Hooked on fieldwork


I think a lot of people ‘end up’ in geology.  I don’t hear too many 10 year olds saying, “I want to be a geologist!!”.  Personally, I wanted to train dolphins when I was 10, then switched to a fascination with whales, supported by a large poster of whales on my bedroom wall.  I applied to university with Marine Biology as my major, but then I panicked.  Think of all those Latin names!  I know nothing about marine biology!! So I switched to environmental studies.  My first semester in college, two courses changed everything.  “Human Population” seemed depressing and we discussed the inevitable doomsday of human existence as we know it.  “Geology 101” opened my eyes to the way the world works, answered questions about why there are earthquakes in some areas and not others, how mountains form, and how geologists use rocks and the landscape to figure out the past.  I loved it!  I couldn’t get enough! I switched majors by request of the geology professor and devoted my time to the hard science I love.  But then, something even more amazing happened.  I went into the field.  Not a field trip, not a field camp, I was a real geologist collecting samples for research no one had done before, walking in the footprint of glaciers where humans had never stepped, living in a tent, getting calluses on my hands, eating pasta every night. I was ecstatic! I was re-energized! I was hooked!


5 responses to “Hooked on fieldwork

  1. I was always collecting rock samples as a kid, long before I realised you could study the subject. I was fascinated by finding devil’s toenails and sharks teeth in the gravel in driveways! I’m now a field studies tutor in the Brecon Beacons.

    • I loved searching for quartz in our gravel driveway, but had no idea I could spend a lifetime looking at rocks! I don’t know what a devil’s toenail is, but sounds exciting!

      • Devil’s Toenails are Gryphea, a kind of bivalve. I didn’t know they were called this until much much later of course! All I knew was they were funky to look at 🙂

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