Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Musings: Two Million Page Visits

Recently, someone who spends most of the day staring at excel spreadsheets told me that geology is a 'dry' subject.

Another typical reaction I get about geology is an inquiry as to why I choose this unusual or fringe field. That too mystifies me. How can a science that is so central to understanding how the earth works be 'fringe'?

Geological knowledge makes the world turn. But the search for metals, oil and coal is not its only utility. For the past 4.6 billion years, the earth has been in a state of constant churn, a dynamic driven by the transfer of chemicals and heat between its interior and the surface. Rocks, organisms, and air feed of each other in an intricate web of energy exchanges. As historians of the earth, we build narratives about this evolution by delving into the rocky archives of past oceans, terrains and climate. We try to understand the processes connecting these different realms on timescales both vast and fleeting.

These history lessons from the deep past give geologists a unique perspective on how the surface of the earth, our home, will change in the near and distant future, changes caused by the interaction of human activity and natural process. Geoscientists will have a critical role to play in solving the big challenges of resource management, environmental degradation and climate change.

Refreshingly, I saw a different attitude towards geology in younger minds. A few weeks back I was asked to judge a school earth sciences projects contest. The children had prepared some wonderful demonstrations of how geology and our daily lives intersect. They were curious about the subject and passionate about applying the science to better our future. This early immersion in earth sciences might just make them more responsible and better informed stewards of our planet.

That day gave me some hope for the coming decades.

I write to tell these richly rewarding stories about geology. Maybe I have succeeded somewhat in my endeavor.

I am forever seeking newer audiences for my writings. A request to you to pass on the link to my blog to your friends. You can also subscribe directly by email or follow me on Twitter.

As for my friend, I am happy to say that he responded well to a treatment of 'one week in the Himalaya', so much so that towards the end of the trip he asked for a geology book list.


  1. Hi Suvrat, I chanced upon your blog after reading your review of the Indica book. I have been following your blog since then and learnt lot of interesting things. Thank you for sharing fascinating notes, links, re-tweets & publications! I have already forwarded your blog and twitter handle to few interested friends.

    May I request for a list of books/MOOC for beginners or amateurs in geology! (like me). Any recommendations to start with will certainly help as I find geology fascinating! (too late to go back to school!). Looking forward to more learning

    1. Chandu- thanks for your interest and for forwarding my link.

      reg books, here is a brief list

      Written by geologists
      Reading the Rocks, Timefulness- Marcia Bjornerud
      A New History of Life - Peter Ward & Joe Kirschvink
      The Story of the Earth in 25 Rocks - Donald Prothero

      More popular style -
      The Map That Changed the World - Simon Winchester
      Annals of the Former World - John McPhee (he has other books on geology too, all on N. America)
      Soundings - Hali Felt

      hope this helps.. :)

    2. Thank you, I will check the books. Congrats on the big milestone. Be it a rock or a mountain, it's so fascinating with awareness of geology, thanks to all you geologists out there!

  2. I cannot imagine geology being dry! I came to it later in life, and it has really enriched my outdoor experiences and travel.
    Congrats on hitting 2 million :)

  3. Thanks Hollis! yeah, a week outdoors changed my friend's worldview :)