5 Billion Years, from Stardust to Living Planet)
you’re not a geologist, so how could you be expected to recognize a rock?
Marty Halpern (Alien Contact)
Like inexperienced but overconfident drivers, we accelerate into landscapes and ecosystems with no sense of their long-established traffic patterns, and then react with surprise and indignation when we face the penalties for ignoring natural laws.
Marcia Bjornerud (Timefulness: How Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World)
What we do see depends mainly on what we look for … In the same field the farmer will notice the crop, the geologists the fossils, botanists the flowers, artists the coloring, sportsmen the cover for the game. Though we may all look at the same things, it does not all follow that we should see them. John Lubbock
Daniel L. Everett (How Language Began: The Story of Humanity's Greatest Invention)
A recently interviewed geologist and abduction experiencer wrote me that his experiences have taught him that “We are a runaway species bent on self-destruction, because we (collectively) are unwilling to impose self controls to stop our growth and to plan for our future with forethought and higher purpose” (Bruce Cornet, letter to the author, December 1994).
John E. Mack (Abduction: Human Encounters with Aliens)
Time changes everything, if you think like a geologist. You can measure changes in the shoreline with every tide and even gentle rain will wear down granite mountains given enough time.
Moe Claire (A Fickle Tide (The Pyke Island Mysteries in Downeast Maine Book 1))
The earth is not a mere fragment of dead history, stratum upon stratum like the leaves of a book, to be studied by geologists and antiquaries chiefly, but living poetry like the leaves of a tree, which precede flowers and fruit--not a fossil earth, but a living earth; compared with whose great central life all animal and vegetable life is merely parasitic.
Henry David Thoreau
Ohio Geologists in Ohio have for the first time linked earthquakes in a geologic formation deep under the Appalachians to hydraulic fracturing, leading the state to issue new permit conditions Friday in certain areas that are among the nation’s strictest. A state investigation of five small tremors last month in the Youngstown area, in the Appalachian foothills, found the injection of sand and water that accompanies hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in the Utica Shale may have increased pressure on a small, unknown fault,
Geologists search for the meaning to be read into the piled-up strata of the earth much as a historian might turn the pages of an ancient, damaged manuscript. The astronomer seeks the answer to his questions in the depths of space. Still other men concentrate on the scriptures alone. The wise man searches all these and other sources, knowing that all are communications from the same divine source and certain that, if followed far enough, all will guide him back to the Divine Presence.
Henry B. Eyring
Indeed, nothing less than the understanding of God’s earth was in flux. For centuries, the church had censored scientific ideas that were contrary to Christian doctrine. When censorship ended, new questions flourished. For example, biblical scholars had long said with confidence that the world was about six thousand years old—that it had been created in six days, beginning at 9 A.M. on October 23, 4004 B.C. Then geologists showed that the world had been created over the course of eons. This in turn led to theories of evolution, to which Charles Darwin, in 1859, would add his theory of natural selection. Imagine living at a time of such discovery. Lincoln became a proponent of evolution.
Joshua Wolf Shenk (Lincoln's Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness)
Dickens knew there were vast reserves of methane hydrate trapped frozen in sea-beds all around the world and wondered what would happen if a lot of that frozen methane on the sea floor had melted from a solid into a gas, and bubbled up from the ocean’s depths? Would it be enough to account for the “signature” of carbon-12 that geologists were finding in the rocks associated with the Permian Mass Extinction? So he went back to the lab and melted frozen methane in water warm enough. The results were dramatic. The gas not only dissolved into the water, but it also rose up out of the water and into the air. Dickens published a paper in 1999 suggesting that a 5 degree Celsius increase in ocean temperatures would have been adequate to melt enough methane hydrate crystals to create the Permian carbon-12 signature. And such a massive release of methane, itself a greenhouse gas vastly more potent than CO2, would also trigger a catastrophic, swift warming of the planet.
Thom Hartmann (The Last Hours of Humanity: Warming the World to Extinction)
establishment. In 1966, the Dutch geologist M. G. Rutten could write, in a charmingly antiquated style that has passed forever from the scientific journals:
Nick Lane (Oxygen: The molecule that made the world (Popular Science))
Finding outcrops is easy in arid and mountainous areas, where naked rock lies basking in the sun. But in humid and topographically subtle areas (think Indiana), outcrops are elusive. Invariably, the few rocks that do expose themselves become veiled with lichen over time (the resourceful geologist learns to note that certain colors of lichen signify particular rock types—orange for basalt, green for granite)
Marcia Bjornerud (Reading The Rocks: The Autobiography of the Earth)
Ice Age 2,588 million years ago, at the start of the Pleistocene, the Earth entered an Ice Age. It followed 50 million years of climatic downturn, and was the first full-blown ice age for a quarter of a billion years. Cooler, arid conditions alternated with warm, wet conditions as ice sheets ebbed and flowed in higher latitudes. The ice sheets alternately locked up vast amounts of fresh water, then released it again as temperatures rose. This alternation between a cooler and a warmer climate has continued right up to the present day. The cold spells are often referred to as ‘ice ages’. In particular the end of the most recent glacial period 11,600 years ago, is popularly known as the end of the last Ice Age. In fact the warm spells – interglacial periods – are no more than breaks in an on-going ice age. The current Holocene epoch, that followed the last glacial period, is such a break. In theory, glacial conditions will one day return, though the effects of anthropogenic (human caused) global warming make this uncertain. Glacial periods are not necessarily periods of unremitting cold, but alternate between colder and warmer intervals known respectively as stadials and interstadials. The idea that there were periods when glaciers extended beyond their present-day limits gradually emerged during the first half of the nineteenth century. Geologists sought to explain such phenomena as rock scouring and scratching, the cutting of valleys, the existence of whale-shaped hills known as drumlins and the presence of erratic boulders and ridges of rocky debris known as moraines. The term Eiszeit (‘ice age’) was coined in 1837 by the German botanist Karl Friedrich Schimper.
Christopher Seddon (Humans: from the beginning: From the first apes to the first cities)
A 2,000-foot wall of water moving at over 200 miles an hour inundated Idaho and Washington. Boulders weighing hundreds of tons were washed from their origin in Montana 1,000 miles to the west and deposited at the mouth of the Columbia gorge at the Pacific.[542] Though the features of this deluge were discovered in1920, it wasn’t until the 70s that geologists accepted the event as fact.
David Flynn (The David Flynn Collection)
Before the time of Allan and Delair, Comyns Beaumont reviewed the work of Establishment geologists, Charles Lyell, Louis Agassiz and James Geikie. He exposed their scientific palaver for the nonsense it is, and wrote of the Ice Age theory in these words: What! No Ice Age which came and went, spreading over hundreds of thousands of years as all good geologists proclaim? No smothering ice sheets which enveloped the British Isles and much of the northern parts of the continent, changed the climate to Arctic conditions – although, strangely enough, much of our fauna and flora survived despite it – and compelled all the survivors to flee? No lengthy periods of ice alternated with warm and even sub-tropical climatic interludes? No. Nothing of the sort. There was admittedly a tremendous convulsion of nature, which had the most direful effect upon the inhabitants of Scandinavia, the British Isles, and those in Northern Asia. It resulted in giving us, it is true, bitter cold, tremendous floods, and cruel dampness. That it affected the climate in the north adversely and permanently cannot be denied. It did other things as well. But no Ice Age – (Riddle of Prehistoric Britain) It was an event…sudden, rapid, devastating, and appalling in its magnitude, and destructiveness. It was a celestial impact of an immense cometary body…It rained or distributed rocks, stones, boulder clay, till, gravel, sand, and other material over great areas, utterly obliterating certain parts, elevating others, and entirely missing some regions. It created islands, drowned others, caused immense tidal waves which swallowed up coastal lands, consumed huge spaces with electric waves, set up volcanoes, and swept away cities and largely populated districts almost in a flash
Michael Tsarion (Atlantis, Alien Visitation and Genetic Manipulation)
Dr. Joff Silberg and Dr. Carrie Masiello are a husband-and-wife team of professors at Rice University. He is a synthetic biologist. She is a geologist. But somehow they managed to move past that and find love. Dr. Masiello studies biochar, which is made when plant matter gets baked at a high temperature in the absence of oxygen. The creation of biochar sequesters carbon that would otherwise end up back in the atmosphere, and it is frequently added to soil to increase plant growth. We don’t know precisely why it helps plant growth, but it may be that it alters the composition of microbes in the soil. Dr. Masiello wanted bacteria that could report back to her on what conditions were like for microbes living in soil with and without biochar. She asked Dr. Silberg to make her a synthetic microbe for Valentine’s Day. Yes, really. Dr. Silberg created bacteria that release gases that aren’t commonly found in soil. So by putting the synthetic microbes in soil, then monitoring the gas release, we can “eavesdrop” on microbe behavior instead of grinding them up for analysis.
Kelly Weinersmith (Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That'll Improve and/or Ruin Everything)
But knowing that moose had returned to Vermont in his lifetime pleased him enormously. It was the idea that things repaired themselves, that if you backed off a little and didn’t ask too much of the world then it would meet you halfway. This was one of the few corners of the planet that had gotten better in the last century, he thought—greener, healthier. The damage that too many sheep had done was wearing off. Or maybe you didn’t even need to think of it as damage. It had been good then, when Vermont was full of farmers, and it was good now, when Vermont was full of trees. Life ebbed and flowed, came and went. Goodness didn’t demand the one-way arrow toward Progress and More. It was, he thought, a blessing to have lived out his life in a place that spun slowly like that yellow leaf, an eddy in the American rapids, a place that was shrinking when most of the country was growing growing ever-growing. A place where—yow, a place where a grouse might fire up at any moment from right under your legs, scaring the wits out of you as it somehow flew off at top speed between the tangle of trunks and branches. A place where moss covered the back of a giant boulder, what the geologists delightfully called an “erratic” dropped in place when the last glaciers melted away. A place where the beech leaves still clung brown to the branches, shaking a little in the too-warm breeze.
Bill McKibben (Radio Free Vermont: A Fable of Resistance)
To many a practicing geologist or epidemiologist, the claim that the very simple computational models developed in the following chapters have anything to do with real earthquakes or real epidemics may well be deemed professionally offensive, or at best dismissed as an infantile nerdy joke.
Paul Charbonneau (Natural Complexity: A Modeling Handbook (Primers in Complex Systems, 5))
[At Gunung Padang] First, the drill cores contained evidence--fragments of worked columnar basalt--that more man-made megalithic structures lay far beneath the surface. Secondly, the organic materials brought up in the drill cores began to yield older and older dates--3000 BC to 5000 BC, then 9600 BC as the drills bit deeper, then around 11,000 BC, then 15,000 BC and finally, at depths of 27.5 meters (90 feet) and more, an astonishing sequence of dates of 20,000 BC to 22,000 BC and earlier. [...] The problem is that those dates going back before 9600 BC take us deep into the last Ice Age, when Indonesia was not a series of islands as it is today but was part of a vast antediluvian Southeast Asian continent dubbed "Sundaland" by geologists. Sea level was 122 meters (400 feet) lower then. Huge ice caps 3.2 kilometers (2 miles) deep covered most of Europe and North America until the ice caps began to melt. Then all the water stored in them returned to the oceans and sea-level rose, submerging many parts of the world where humans had previously lived.
Graham Hancock (Magicians of the Gods: The Forgotten Wisdom of Earth's Lost Civilization)
There was the granite, left by Paleozoic volcanoes more than three hundred million years ago, that formed what geologists call the fall line, a long, east-facing cliff in the river's jagged middle that prevented tall sailing ships or dugout canoes from passing further upstream, setting the stage for the creation of an even broader cultural divide and laying the groundwork for the building of a rough-hewn trading depot that grew into the city of Richmond.
Bob Deans (The River Where America Began: A Journey Along the James)
From the Bridge” by Captain Hank Bracker Pebbles, Rocks & Mountains Rocks can be formed in many different ways and are found in just about every corner of our planet, the Moon, up in space and who knows where else. Now pebbles are the mini-me’s of rocks and generally are about one to three inches in size. Geologists will tell you that they are about 5 millimeters in diameter, but who’s counting? In fact there are two beaches that are made up entirely of pebbles such as the Shingle Beach in Somerset, England. Generally pebbles are found along rivers, streams and creeks whereas mountains are usually a part of a chain that was created along geothermal fault lines. The process of Mountain formation is associated with movements of the earth's crust, which is referred to as plate tectonics. See; now that I looked it up, I know these things! What I’m about to say has absolutely nothing to do with geology and everything to do about human nature. In the course of events we never trip over mountains and seldom over rocks, but tripping over pebbles is another thing. Marilyn French, a writer and feminist scholar is credited with saying, “Men (she should have included Women) stumble over pebbles, never over mountains.” She was the lady (I should have said woman) whose provocative 1977 novel, “The Women's Room” captured the frustration and fury of a generation of women fed up with society's traditional conceptions of their roles (and this is true). However, this has nothing to do with the feminist movement and is simply a metaphor. Of course we’re not going to trip over mountains, not unless we are bigger than the “Jolly Green Giant!” and so it’s usually the little things that trip us up and cause us problems. What comes to mind is found on page 466 of The Exciting Story of Cuba. This is a book that won two awards by the “Florida Authors & Publishers Association” and yet there are small mistakes. They weren’t even caused by me or my team and yet there they are, getting bigger and bigger every time I look at them. Now I’m not about to tell you what they are, since that would take the fun out of it, but if you look hard enough in the book, you’ll succeed in discovering them! I will however tell you that one of these mistakes was caused by a computer program called “Word.” It’s wonderful that this program has a spell check and can even correct my grammar, but it can’t read my mind. In its infernal wisdom, the program was so insistent that it was right and that I was wrong that it changed the spelling of, in this case, the name of a person in the middle of the night. It happened while I was sleeping! I would have seen it if it had been as big as a mountain, however being just a little pebble it escaped my review and even escaped the eagle eyes of Lucy who still remains the best proof reader and copy editor that I know. When you discover what I missed please refrain from emailing me, although, normally, I would really enjoy hearing from you! I unfortunately already know most of the errors in the book, for which I take full responsibility. The truth of it is that my mistakes leave me feeling stupid and frustrated. Now, you may disagree with me however I don’t think that I am really all that stupid, but when you write hundreds of thousands of words, a few of them might just slip between the cracks. None of us are infallible and we all make mistakes. I sometimes like to say that “I once thought that I had made a mistake, but then found out that I was mistaken.” And so it is; if you think about it, it’s the pebbles that create most of our problems, not the rocks and certainly not the mountains. I’ll let you know as soon as my other books, Suppressed I Rise – Revised Edition; Seawater One…. And Words of Wisdom, “From the Bridge” are available. It’s Seawater One that has the naughty bits in it… but that just spices it up. Now with that book you can really tell me what you think….
Hank Bracker
Only recently, the word scientist had been coined, by the polymath William Whewell. Many scholars had objected to this blunt new term, as it sounded so sinisterly similar to that awful word atheist; why not simply continue to call themselves natural philosophers? Was that designation not more godly, more pure? But divisions were being drawn now between the realm of nature and the realm of philosophy. Ministers who doubled as botanists or geologists were becoming increasingly rare, as far too many challenges to biblical truths were stirred up through investigation of the natural world. It used to be that God was revealed in the wonders of nature; now God was being challenged by those same wonders. Scholars were now required to choose one side or the other. As
Elizabeth Gilbert (The Signature of All Things)
Filippov got the feeling that for exactly a second the entire millennial tundra, with its deer, nomad camps, lichen, midges, lost geologists, and hard frosts, was looking at him through her narrow eyes. Judging by her reaction, Filippov had not conquered the tundra. His
Andrey Gelasimov (Into the Thickening Fog)
Inside were some of the moon rocks harvested by Neil and Buzz. They were still preserved in a 4.6-billion-year-old lunar vacuum and once removed amazed and startled geologists marveled at the charcoal-colored lumps and dust that one called, “burnt potatoes!” Now they were looking at a mystery. It would be another three decades before computer models would tell them an infant Earth and moon were products of a solar system smashup. An incoming planetoid had gouged a great wound into our planet leaving it aflame in the hottest of fires and wracked with quakes. A wounded Earth’s gravity grabbed the planetoid and dragged the nearly destroyed space traveler into an orbit around its surface where it recollected and repaired its wounds to become the moon we see today. Most of the heaviest elements from the planetoid, especially its iron, remained deep inside the now-molten Earth, beginning a long settling motion to the core of our infant world. The impact sped up Earth to a full rotation once every 24 hours. The geologists in the lunar receiving laboratory had no idea that they were looking at scorched soil from the twins that created our Earth-Moon system. What they would soon learn from the materials brought back by Apollo 11 and the landings that followed was that Earth and the moon are much alike, and lunar-orbiting spacecraft mapping the moon would cast aside their long belief that our lunar neighbor was without water.
Jay Barbree (Neil Armstrong: A Life of Flight)
This impression is a glimpse not of timelessness but timefulness, an acute consciousness of how the world is made by - indeed, made of - time.
Marcia Bjornerud (Timefulness: How Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World)
I emphasize that my job is not to challenge their personal beliefs but to teach the logic of geology (geo-logic?) - the methods and tools of the discipline that enables us not only to comprehend how the Earth works at present but also to document in detail its elaborate and awe-inspiring history.
Marcia Bjornerud (Timefulness: How Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World)
Many of the other megalithic works at Machu Pic'chu show large gaps as in the two previous photos. The width of these gaps is very similar, and again suggest that a massive earthquake cataclysm, moving in a east-west direction, affected the site in the very distant past [...]. A geologist who inspected this with the author stated quite emphatically that such a drop would not have been the result of poor foundation work when the structure was made, but far more likely, again, the result of a catastrophic earthquake. She also stated that such an earthquake would have caused the rough stone and clay mortar buildings to be completely demolished. This, then, clearly indicates that the megalithic core of Machu Pic'chu, which comprises about 5-10 percent, is older than the Inca, and may in fact have been made prior to the cataclysmic event of about 12,000 years ago.
Brien Foerster (Aftershock: The Ancient Cataclysm That Erased Human History)
You are not a human being having a spiritual experience. You are a spiritual being having a human experience." - Pierre Teilhard de Chardin - French philosopher, geologist, paleontologist, and priest who also taught physics and chemistry.
J. Steve Miller (Near-Death Experiences as Evidence for the Existence of God and Heaven: A Brief Introduction in Plain Language)
Kramer's recognition, with the geologists Lees and Falcon, that people could have settled in the fertile valley between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers much earlier than had previously been assumed has been entirely vindicated by subsequent discoveries of the traces of 'primitive agricultural villages' dating back more than 8000 years.
Graham Hancock (Underworld: The Mysterious Origins of Civilization)
Areas that are densely populated today, Chicago, New York, Manchester, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Berlin, Moscow -- in fact most of North America and northern Europe -- were absolutely uninhabitable due to the fact that they were covered by ice-caps several kilometers thick. Conversely, many areas that are uninhabitable today -- on account of being on the bottom of the sea, or in the middle of hostile deserts such as the Sahara (which bloomed for about 4000 years at the end of the last Ice Age) -- were once (and relatively recently) desirable places to live that were capable of supporting dense populations. Geologists calculate that nearly 5 per cent of the earth's surface -- an area of around 25 million square kilometers or 10 million square miles -- has been swallowed by rising sea-levels since the end of the Ice Age. That is roughly the equivalent to the combined areas of the United States and the whole of South America. It is an area almost three times as large as Canada and much larger than China and Europe combined. What adds greatly to the significance of these lost lands of the last Ice Age is not only their enormous area but also -- because they were coastal and in predominantly warm latitudes -- that they would have been among the very best lands available to humanity anywhere in the world at that time. Moreover, although they represent 5 per cent of the earth's surface today, it is worth reminding ourselves that humanity during the Ice Age was denied useful access to much of northern Europe and North America because of the ice-sheets. So the 25 million square kilometers that were lost to the rising seas add up to a great deal more than 5 per cent of the earth's useful and habitable landspace at that time.
Graham Hancock (Underworld: The Mysterious Origins of Civilization)
Every savage can dance,' declared Jane Austen's Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice. His antagonist's riposte now seems odd—'I doubt not that you are an adept in the science yourself, Mr Darcy.' 'Science' is among the most slippery words in the English language, because although it has been in use for hundreds of years, its meanings constantly shift and are impossible to pin down. That plural (meanings) was deliberate. In the early nineteenth century, when Austen casually mentioned the science of dancing, other writers were still using 'science' for the mediaeval subjects of grammar, logic, and rhetoric. Long afterwards, 'science' could still mean any scholarly discipline, because the modern distinction between the Arts and Sciences had not yet solidified. The Victorian art critic John Ruskin listed five subjects he thought worthwhile studying at university—the Sciences of Morals, History, Grammar, Music, and Painting—none of which feature on modern scientific syllabuses. All of them, Ruskin declared, were more intellectually demanding than chemistry, electricity, or geology. However skilfully Mr Darcy performed his science of dancing, Austen could never have called him a scientist. That word, now so common, was not even invented until twenty years later, in 1833, when the British Association for the Advancement of Science (BAAS) was holding its third annual meeting. As the conference delegates joked about needing an umbrella term to cover their diverse interests, the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge rejected 'philosopher', and William Whewell—one of Babbage's allies, a Cambridge mathematical astronomer—suggested 'scientist' instead. The new word was very slow to catch on. Many Victorians insisted on keeping older expressions, such as 'man of science', or 'naturalist', or 'experimental philosopher'. Even men now seen as the nineteenth century's most eminent scientists—Darwin, Faraday, Lord Kelvin—refused to use the new term for describing themselves. Why, they demanded, should anyone bother to invent such an ugly word when perfectly adequate expressions already existed? Mistakenly, critics accused 'scientist' of being an American import, a trans-Atlantic neologism—one eminent geologist declared it was better to die 'than bestialize our tongue by such barbarisms'. The debate was still raging sixty years after Whewell first introduced the idea, and it was only in the early twentieth century that 'scientist' was fully accepted.
Patricia Fara
By now, however, we should have learned that treating the planet as if it were a simple, predictable, passive object in a controlled laboratory experiment is scientifically inexcusable. Yet the same old time-blind hubris is allowing the seductive idea of climate engineering, sometimes called geoengineering, to gain traction in certain academic and political circles.
Marcia Bjornerud (Timefulness: How Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World)
In 1988 the German oceanographer Hartmut Heinrich was the first to come up with the firm geological evidence for such a cataclysmic 'iceberg-calving' process during the last Ice Age. By examining deep-sea drill cores sampled at various points across the North Atlantic he demonstrated the existence of widely dispersed layers of 'ice-rafted detritus' -- millions of tonnes of rocks and rocky debris that had once stood on land, that had been clawed up by the ice-sheets and that had ultimately been carried out to sea frozen into huge icebergs: 'As they melted they released rock debris that was dropped into the fine-grained sediments of the ocean floor. Much of this ice-rafted debris consists of limestones similar to those exposed over large areas of eastern Canada today. The Heinrich layers as they have become known, extend 3000 kilometers across the North Atlantic, almost reaching Ireland.' The Heinrich layers record at least six separate discharges of 'stupendous flotillas of ice-bergs' into the North Atlantic -- discharges that are now known, obviously enough, as 'Heinrich Events' and that are thought to have unfolded in concentrated bursts of activity that may, in each case, have lasted less than a century. Because of the progressive thickening of the Heinrich layers towards the western side of the Atlantic and the continuation of this trend into the Labrador Sea in the direction of Hudson Bay, it is obvious to geologists that 'much of the floating ice was sourced from the Laurentide ice-sheet'. However, other debris has been found intermingled in some Heinrich layers that 'could only have come from separate ice-sheets covering not only Canada, but Greenland, Iceland, the British Isles and Scandinavia'. Likewise, research into southern hemisphere ice-caps in the Andes and New Zealand shows that these too 'grew and then collapsed synchronously with the ice-rafting pulses recorded in the North Atlantic'. The implication [...] is that some 'global rather than regional forcing of climate change' must have been at work.
Graham Hancock (Underworld: The Mysterious Origins of Civilization)
Stories like that of Kern River have occurred all over the world for decades. After hearing them over and over again from geologists, I realized Hubbert and Limits were going about matters the wrong way. An oil reservoir in the earth is a stock. If it becomes too costly or difficult to extract, people will either find new reservoirs, new techniques to extract more from old reservoirs, or new methods to use less to accomplish the same goal. All of this means that the situation constantly changes, which in turn means that we can see only a limited distance ahead.
Charles C. Mann (The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists and Their Dueling Visions to Shape Tomorrow's World)
Lacking a real theory of petroleum formation, early petroleum geologists had assumed that oil and gas deposits must be located in zones similar to those where oil and gas had been found before. They looked, so to speak, for more Pitholes. Because few such areas were known, researchers believed that petroleum deposits therefore must be rare. In reality, new oil was found repeatedly—by wildcatters who, unaware of expert opinion, searched for it in all the wrong places. After many such stories, scientists had become persuaded that petroleum could be found in some form almost anywhere. The main obstacle to finding oil, the famed petroleum geologist Wallace Pratt wrote in 1952, was the conviction that it wasn’t there: “Where oil is first found, in the final analysis, is the minds of men.
Charles C. Mann (The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists and Their Dueling Visions to Shape Tomorrow's World)
Hubbert visited a friend who was attending a big natural-resource conference sponsored by the new United Nations. At the conference Hubbert was startled to hear a prominent geologist assert that the world still had 1.5 trillion barrels of obtainable oil, enough to last centuries. “I nearly fell out of my seat,” Hubbert recalled later. “I was up here, relaxed, visiting with my friend—and good God Almighty! And nobody said boo.” A trillion-and-a-half barrels was “just an utterly preposterous amount of oil.” Annoyed, Hubbert raised his hand at the end of the session. The geologist’s claims, he said, were “an exercise in metaphysics.” The dispute grew heated and did not end in agreement.
Charles C. Mann (The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists and Their Dueling Visions to Shape Tomorrow's World)
that it was cold. Humboldt was assembling the data he needed to make sense of nature as a unified whole. If nature was a web of life, he couldn’t look at it just as a botanist, a geologist or a zoologist. He required information about everything and from everywhere, because ‘observations from the most disparate regions of the planet must be compared to one another’. Humboldt amassed so many results and asked so many questions that some people thought him to be stupid, because he asked ‘the seemingly obvious’. His coat pockets, one of his guides noted, were like those of a little boy – full of plants, rocks and scraps of paper. Nothing was too small or insignificant to investigate because everything had its place in the great tapestry of nature.
Andrea Wulf (The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World)
Blind Thrust makes good use of Marquis' background as a professional geologist. It is the novel's characters, however, that really stand out. Charles Quantrill is far from a cardboard villain, and as for the heroes, Joe and John Higheagle have a particularly endearing rapport. For suspense fans who enjoy science mixed with their thrills, the novel offers page-turning pleasures. --BlueInk Review
BlueInk Review
Four decades later, Patillo Higgins, a one-armed mechanic, lumber merchant, and self-taught geologist with a violent and troubled past, became a Christian and took his Baptist Sunday school class for an outing near a hill in Beaumont, Texas. There, Higgins came across a half dozen springs bubbling with gas. He became convinced he had stumbled onto an oil field, even though experts scoffed.
Gregory Zuckerman (The Frackers: The Inside Story of the New Wildcatters and Their Energy Revolution)
Banker are arguing over whose profession is the oldest. The geologist points out that his science as as old as the Earth itself. The chemist scoffs at that: "Long before the Earth was formed, there were masses of swirling gasses--chemicals. Before that, there was just chaos." The investment banker smiles slyly, nursing a martini: "And who do you think created all that chaos?
Alan S. Blinder
Implicit egotism can also influence what you chose to do with your life. By analyzing professional membership directories, Pelham and his colleagues found that people named Denise or Dennis are disproportionately likely to become dentists, while people named Laura or Lawrence are more likely to become lawyers, and people with names like George or Georgina to become geologists.
David Eagleman (Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain)
But the Seventh Generation idea, articulated more than 300 years ago in the Iroquois Gayanashagowa (the “Great Binding Law” or “Great Law of Peace” 9 ), remains as radical and visionary as ever: that leaders should take actions only after contemplating their likely effects on “the unborn of the future Nation . . . whose faces are yet beneath the surface of the ground.” Seven generations, perhaps a century and a half, is longer than a single lifetime but not beyond human experience. It is the span from one’s great-grandparents to one’s great-grandchildren. From the standpoint of the Seven Generations principle , our current society is a kleptocracy stealing from the future. What would it take for this old idea to be adopted in a modern world that does not even acknowledge time?
Marcia Bjornerud (Timefulness: How Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World)
The Proterozoic Earth somehow “understood” the fundamental principles of sustainability; geochemical trading flourished, but all commodities flowed in closed loops— the waste products of one group of microbial manufacturers were the raw materials of another.
Marcia Bjornerud (Timefulness: How Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World)
if life first became viable after the early bombardment era ended 3.8 billion years ago, we are now almost three-quarters of the way through Earth’s habitable period. Nevertheless, we should be grateful for the great wealth of time that this planet has had as a consequence of belonging to a yellow dwarf star with a lifetime of 10 billion years. Stars just 50% larger than the Sun have a life expectancy of only 3 billion years, which on Earth would be equivalent to the time span from the formation of the planet to the middle of the Boring Billion.
Marcia Bjornerud (Timefulness: How Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World)
Life is endlessly inventive, always tinkering and experimenting, but not with a particular notion of progress. For us mammals , the Cretaceous extinction was the lucky break that cleared the way for a golden age, but if the story of the biosphere were written from the perspective of prokaryotic rather than macroscopic life, the extinctions would hardly register. Even today, prokaryotes (bacteria and archea) make up at least 50% of all biomass on Earth. 23 One might say that Earth’s biosphere is, and always has been, a “microcracy,” ruled by the tiny.
Marcia Bjornerud (Timefulness: How Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World)
It was not until 2014, more than two decades after the mastodon's discovery [a mastodon scavenged by humans in the Americas], that the tide decisively turned. Built on improved understanding of processes that incorporate natural uranium and its decay products in fossil bone, a newly enhanced technique, known as 230 Th/U radiometric dating, was now available that could settle the age of the Cerutti deposit once and for all. Deméré therefore sent several of the mastodon bones to the US Geological Survey in Colorado, where geologist Jim Paces, using the updated and refined technique, established beyond reasonable doubt that the bones were buried 130,000 years ago.
Graham Hancock (America Before: The Key to Earth's Lost Civilization)
sea once more; where red deserts roll back across the landscape to reveal beneath them green fields and villages; and in which one day your wife is bounding through life, and the next can barely stand. In this way geology teaches us to see ourselves as we really are: finite landmarks within an infinitely shifting world. When we use the phrase ‘natural disaster’, geologists remember that these events are only coloured disasters for and by humans. When we talk about ice ages or huge storms at seas, they are not disasters themselves; the disasters are that humans become involved in them. They are just how the world goes.
Lamorna Ash (Dark, Salt, Clear: Life in a Cornish Fishing Town)
A Gulf Oil geologist, Ralph Rhoades, a Missouri-born ex-marine inevitably called Dusty, had pinpointed a promising structure: a rocky, dome-like formation called a jabal, on Bahrain in 1928, before Socal acquired it.2 Then Fred Davies, a Socal geologist following up in 1930, had not only identified a well site on the Bahrain jabal but also had looked west across the strait to Saudi Arabia and spotted a cluster of jabals there as well. His identification would prove accurate: the Bahrain and Arabian jabals were related, both originally islands in the Gulf—the inland jabal now part of the land because sand had filled in the gap between it and the previous shoreline.
Richard Rhodes (Energy: A Human History)
It is clear that the medieval conception of a quest is not at all that of a search for something already adequately characterized, as miners search for gold or geologists for oil. It is in the course of quest and only through encountering and coping with the various particular harms, dangers, temptations and distractions which provide any quest with its episodes and incidents that the goal of the quest is finally to be understood. A quest is always an education both as to the character of that which is sought and in self-knowledge.
Alasdair MacIntyre
Though geologists can’t yet predict earthquakes, they can often predict volcanic eruptions, and can prepare the people who live along the Rim of Fire and other fault systems to take lifesaving precautions.
Steven Pinker (Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress)
We’re all biologists, not geologists,” Xavier said. “But I’ve read speculation that rising ocean levels from global warming are affecting the tectonic plates in some ways no one had predicted.
Stan C. Smith (The Lure of Infinity (Bridgers, #1))
This got me thinking that perhaps the granularity of attention we achieve outward also extends inward, so that as the perceptual details of our environment unfold in surprising ways, so too do our own intricacies and contradictions. My dad said that leaving the confined context of a job made him understand himself not in relation to that world, but just to the world, and forever after that, things that happened at work only seemed like one small part of something much larger. It reminds me of how John Muir described himself not as a naturalist but as a “poetico-trampo-geologist-botanist and ornithologist-naturalist etc. etc.,” or of how Pauline Oliveros described herself in 1974: Pauline Oliveros is a two legged human being, female, lesbian, musician, and composer among other things which contribute to her identity. She is herself and lives with her partner…along with assorted poultry, dogs, cats, rabbits and tropical hermit crabs.10 Of course, there’s an obvious critique of all of this, and that’s that it comes from a place of privilege. I can go to the Rose Garden, stare into trees, and sit on hills all the time because I have a teaching job that only requires me to be on campus two days a week, not to mention a whole set of other privileges.
Jenny Odell (How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy)
I was where I craved to be, walking alone in the presence of wild solitude, the treasure of aloneness seeping from the sunlight, from the blue waters, from the patterned stones.
William E. Glassley (A Wilder Time: Notes from a Geologist at the Edge of the Greenland Ice)
We are a speck on a flowing river of entropy that still gushes from an unfathomable beginning nearly fourteen billion years ago. We’re enthralled by a story we suspect the stars possess, but we remain unable to grasp its outline. We wander over landscapes, looking for histories the stones sequester, hoping there will be in them a flicker of an insight that will expose something worth cherishing.
William E. Glassley (A Wilder Time: Notes from a Geologist at the Edge of the Greenland Ice)
Wilderness speaks with unmitigated honesty. Every belief and imagining that we bring with us as we enter such spaces also reflect back to us, but in a form that can be difficult to recognize.
William E. Glassley (A Wilder Time: Notes from a Geologist at the Edge of the Greenland Ice)
the morning, I drove to Pennsylvania, thirty miles or so to the north. The Appalachian Trail runs for 230 miles in a northeasterly arc across the state, like the broad end of a slice of pie. I never met a hiker with a good word to say about the trail in Pennsylvania. It is, as someone told a National Geographic reporter in 1987, the place “where boots go to die.” During the last ice age it experienced what geologists call a periglacial climate—a zone at the edge of an ice sheet characterized by frequent freeze—thaw cycles that fractured the rock. The result is mile upon mile of jagged, oddly angled slabs of stone strewn about in wobbly piles known to science as felsenmeer (literally, “sea of rocks”). These require constant attentiveness if you are not to twist an ankle or sprawl on your face—not a pleasant experience with fifty pounds of momentum on your back. Lots of people leave Pennsylvania limping and bruised. The state also has what are reputed to be the meanest
Bill Bryson (A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail)
containing anemometer, barograph, and thermograph, rigged over the stern. The geologist was making the best of what to him was an unhappy situation; but was not
Ernest Shackleton (South: The Story of Shackleton's 1914-1917 Expedition)
The bolide arrived from the southeast, traveling at a low angle relative to the earth, so that it came in not so much from above as from the side, like a plane losing altitude. When it slammed into the Yucatán Peninsula, it was moving at something like forty-five thousand miles per hour, and, due to its trajectory, North America was particularly hard-hit. A vast cloud of searing vapor and debris raced over the continent, expanding as it moved and incinerating anything in its path. “Basically, if you were a triceratops in Alberta, you had about two minutes before you got vaporized” is how one geologist put it to me.
Elizabeth Kolbert (The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History)
The wildest dreams of wild men, even, are not the less true, though they may not recommend themselves to the sense which is most common among Englishmen and Americans today. It is not every truth that recommends itself to the common sense. Nature has a place for the wild Clematis as well as for the cabbage. Some expressions of truth are reminiscent—others merely SENSIBLE, as the phrase is,—others prophetic. Some forms of disease, even, may prophesy forms of health. The geologist has discovered that the figures of serpents, griffins, flying dragons, and other fanciful embellishments of heraldry, have their prototypes in the forms of fossil species which were extinct before man was created, and hence "indicate a faint and shadowy knowledge of a previous state of organic existence." The Hindus dreamed that the earth rested on an elephant, and the elephant on a tortoise, and the tortoise on a serpent; and though it may be an unimportant coincidence, it will not be out of place here to state, that a fossil tortoise has lately been discovered in Asia large enough to support an elephant. I confess that I am partial to these wild fancies, which transcend the order of time and development. They are the sublimest recreation of the intellect. The partridge loves peas, but not those that go with her into the pot. In short, all good things are wild and free.
Henry David Thoreau (Walking)
It became apparent to enthusiasts of locomotive travel that there was at least one unscheduled train on the tracks of Palimpsest. It did not stop at any of the stations, for one thing. Astrologers and geologists were consulted; they are much the same folk in this part of the world. The astrologer gazes upward and scries out shapes in the sky, and to do this he builds great towers so as to be closest to the element of his choice. The geologist is an astrologer who once, just once, happened to look down. From such great heights she glimpses the enormous shapes stamped on the earth, the long polygons made by the borders of farms and rivers and mill towns, littoral masses and city walls, a reflection of the celestial mosaic. In these loamy constellations Palimpsest is but a decorative flourish; they are so vast and complex that in her lifetime the geologist may chart but the tiniest part of the conterration which contains her tower. It is a long and lonely life to which few are called.
Catherynne M. Valente (Palimpsest)
the Yellowstone caldera had been rising several inches a year and earthquakes above 4.0 on the Richter scale happened frequently. Yellowstone National Parks’ trees and animals died in increasing numbers as poisonous gas, boiling water, and the heat increased throughout the park from the rising magma. While geologists knew the super volcano would explode eventually, probably thousands of years from now, they never once considered asking the United States government to close or cordon off parts of Yellowstone Park as a result of the imminent threat.
Cliff Ball (Times of Trial: an End Times Thriller (The End Times Saga 3))
Take another example. An Intel development engineer who has uniquely detailed knowledge of a particular manufacturing process effectively controls how it is used. Since the process will eventually provide the foundation for the work of many product designers all over the company, the leverage the development engineer exerts is enormous. The same is true for a geologist in an oil company or an actuary in an insurance firm. All are specialists whose work is important for the work of their organization at large. The person who comprehends the critical facts or has the critical insights—the “knowledge specialist” or the “know-how manager”—has tremendous authority and influence on the work of others, and therefore very high leverage. The art of management lies in the capacity to select from the many activities of seemingly comparable significance the one or two or three that provide leverage well beyond the others and concentrate on them. For me, paying close attention to customer complaints constitutes a high-leverage activity. Aside from making a customer happy, the pursuit tends to produce important insights into the workings of my own operation. Such complaints may be numerous, and though all of them need to be followed up by someone, they don’t all require or wouldn’t all benefit from my personal attention. Which one out of ten or twenty complaints to dig into, analyze, and follow up is where art comes into the work of a manager. The basis of that art is an intuition that behind this complaint and not the other lurk many deeper problems.
Andrew S. Grove (High Output Management)
Science constantly furnishes us with astonishing ideas about the nature of reality. Physics tells us that there may be an infinite number of universes, of which ours is just one, and that perhaps two particles in no physical contact with one another can somehow influence each other’s properties. From evolutionary biology we learn that birds are the only living descendents of dinosaurs. Geologists reveal that, as a result of the current trajectory of the Earth’s tectonic plates, Australia will eventually collide with Alaska. Contemporary educated people have grown used to the idea that, at least where the causal structure of the world uninfluenced by human agency is concerned, our stock of“commonsense” assumptions and principles is systematically unreliable as a guide to the facts. Our everyday scale of perceptions, along both its temporal and its spatial dimensions, is simply too pinched and unrepresentative to be trusted as a direct window onto wider truths, at least about physics, geology, astronomy, microbiology, and so on.
Don Ross
During the decades after Darwin published, field geologists and paleontologists have gone on to uncover and discover thousands and thousands of fossils. They have uncovered an astonishing number of ancient dinosaurs, an overwhelming assortment of long-gone mammals, and an uncountable number of sea creature fossils. Just two years after Darwin expressed his concern about the missing fossils, the famous fossil of the birdlike Archaeopteryx was found in Germany, and that’s just one example. Later, fossil hunters found a whole range of human ancestors, including Sahelanthropus tchadensis, which may in fact be a shared ancestor with chimps as well.
Bill Nye (Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation)
When rocks are liquid or nearly liquid, what geologists call plastic, they contain a certain amount of rubidium and a certain amount of strontium. The mixture is measurable by diligent radiochemists. When that molten rock spews out of a volcano, say, it solidifies. By looking at the ratios of certain elements frozen in with rubidium and strontium, radiochemists and geochemists can determine how long ago the melt, as it’s called, turned solid. In the case of rubidium and strontium, we can count on precisely half of the rubidium-87 to transmute to strontium-87 (now with 49 protons) in 48.8 billion years.
Bill Nye (Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation)
One of the great challenges in reconstructing a mass extinction is making sense of what happened when. In the same way we have divided living things into a hierarchy of divisions—domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species—geologists have broken apart the long history of our planet into eon, era, period, epoch, and age.
Bill Nye (Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation)
early twentieth century seemed to see what was coming. In 1873, Italian geologist Antonio Stoppani proposed that the growing influence of humans was causing the “Anthropozoic era,” but this was largely ignored by scientists of his day. In 1877, physiologist Joseph LeConte described a similar concept, calling it the Psychozoic era. In the 1920s the French Jesuit priest Tielhard de Chardin spoke of
David Grinspoon (Earth in Human Hands: Shaping Our Planet's Future)
Two different geologists (who simply do not have a hand in this debate since they are secular), who were searching for oil deposits, have mapped the regions that include the mountains of Ararat and beyond extensively.10 What we find are layers intrinsic to the formation of the mountains of Ararat (Armenia and Anatolia regions) that include: 1. Permian 2. Lower-Middle Triassic 3. Middle Triassic-Middle Cretaceous 4. Paleocene-Lower Eocene 5. Lower Eocene 6. Middle Eocene 7. Middle-Upper Miocene For much of this, the Eocene and Miocene rock layers are inverted and pushing up the Cretaceous and Triassic rock layers. In other words, without the Eocene and Miocene rock layers, the mountains of Ararat cannot exist! What can we glean from this? It means that Miocene and Eocene rock layers existed by day 150 in the mountains of Ararat. These layers are tertiary sediments much higher than the K/T boundary. What we can know is that these Eocene and Miocene rock layers were formed prior to the post-Flood period.
Ken Ham (A Flood of Evidence: 40 Reasons Noah and the Ark Still Matter)
two stratigraphers asked, “Is the Anthropocene an Issue of Stratigraphy or Pop Culture?” In part, they argued that our presence is as yet too brief a perturbation to merit a named place in the stratigraphic column. The amount of ocean sediments laid down since World War II is less than a millimeter. And, of course, nobody knows how long the Anthropocene will last. That depends crucially on how we, collectively, respond to the novel realization that we’re now in such a time. Our presence, however, is already indelibly inscribed in Earth’s stratigraphic history, and as long as (or whenever) there are geologists, it will be identifiable. Whether or not it becomes “official,
David Grinspoon (Earth in Human Hands: Shaping Our Planet's Future)
You are unaware that the bride is a geologist. When
John Dvorak (Earthquake Storms: An Unauthorized Biography of the San Andreas Fault)