Geologist

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Geologistinthefield

A geologist, outstanding in his field.

Geologists are 'scientists' with unnatural obsessions with rocks. Often too intelligent to do monotonous sciences like biology, chemistry, or physics, geologists devote their time to mud-worrying, volcano poking, fault finding, bouldering, dust-collecting, and high-risk colouring. One of the main difficulties in communicating with geologists is their belief that a million years is a short amount of time and their heads are harder than rocks. Consequently, such abstract concepts as "Tuesday Morning" and "Lunchtime" are completely beyond their comprehension. (This difficulty generates problems particularly when dealing with the girlfriend/boyfriend/spouse and attempting to explain why you were "gone for so long" or why something is taking "so long to occur.")

Geologists in the Movies

Pitt-Geologist

Brad Pitt as a geologist.

Geologists in the movies are nothing like the real thing. For example, in a volcanic eruption, or major earthquake, no geologist is going to give a rat's ass about rescuing a dog even if it does belong to the romantic interest's children. He or she will be far more concerned about the mineralogy of the ash falling from the sky, or the viscosity of the lava flow and its movement across the substrate (which may or may not include a village). Apparently immune to the asphyxiating effect of the ash as it turns normal lungs to stone, the geologist will happily jump around lava fields with a camera trying to get a good photo of a lava tube.

Geologists are ice-age cool, although they typically do not look like James Bond, being altogether too filthy to ever pass for a (ignorant Scot with no sense of grammar pretending to be a) suave Englishman. There has been one accurate portrayal of a geologist in a B-rated movie, however. In "Track of the Moon Beast", the mineralogist turned into a flesh-eating monster at night. It is thought that this may be a common occurrence among mineralogists. However, it is a well-established fact that field geologists are magma-hot. The details not well known because field geologists tend to stay in the field most of the time, where only other field geologists get to see how hot they are.

Another excellent portrayal of a geologist is in the Hollywood blockbuster 'The Core'. In this widely known film the U.S. government has stopped the revolution of the earth's core (the magnetized liquid outer core, anyway) via the use of sinister 'classified' science, and due to the impending doom of all of the world at their hand from superviolent storms and world flooding, etc. the government feels it has to restart the revolution of the core via the use of thermonuclear explosion, obviously. To administer said explosives they use a craft made from Unobtanium, an alloy which is scarcely believable, ahem, available I meant to say. Suffice to say they all live happily ever after and the few billion tonnes of liquid outer core just plays along with no ill aftereffects or sequential flood-type volcanism, the joys of being a Geologist. (** Dr. Josh Keyes-- the "geologist" character is actually a Seismologist-- which is totally different. Seismologists study how energy propagates THROUGH the Earth and don't actually care about rocks at all. They also don't drink beer nearly as well. The whole "playing the trumpet to a piece of granite" thing ... not so much).

Geologists are also portrayed in 'Armageddon', although a real geologist is quick to note how gravity reengaged on the asteroid when the drillers (geologist wannabes) start throwing the boring casings. The physical appearance of "Rockhound" (played by Steve Buscemi) is dead on for a field geologist, and although a bit exaggerated, his attitudes towards the opposite sex (see notes at the bottom of the page regarding relationships), his self serving interests and the way he always seems to be a "few minerals shy of the mother lode"" are pretty accurate as well.

A really good example of a retired geologist can be found in "SIX FEET UNDER". He was married 7 times and became crazy in the end.

Let us not forget that the character Charles Smithson in the Book and Movie "The French Lieutenant's Woman" is a geologist (or at least pretends to be). In true geologist fashion proceeds to make a complete, as the Brittish say, "Cock-up" of his and others lives in one of the real cinema true portrayals of the archtype. Completely out of character is casting Jeremy Irons as Smithson. Geologists only wish they were so good looking.

Another typical portrayal of a geologist is South Park's character Randy Marsh, who is Stan's father. Randy is named after South Park creator Trey Parker's own father, Randy Parker, who was also a geologist. Randy displays many typical geologist tendencies such as being called a 'scientist', but actually being of little use in many situations, and having a drinking problem.

In 'Ocean's Thirteen,' Brad Pitt's character disguises himself as a geologist and tricks the enemy into installing a seismograph in a hotel. Brad Pitt's disguise is fairly accurate, with messy hair, dirty boots, etc.

In Star Trek - TOS - nearly all of the Geologists on the Starship Enterprise were killed on assorted missions to various planets during different episodes. Their sacrifice was never remembered on the halls of Starfleet command - shocking.

Jurassic Park's Dr. Allen Grant is an excellent example of a geologist. In the beginning of the film he sells his soul for funding; all geologists do this at some point in their careers. In the fashion of real geologists, Dr. Grant dates fellow geologist Dr. Sattler in the film. He is also far more concerned with figuring out the flocking behavior of Gallimimus than rescuing the children.

In 2008 the blockbuster James Bond movie 'Quantum of Solace' featured the protagonist (Played by Daniel Craig or Barry White) falling through a sinkhole into the Bolivian subterrainean rivers. This then lead popular culture to realise that obviously underground water is stored in huge underground caverns, and it is no longer safe to walk on land, for fear of entering these damp, dark holes. Barry White then goes on to shag a redhead, a breed most favoured amongst geologists.

Indiana Jones is technically an archaeologist, but acts as a geologist would in similar situations. A real archaeologist would lie on the ground in fear, removing small particulates from artifacts with a small brush. Only geologists are sufficiently trained with leather whips.

No mention will be made of Brendan Faser's 'Journey to the Centre of the Earth' (2008).

Geologists in Popular Culture

While the media rarely represents geologists to the general population, (excluding sound bytes on Discovery Channel volcano specials), there was one recent attempt to integrate geologists into a television program. According to various blog sources, CBS was looking to produce a new reality tv show for 2008, after correctly predicting that the writers' strike would cut down on their ability to create blue-toned dramatic shows centering around corpses. One of their production managers happened to see a documentary on a volcanologist researching lava in Hawaii, and seeing the danger and excitement inherent in people smashing molten hot 'magma' with rock hammers, pitched the idea of a 'geologist survivor-type' show.

In December of 2007, CBS hired a production crew to pull the show together; the scenario was that nine geologists would be placed in the field, where they would vote each other off based on their willingness to do dangerous geologist type feats common to the field; like researching active volcanoes, trilobite wrangling, earthquake surfing, landslides catching, and landing in bush planes on glaciers. Geologists that weren't up to the task would be voted off, and the last remaining "Hard-core geologist" would win a prize.

The production was plagued from the beginning. They were successful in finding nine geologists, 6 males and three females, between 25 and 50 years of age, and they quickly set up the first challenge; researching an active volcano in the Phillipines. The geologists and camera crew set up camp near the bottom of the volcano. The camera crew filmed the nine geologists bonding. The geologists were supplied with alchohol (a common strategy to loosen up the cast on reality TV shows), but the camera crew was surprised to notice that even after drinking gallons of the liquid, the geologists did not change their behavior, and continued talking in an obscure jargonized language about 'bombs', 'hornitos', 'breccia,' and 'lahars,' none of which made for good reality TV.

This trend continued through the entire first challenge; the geologists were seemingly oblivious to the camera, and the only interpersonal drama occurred when the seismologist and structural geologist got into a yelling match over the best recipe for chili. When the camera-crew and geologists went up to do research on the volcano, instead of sticking together, the geologists scattered into the landscape, and the camera-crew found themselves unable to find more than two at a time. Also, after listening to the volcanologist eagerly predict just how soon the volcano would explode, the camera-crew became extremely nervous and returned to the camp.

The crew returned from the first shoot to Los Angeles with almost no footage. To further complicate matters, the editors were unable to make sense of what footage there was, because they had no idea what the hell the geologists were talking about. However, it did appear that initially a few of the scientists seemed to understand the concept of 'voting off' another member. After consulting a nearby university, the crew finally explained to the geologists were basically 'competing for funding from the National Science Foundation.' Unfortunately, the NSF grant analogy didn't go well either, as the geologists quickly pointed out that they didn't have enough time to write a successful research proposal. Finally, the geologists were simply told agree upon some arbitrary criteria that they could use to get rid of someone. After a series of seminars, the geologists decided that whoever had the worst aim with a rock hammer would be told to leave.

The second event, landing in a bush plane in northern Alaska, was a complete failure. None of the geologists were nervous at the idea, which destroyed the drama the crew was hoping for, and worse yet, no-one in the production crew was willing to accompany the geologists to the field site, out of sheer terror. As a result, small cameras were given to two of the geologists to film themselves. When the geologists returned with their cameras, the editors found tapes filled with footage and commentary about mountains and 'gbbxcvxlacial erratics'. Only ten percent of the footage featured humans, and most of that footage was simply the petrologist standing by outcrops for scale.

By the time the production reached Hawaii, most of the camera-crew had quit (because of the steady diet of chili and the dangerous situations) and only five of the geologists were left; not because they had been voted off, but because they had become over-excited by rock formations at various locations and had refused to leave. Moreover, paying for an almost-constant supply of beer, single malt scotch, and transportation for the geologists' luggage' (which contained mostly oversized rock samples padded with unmentionably dilapidated field clothing), had almost exhausted the budget. CBS finally pulled the plug on the project in January of 2008, despite their fear that they might be sued for withdrawing the promise of a prize; however, none of the geologists sued, as they were still under the impression that they needed to publish a research paper to receive the money.

Geologists in History

Geology began in Edinburgh 2.42 million years ago when celebrated physicist James Clerk Maxwell built a time machine, and went back to Scotland to give James Hutton the idea. Hutton then went to the Galapagos Islands and passed on the idea to Charles Darwin. Hutton then invented the volcano, and modern geology was born. Anne Heche, one of the few famous female geologists, made her name when she discovered the W of Gondwanaland on an expedition to Brazil. Subsequently, while Maxwell was distracted by an argument with Niels Bohr over the exact place in history for Avogadro's number, Waldemar Lindgren stole the time machine and has since used it to visit every historic mine and mining camp in the Western U.S., and in fact he continues to do so to this day. This is the reason you will see Waldemar Lindgren's name on every publication regarding mining in the western U.S., and the reason why his published writings exceed nearly 200 titles, not counting discussions, reviews, more than 1,000 abstracts, in addition to authoring numerous pajama related advertisments for various trade show publications and haberdasheries in his spare time. Geologists had a revival in the late 23rd century when the great Pete Kokelaar emerged from a crater on Montserrat and proclaimed himself an ignimbrite.

Geologists and Alcohol

There is a considerable, and still growing body of scientific literature that suggests that geologists are in fact the world's first alcohol-based life form. Owing to a crucial imbalance in blood electrolyte levels (possibly caused by overexposure to bad rock puns) most find it necessary to imbibe vast quantities of alcoholic beverages at every opportunity. Therefore the phrase "I am not an alcoholic, I am a geologist" has become quite common within many student bodies to explain their metamorphism from an organic based life form to a alcohol-based one. If you ever encounter a geologist who is sober after 6pm, this person is an imposter: possibly an alien; probably a geophysicist or engineer, marine geographer or hydrologist etc. Alcoholism is an acceptable, even socially beneficial, disease for an active geologist. The mark of a true geologist is the ability to draw up a systematic and colour coded diagrammatic representation of good beer distribution across the globe, using no more than a tatty beer mat and burnt twig. **Note** ... Geophysicists are known only to drink alone due to an intense fear of social situations, similar to that of Engineers (though the latter species are known to occasionally gather in packs no greater than the numerical equivalent of the square root of the energy in joules required to stare blankly at a computer screen most of the day in a state of semi-consciousness, happily calling this a 'day's work', plus the number of cups of bad coffee X smoke breaks, divided by 1000. Usually 4 or 5).

While the engineer will almost always opt for light beer or white wine, the hardcore geologist will never lower themselves to anything less than full-strength. Light/mid-strength beer is for homosexuals and washing hair only. The female geologist will usually go for spirits, or, if she's hard enough, heavy beer with a shot of absinthe.

Alcohol is essential on field activities, either on late night scientific discussions or cold-weather camping; it is also a useful companion and tool in the field (as well as out), just as important as the rock hammer, Brunton compass, and hand-lens. Alcohol is used as an indispensable renewable fuel source for enlightened or hot topics and for surviving in cold weather as a human "internal combustion" liquid fuel. There are known examples of geologists that have survived on a pint of whiskey in the middle of the desert and in way-below freezing temperatures.

Alternative conversation topics might include: a detailed consideration of the relative merits of differing brands of gin (including those brands that may only be termed "gin" as "bug-infused lighter fuel" might look bad on the risk assessment forms); whether a hangover is very useful or absolutely essential to the correct practice of geology in the field; and how many crates of beer does it take to cause the average 4x4 to roll over/dump its rear axle/spontaneously combust. It has been observed that undergraduate geology students are berated and whipped with bootlaces by their lecturers if they do not partake in late night drinking on field trips (exception: university of Western Australia). Returning to university without liver-ache is frowned upon by most (exception: university of Western Australia). Early mornings in the field are usually fueled by coffee; however, water is optional in the brewing process and filters are unheard of. In the absence of water, coffee will be brewed with leftover beer. In the absence of beer, vodka, scotch, gin or tequila; coffee grounds may be chewed dry. This perhaps, is the reason it is impossible to communicate successfully with a geologist in the field. Protective cover in the form of beards shields geologists in a field party from sight of each other's gin-etched and coffee-coloured teeth. The inability to grow a beard is one of the factors still hampering female geologists today, though some have a really good crack at it.

In recent years, geologists have become more inclined to imbibe absinthe in their efforts to better think like a rock. The proper way to drink absinthe is to prepare a drink known as a green schist. Absinthe is most appropriately consumed by straining a shot into a glass through an absinthe spoon containing a sugar cube. Light the sugar cube. After it burns down, stir it into the glass with the spoon, then take the shot (DO NOT substitute aplite!). Add three shots of ice cold water (preferably from a receding glacier) and watch as the absinthe louches with the cold water and sugar. Caution, do not drink more than five of these in one sitting! Also, ONLY trust female geologists that you observe slamming down shots of absinthe in a bar. You have been warned.

Geologists and Breeding

The prospect of month upon month of fieldwork in remote places has led to some interesting evolutionary peculiarities amongst this species. Amidst only rocks and alcohol, with often long dark nights eliminating the possibility of the former, and leaving only the latter, resourceful geologists fill their time intermingling with other geologists. During this time, upcoming geologists earn their "wings" (or more appropriately, their "hammer") by fulfilling one or more of the following electives:

a) Date a fellow geologist

b) Sleep with a fellow geologist

c) Have an affair with a geologist

d) Have an affair with a student geologist

e) Marry a fellow geologist

f) Marry a current or former student geologist

g) Date/Marry or have an affair with a driller

h) Date/ Marry or have affair with field hand/ offsider

i) Marry a purveyor of alcohol

A combination, or multiple repetitions of the above electives result in the true seasoning of a geologist. An informal survey of geologists at 25 of the top 30 geology programs in the US News and World Report 2005 rankings found that 84% of faculty and 78% of graduate students fulfilled at least two of the above electives. Of tenured faculty surveyed, 98% had fulfilled at least three of the above. Surveyors often examine such geological features.

The Great Geology-Geography Wars (1852 - last Tuesday, just after lunch)

For eons, animosity has existed between those folk who understand what an eon is and those who need help tying their bootlaces before a day in the field. However, the most recent escalation of violence between the two warring tribes was sparked when, over a jolly fine supper in the Atheneum Club (turbot und dill, en croute avec carpet sautee), Sir Roderick Impey Murchison was heard to say "Your mum, what!" to Dr. David Livingstone. The avid bug-huffer retired in high dudgeon and went off to sulk in Africa for years and years and years, only returning to civilization when Murchison was safely insane. And dead. In his absence, the serried ranks of the geographers could barely muster a token resistance to the all-powerful, all-conquering, and devilishly handsome (yes, even Adam Sedgwick) geologists. Final defeat came at the blood-soaked Battle of Roger Moor (similar to Marston Moor, but a bit smoother, and orange) where the geographers were ignominiously routed owing to the superior firepower of the geologists' flint-lock machine guns (but lets face it, any weapon with a rock integral to its design was always going to terrify the pants off a geographer). Annual tribute is paid by the geographers in recognition of this defeat, hence the odd obsession with tributaries often displayed by members of their race. Even now, some small conflicts are still happening. Recently, in 2007, a group of drunk Dutch geology students tried to smoke geographers out of their room by setting newspapers and posters on fire near the door, after they left from a social drinking event, where they were personally invited. This was against governing policies unfortunately. In general, it can be said that geographers are scientists that learn less and less about more and more until they know almost nothing about almost everything, whereas geologists are scientists that learn more and more about less and less until they know almost everything about almost nothing!

Here is another example of the incomprehension between geologists and physical geographers: Two geologists are doing some fieldwork in the Alps. After a tough day in the field they take a well earned meal at the only restaurant in the local village. They are lucky, the restaurant has a beautiful view on the mountains but also on a nice small river. They are surprised to see two physical geographers from the same university as they work for. The geographers are drilling some holes in the ground next to the river. The geologist eat their meal, drink a beer and keep on watching the ground drilling geographers. One of the geologist says to the other that every drunk dumbass can do that stupid drilling work. To put that to the test the other geologist asks the two geographers to come to the restaurant and he buys them a beer. After the geographers finish their beers they go back to work because they were a bit back on schedule. The geologists are still not convinced. They buy the geographers some more beer. This time a whole pitcher. It takes a while, but after the geographers finish the pitcher they go back to work. The geologists see that they do not drill the holes vertical anymore, the geographers drill them a little inclined now. Probably due to a little to much beer. But still, they are drilling pretty well. So the geologists ask the geographers for some more beer. A whole pitcher per geographer this time. The geologists think that the geographers must be really hammered after more then one and a half pitcher. This will prove their point that every dumbass can be a physical geographer. And indeed, the geographers are really hammered after their last pitcher. To the surprise of the geologists the geographers do not walk back to river to drill another hole, but pick up a hammer, walk to the nearest rock outcrop and start hammering and licking the rocks.

Geologists and Rock Hunting

One of the geologists' favoured pastime is the noble art of rock hunting. A great deal of skill is required for this most awesome of pursuits. The stalk is the hardest part of a rock hunt with the risk that you may startle the herd... Always a bother as you have to set up the ambush all over again once they've quieted down. With regards to weapons, it is generally accepted that projectiles are not suitable as they may mar the trophy and render it less presentable. A swift blow with a geopick (that's why they have a pointed end) is considered the most humane method and generally leaves the trophy undamaged and more suitable for display. One can always scavenge for less mobile specimens but in most cases these have been subject to weathering and decay and do not exhibit the full mating plumage of a rock in its prime. A good nose is also required to "sniff-out" the best examples, hence the term "Rock-Hound".

Geographers and pedologists on the other hand have an annoying tendency to hunt for soil samples (an altogether less demanding sport requiring no stalking skill and only blunt, brutish instruments such as spades and/or shovels) in the misguided belief that these may substitute for the rarer, more exotic and infinitely more desirable rock samples. They are, as is usual for geographers and other such "soft" scientists, mistaken. It is thought by leading figures in the field of Geographer Baiting that this could be due to the more docile habit of soils and the fact that they are not nearly as aggressive as true rocks. Other detractors are of the opinion that anything to do with rocks in their native form frankly scares the bejeesus out of such namby-pamby, artsy-fartsy, wishy-washy BA wannabes. This may also account for the fact that a their collections in general tend to sag and/or smell and are not nearly as attractive to the opposite sex as a true geologist's sparkling, shiny and downright stunning collection of specimens taken at great personal risk to life and limb.

The Great Geologist-Engineer Controversy

Geology, an art as much as a science, has always baffled and worried engineers. And while geologists have provided mankind with massive sources of energy such as coal, gas, and flatulence, engineers have been relegated to merely designing tanks to hold these natural resources. Engineers tend to carry defensive weapons of pocket protectors, slide rules, black socks, and lousy humour, although these tools are a poor match for the geologist's rock hammer, hand lens, and Brunton\Breithaupt compass. Note that Microsoft software engineers have neglected to include Brunton or Breithaupt in the Microsoft Word spelling check. Differing world view is a fundamental reason for Geologist-Engineer conflict. Geologists view the world as a beautiful array of possibilities and a wealth of variability; a terrifying idea for detail obsessed and pigeon-holing Engineers. Rough estimates and 'back of the envelope calculations' have long conflicted with engineers' need definitive and quantifiable answers.

Geologists, secure in their vague estimates have forever conflicted with engineers and their need for a definitive, quantifiable answer since the building of the pyramids. The ancient Egyptian engineers had determined that the Great Pyramid would require 6961105709.356732519874886510 metric tons of stone blocks to construct. The ancient Egyptian geologists yawned and disagreed. When it turned out that only 6961105709.356732519874886509 metric tons were required, the geologists sneered and said, "I told you your calculations were wrong." The geologists, having been proven correct and superior, have been envied by engineers since that fateful day.

Adding further heat to the argument, Engineers commonly envy a Geologist's ability to take time off from his work. Geologists tend to carry their paraphernalia with them even while on break. Hence a Geologist strolling through the park or hiking around a property is viewed as 'on the job' by his or her superiors or employer, ergo always maintaining a facade of hard work. This infuriates engineers, who seldom get time off, nor any pleasure from their work. Similar activities by an engineer may result in demotion or unemployment, thus stoking the fire of their fury at the superior Geologist.

Geologists also outlive engineers, who bored by their pitiful existence often forsake engineering for senior management and then have to deal with geologists who have become very skilled in manager-baiting. A complex art that revolves around telling managers almost what they want to know but phrasing it in jargon and vagaries to cause minor unstable mental episodes and periods of delusion followed by depression. Many engineers end their days in cosy little rooms playing with amateur radio or trying to coax a new computer to boot up in CP/M.

Subclasses of "normal" Engineers are the Geo-technical and Mining Engineers.

How do I become a Geologist ?

To gain employment as a geologist you must find someone willing to hire one. This, as you may well imagine, is really very difficult. In preparation one could actually learn geology first at university and then seek employment at the same university. A second, and far more practical, method is to skip university and simply go and watch some geologists at work until you get the hang of it. Then off you go to an oil company to hire out to them. Either way, in advance of employment you may be interviewed by the oil company science staff - so make sure to bone up on the science basics like the "Scientific Method" and "Avogadro ... something something". In particular you should be aware of the "Geologic Method". In a nutshell that appears to be to go find some place where oil is being drilled (geologists call this a "find"). Then get someone (known as "consultants") to spread the word that actually you started the whole play. Finally, seek speaking engagements promoting the play. This will make you an invaluable asset at the company. If you do much of this you should end up as an Exploration Manager in short order and you will then no longer have many concerns with geology and will spend your day answering e-mails.

Another useful way to gain employment as a geologist is to major in geology at some fine(?) college and study rocks for 4 years. Then, go to graduate school, and learn more about rocks for another 2-6 years. Then, gain a post-doc position at another school, and teach yourself about rocks for another few years. Then, gain a teaching position at that very same academic establishment - and teach others about rocks. At some point in time, you may actually get a real job as a practicing geologist... However, it is unlikely.

Odd Geological Formations: Recruiting a Geologist or the Geology Trap

Black Hills 94

A youngling geologist discovers a rock.

There are several ways that Geologists can be formed, most of them are terrible and quite unnatural. It starts with an introduction to rocks by some other lost soul. Here I will list a few of their methods:

1) Typically it begins at a third rate university when an unknowing undergrad is lured into the Geology Department by "pretty" rocks. "You like those?" "We've got more!" they reckon... He or she was majoring in some kind of writing or art subject with no real future to speak of, which required four science credit hours for some reason, so he or she took the course in Geology. Big mistake.

The introductory course that this poor soul had to endure, along with plenty of kinesiology and marketing majors that also decided to take the "easy" science class, featured a book called "Earth" or "Blue Planet" or some other crap like that, which had definitions for words like "weather" and "climate" that these future P.E. teachers and suicidal economists just couldn't comprehend. And the writer/artist coasted by with an A-. Nice. Stick with it eh?

Then comes Mineralogy, and the selling of your soul to Satan, aka Exxon (or Halliburton) -- he goes by many names... According to Paleontology, as this student finds out, Satan is not real, or is possibly a Conodont, now fossilized and incapable of harm, and what the hell is a Conodont anyway?

Finally they finish this student off with a pagan festival called "Field Camp" and a Sedimentology class to "round him out" (Average roundness is Subangular). The student endures endless trigonometry and arbitrary measurement taking along with plenty of sandstone. "Where are all the pretty rocks?", the student mutters. Well sorry, Sally, they are not here. This is the freaking desert. That is prickly pear. This town only has one bar with four American beers. Not enough to satisfy the now overwhelming alcoholism that entered the student's life somewhere between Azurite and listric faults. And this is only the beginning. Feel the fear.

2) Retirement from some "high-tech", mental health, military or medical industry and back to school. Now you are between 30 and 40, your fashion is skewed by something near 20 years, and either microchips, a threat from Jimmy the obsessive-compulsive, nymphomaniacal, self-medicating addict, or the constant flow of dead people encouraged you to study rocks. Peace of mind. Or so you think. Soon you will be wondering which direction the paleocurrents of a .05 meter dune were flowing somewhere on top of a mesa. But the fresh air will do your tired soul some good. Hell, they didn't even have to encourage you with those shiny things and colorful rocks.

3) As a child, you listened to John Denver and/or went on a family vacation to a location that had geological "stuff" with which you were unfamiliar, and which your parents/John Denver failed to explain adequately. Seeking answers, you turned to the "Rocky Mountain High," and, in a "dude my hands are huge" moment, you decided that geology was the life for you because that was the only way to A) answer your questions about the life, the Earth, the universe and everything, and B) tick off your evangelical relatives who think the world is 6000 years old and the Flintstones was a documentary.

4) The most odd and horrendous mutation from normal human into a Geologist that I have thus far encountered was the academic scholar. The details are all too terrible. A math professor. Rocks. That is all you need to know.

How to spot a Geologist

Missouri 85

A fully-grown geologist.

To spot a geologist in the wild, look for:

  • Someone with over enthusiasm on the subject of dinosaurs and who cringes when a dinosaur is called a reptile.
  • Someone explaining to airport security that a sidewall core covered in gunpowder residue isn't really a weapon.
  • Someone who only includes people in photos for scale, and has more pictures of his/her rock hammer and lens caps than of family and friends. Especially *Someone who uses their new baby for scale (Oh God..the horror!)
  • Someone lighting a cigarette with a handlens focussing the sunlight, or a coat hanger stretched between the battery terminals of a University van.
  • Someone explaining to airport security that just because his/her safety boots are covered in high-explosive (usually ANFEX) residue, it doesn't mean he/she is a terrorist
  • Someone who will willingly cross an eight-lane interstate on foot to determine if the outcrops are the same on both sides.
  • Someone who can pronounce the word molybdenite correctly on the first try.
  • Someone who has hiked 6 miles to look at a broken fence that was "offset by a recent earthquake".
  • Someone who says "this will make a nice Christmas gift" while out rock collecting.
  • Someone who looks at scenery and tells you how it formed.
  • Someone who, when on a beach, will collect shells and try to explain their muscle scars to you.
  • Someone who knows the phylum, kingdom, and genus of every ancient creature lodged in stone, some of which look nothing like an animal, but can't remember his/her mother's, or spouse's, birthday.
  • Someone who modifies his/her pace to one meter in order to simplify pace-and-compass mapping.
  • Someone who walks out of a bathroom and asks if you noticed the fossils in the stall dividers.
  • Someone whose sentences begin with the phrase, "Let me tell you what happened here."
  • Someone who can say, "Gneiss Cleavage" or talks about slaty cleavage and means it in a non-derogatory sense.
  • Someone who gets really upset when the countertop, which is obviously mafic/aphanitic/metamorphic, is called granite and takes 20 minutes to tell you why you're wrong.
  • Someone who scoffs when they see your compass doesn't have a clinometer as standard.
  • Someone who has a holster for their rock hammer.

If you remain unsure, ask the subject to draw an annotated diagram of a trilobite. A true geologist will immediately reach for their waterproof notebook - this is your opportunity for escape.

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