As we kick off this new season of Generation Anthropocene, I thought that I’d take some time to answer some of the most queried questions on Google about geologists. Specifically, I tackled the question, “Are geologists…” followed by every letter of the alphabet and the resulting autofill question. Unsurprisingly, some of the letters hadn’t been searched enough for autofill to work. And yet, some letters yielded some of the strangest questions I’ve ever heard about geologists. Without further ado, here are my attempts at answers: Continue reading →
Our co-producer, Miles, gives a talk about San Francisco’s hidden nature that is simultaneously informative, funny, surprising and slightly uncomfortable (you’ll know what we mean when you get there). From the gold rush to the bay to the delicious food, Miles tries to explain why humans ever came to the Bay Area… hint: it involves geology. The talk was given as part of a collaboration between the California Historical Society and the Odd Salon.
A tale of two men and geology on the roof of the world
by Miles Traer
Still from John Noel’s 1924 film “The Epic of Everest” (copyright John Noel) showing the tiny figures of George Mallory and Andrew “Sandy” Irvine’s team as they prepared for the summit attempt.
Part I – Onto the Mountain
I’m sitting in a warm room wearing flannel pajamas with a hot meal in my belly when the title card on the movie fades and the 90-year-old film begins to flicker. The circular aperture is neatly divided along a diagonal line: the top featureless white, the bottom textured rough and grey – both ghostly. Darker striations run across the grey, further broken by white snow that looks like a child’s finger painting flecked with white and black dots. It’s only after several seconds that I notice that a few flecks of black are moving along the border between the white and grey, moving higher along the diagonal. Another title card appears and informs me that these tiny flecks are men, and the striated and speckled grey is Mount Everest as she appeared in 1924, on the eve of one of the most famous disappearances in mountaineering history. Continue reading →
Most of the epic survival stories you’ve read probably involve crazy mountain climbers, adventurous cave divers, or bearded and grizzled desert hikers. Scientists aren’t typically mentioned in this company. But sometimes, geologists find themselves enduring nature’s worst in the pursuit of that must-have dataset… or at least, a dataset that seemed really important at the time. Here are three stories about four geologists who found themselves at the wrong place at the wrong time when nature removed her flowery veil and donned her murder hat. But before I get into those, it needs to be said that people perished during the events of some of these stories. Given that, please consider this a celebration of the perseverance, luck, good fortune, and bad-assery of those who survived. Continue reading →