Feb 27 2012

Accretionary Wedge #43: Proof That Geology Diagrams Aren’t Boring

I unfortunately missed #42, “Countertop Geology.” Everybody’s already seen the only countertop geology I have, which consists of random stone tiles placed on top of the hideous solid white Formica counters. Additionally, I was off the internets and completely missed the deadline. But I have returned for #43, “My favorite geological illustration.”

Geological illustrations, one and all, are things of beauty to me. They may be beautiful in and of themselves, or beautiful for the information they share and the understanding they promote. A good illustration helps a layperson like myself grasp difficult concepts, and makes things go ping after several paragraphs of confusing description. They can be information-dense, concise, dry as an anhydrous mineral, simple or complex.

They can also be hilarious. Observe:

Metamorphic facies diagram from The Science Education Resource Center at Carleton College*

Note the upper left. One of my geo friends on Twitter posted this ages ago (I wish I remembered who), and it still makes me giggle.

It’s also a damned handy diagram to have around when you’re trying to figure out what happens to rocks while a subduction zone’s squashing and roasting them. Who says you can’t have utility and humor?


Link to image source


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  1. 1
    Paul Durrant

    Surely that should be “Not IN this planet” :)

  2. 2

    “notonthisplanite” would have been funnier.

  3. 3
    The Lorax

    I’m sure you can find it, you just need to dig 64 meters down from sea level. I think they call it Adminium.

    … wait, sorry. I think I got my streams crossed.

    Anyway, yes. Science humor is great humor.

    “Heisenberg gets pulled over by a police officer. Officer says, ‘Do you know how fast you were going?’ Heisenberg says, ‘No, but I can tell you exactly where I was.’”

  4. 4

    very cool, thanks Dana!

  5. 5
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    Yeah, that is one of the cooler versions of that diagram.

    It was Brian Romans, as you had noted here.

  6. 6
    Jim Baerg

    For me the diagram just shows up as a blank with a red x in the upper left corner.

    1. 6.1
      Dana Hunter

      Shows up like that for me in Internet Explorer, but fine in Firefox, on my work computer. I’ll try reloading it when I get home from work tonight and see if we can’t get it fixed.

    2. 6.2

      I had trouble loading it, too, using Firefox. Don’t know why. Eventually, it loaded, once I clicked on the little image icon.

      1. Dana Hunter

        I don’t know why that image had problems for some users, and Explorer surely hated it with a passion, but I believe I’ve fixed it. Let me know if any of you are still having problems.

        1. Jim Baerg

          Thanks. I see it now.
          It raises the question of metamorphic facies on a planet that has cooled further than the earth has.

  7. 7

    Since giving up on the blog, haven’t been able to find a good way to participate in AW stuff, but considering tweeting Hutton’s “Hypothetical Unconformity” print, which gives me goosebumps to this day. And speaking of metamorphism, are you getting pumped to go see some really nice blueschist?

    1. 7.1
      Dana Hunter

      Hells to the yes! Dying of anticipation. Counting down the hours!

  8. 8
    Greg Laden

    I love this stuff. That’s some good schist.

  9. 9
    Ralph Wiggam

    Speaking of beautiful geologic illustrations,


    Art meets science in the Geologic Map of the Grand Canyon

    1. 9.1

      Bought a copy of an older edition of that map in 1978 when I first visited the Grand Canyon. Referred to it as “my electric dragon.”

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