Saturday, May 1, 2010

...And This Is A World in Which I Could Not Live

Geologists: 'We May Be Slowly Running Out Of Rocks'

RALEIGH, NC—A coalition of geologists are challenging the way we look at global stone reserves, claiming that, unless smarter methods of preservation are developed, mankind will eventually run out of rocks.
Kaiser claims that humanity has "wreaked havoc" on the earth's stones by picking them up, carrying them around, and displacing them from their natural habitat.

"A rock can take millions of years to form, but it only takes a second for someone to skip a smooth pebble into a lake, and then it is gone." Dr. Kaiser said. "Perhaps these thoughtless rock-skippers don't care if they leave our planet completely devoid of rocks, but what about our children? Don't they deserve the chance to hold a rock and toss it up and down a few times?"
(The Onion) The second paragraph reminds me of a favorite pastime on field trips- screwing with the geologic record. One time we left a chunk of coal near the Owens Valley Fault Scarp near Lone Pine (a site frequently visited on geological field trips, which is key). On the return to Oregon, we left a large block of granite from Lone Pine in the pumice from the Mazama eruption along Highway 97 north of Chemult. In turn, I once found a piece of (Paleozoic?) fossiliferous limestone at Siskyou Summit along I-5 near the OR-CA border. That cut is made entirely of Cascade volcanic rock; the nearest limestone (though not marble) is hundreds of miles away.

With all deference to the experts interviewed by the Onion, I'd prefer to think "picking them up, carrying them around, and displacing them from their natural habitat," not only challenges young geologists to think critically, but provides unique opportunities for the rocks themselves to hybridize, introducing novel lithic varieties for future generations of geologists to study and learn from.

And in other science news from The ONN,

Mars Rover Beginning To Hate Mars

But as the winter lingered, Spirit began producing thousands of pages of sometimes rambling and dubious data, ranging from complaints that the Martian surface was made up almost entirely of the same basalt, to long-winded rants questioning the exorbitant cost and scientific relevance of the mission.

"Granted, Spirit has been extraordinarily useful to our work," Callas said. "Last week, however, we received three straight days of images of the same rock with the message 'HAPPY NOW?'"
Well, yes. I am. Thanks, Onion

1 comment:

A-1984 said...

I can remember when some of my fellow geologist friends would leave some nice fossils from the area in obvious locations where people would find them. On them they would write in marker, Made in Japan.