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Quotations about Geology



Who does not remember the outcry against the science of geology, which has hardly yet subsided? Its professors were impiously and absurdly accused of designing to "hurl the Creator from his throne." ~Charles Mackay, "The Love of the Marvellous and the Disbelief of the True," Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions, 1841


The stories which time has written on the crust of our globe... ~Henry James Slack, 1850


Physics answers the question:  what is the nature of the universe? Geology answers the question:  what'd I just trip over? ~The Big Bang Theory, "The Geology Methodology," 2017, teleplay by Eric Kaplan, Maria Ferrari, and Tara Hernandez  [S11, E7, Sheldon]


No man must study geology without a bold heart and patient endurance; he must be a good soldier in the cause of science, or he is unfit for a geologist. ~S. J. Mackie, "The Geology of the Sea," 1860


Geology is a lifelong love affair from which you never recover. ~George E. W. Love, State Geologist, Pennsylvania Geological Survey, in Pennsylvania Geology, Summer 2014


"You are old, Father Earth," the reporter averred,
"And yet while it sounds not a little absurd,
You still keep rotating and doing your bit;
I venture to say you're remarkably fit;
For a sphere that's experienced so many cares,
You're perfectly marvellous, sir, for your years;
'Twere almost impossible rightly to gauge,
From outward appearance your wonderful age;
Pray, what are the factors or causes—or both,
To which you attribute your prodigal growth
And faculties faultless—there's never a doubt—
When far larger planets have gone up the spout?..."
~Kenneth Alfred Evelyn Alexander (c.1890–1953), "The Old Identity," in The New Zealand Railways Magazine, 1930


"But golly, I never felt fitter or spryer
Except when I whirled as a globule of fire,
And but for occasional shivers and shakes,
I'm free as a fiddle from bodily aches;
It's true—if you'll pardon such verbal corruptions—
I sometimes am troubled with things like eruptions;
But gen'rally speaking, as men always are,
I never felt better or more up to par;
In fact I get harder and firmer I think,
As the fires of my youth imperceptibly sink...
I am ancient—so old you could hardly absorb it,
And yet I continue to stick to my orbit,
But should I perchance ever cease to rotate,
It's safe to predict that you'll go for a skate,
And ere my gyrations are finally done,
Why friends—you will all find a place in the sun."
~Kenneth Alfred Evelyn Alexander (c.1890–1953), "The Old Identity," in The New Zealand Railways Magazine, 1930


Dear reader, this is the glad New Year — tra-la-la, so let's ignore the evolutionary evidence of sophomorical scientists regarding the geological genealogy of Terra Firma and accept the version of the Director of Dates and Measures to the effect that this is the nineteen hundred and thirtieth birthday of Old Man Earth. ~Kenneth Alfred Evelyn Alexander (c.1890–1953), "The Old Identity," in The New Zealand Railways Magazine, 1930


Bad times have a scientific value. These are occasions a good learner would not miss... We learn geology the morning after the earthquake, on ghastly diagrams of cloven mountains, upheaved plains, and the dry bed of the sea. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1860


Why is it that when I ask three geologists what a rock is, I get three different answers and a broken rock? ~Author unknown


Of quartz I love geology! ~Internet meme


Never trust tectonic plates — they're way too shifty. ~Internet meme


tectonic — cocktail for IT professionals  ~John Atkinson, "phonetically defined geology," 2024, Wrong Hands, wronghands1.com


Geology rocks but geography is where it's at. ~Internet meme


This country is geology by day and astronomy at night. ~J. B. Priestley, Midnight on the Desert: A Chapter of Autobiography, 1917


Arizonans take the Grand Canyon for granite. ~Internet meme


Isn't the Grand Canyon just gorges? ~Internet meme


To the student embued with the love of nature the science of geology offers at once a sublime and unlimited expanse: he is in a transport of delight at every step with the knowledge he obtains. Every new opening and unfolding of the great book of the past overwhelms him with the immensity of the ideas and reflections which arise. He has acquired a new language, as it were, and can read the stirring stories recorded in the ponderous volume. To the world, occupied with its cares and trials, its anxieties, or its pleasures, the volume lies open spread, but few or none read the language in which it is written. ~S. J. Mackie, "Geological Localities. — № I: Folkestone," 1860


As geologists and earth science enthusiasts, we have the opportunity to share with people our love of the science, our appreciation of nature, and our concern for tomorrow... We need to ensure that the institutional knowledge that we have accumulated is not lost... SHARE YOUR KNOWLEDGE! ~George E. W. Love, State Geologist, Pennsylvania Geological Survey, in Pennsylvania Geology, Summer 2014


Every Day Is Earth Day for Geologists. As geologists who daily carry out our responsibilities in the subject defined as "the science of the earth," we were particularly pleased that our Nation finally saw fit to observe an Earth Day. It was long overdue that recognition and consideration be extended to the small sphere which is our home, our source of life and nourishment. My concern is that Earth Day should not have been a once and only occasion, nor a once a year affair which, like Mother's Day, is so conveniently disregarded the rest of the year by so many. We sincerely hope that Earth Day 1970 will have marked the formal beginning of a great public awakening to the problems and needs of wise use and effective management of our lithosphere, our hydrosphere, and our atmosphere — better known as our land, our water, and our air. ~Arthur A. Socolow (1921–2013), "From the Desk of the State Geologist," Pennsylvania Geology, June 1970


Every inch of earth and air contains the fundamental principles of the universe. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), "Morality," Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882


Fossils are what 'now' looked like forever ago. ~Terri Guillemets, "Rockers of science," 1988


Geology shows that fossils are of different ages.
Paleontology shows a fossil sequence; the list of represented species changes through time.
Taxonomy shows biological relationships among species.
Evolution is the explanation that threads it all together.
Creationism is the practice of squeezing one's eyes shut and wailing, "Does not!"
~Skeptic X, c. 1998


It may seem just matter of surprise, that many learned and religious men should regard with jealousy and suspicion the study of any natural phenomena, which abound with proofs of some of the highest attributes of the Deity; and should receive with distrust, or total incredulity, the announcement of conclusions, which the geologist deduces from careful and patient investigation of the facts which it is his province to explore. These doubts and difficulties result from the disclosures made by geology, respecting the lapse of very long periods of time, before the creation of man.... Geology has shared the fate of other infant sciences, in being for a while considered hostile to revealed religion; so like them, when fully understood, it will be found a potent and consistent auxiliary to it, exalting our conviction of the Power, and Wisdom, and Goodness of the Creator. ~William Buckland, Geology and Mineralogy Considered with Reference to Natural Theology, 1836  [referencing Thomas Burnet's 1692 Archæologiæ Philosophicæ: Sive Doctrina Antiqua de Rerum Originibus —tg]


If there be one attribute of the Deity which astonishes me more than another, it is the attribute of patience. The Great Soul that sits on the throne of the universe is not, never was, and never will be, in a hurry. In the realm of nature, every thing has been wrought out in the august consciousness of infinite leisure; and I bless God for that geology which gives me a key to the patience in which the creative process was effected. ~Timothy Titcomb (J.G. Holland), "Patience," Gold-Foil, Hammered from Popular Proverbs, 1859  [Quoted (Holland), in Gems for the Fireside, ed. O. H. Tiffany, 1883: "Geology gives us a key to the patience of God." —tg]


Well, you know, we geologists always get a little sad when Rocktober's over. ~The Big Bang Theory, "The Geology Methodology," 2017, teleplay by Eric Kaplan, Maria Ferrari, and Tara Hernandez  [S11, E7, Bert]


...but it's still geology. Sorry, Bert, I don't have time to play rocks with you... I have real science to do. ~The Big Bang Theory, "The Geology Methodology," 2017, teleplay by Eric Kaplan, Maria Ferrari, and Tara Hernandez  [S11, E7, Sheldon]


PENNY:  Wait, what's wrong with geology?
SHELDON:  Let me put this in a way you'll understand... Do you remember how you explained to me that the Kardashians aren't real celebrities? Well, geology is the Kardashians of science.
~The Big Bang Theory, "The Relationship Diremption," 2014, teleplay by Chuck Lorre, Eric Kaplan, and Steve Holland  [S7, E20]


I've never been away to school, but last year a young woman came who had been... in college two years, and she wore herself out... She was very nice and knew a great deal about dead and gone people, and the changes of the earth in all the thousands of years it has been going... ~Amanda M. Douglas, In the Sherburne Line, 1907


To uncover new stratas of myself. To drill down to unknown levels. To uncover beds, and veins, and pockets down in the untried depths. ~Muriel Strode, My Little Book of Life, 1912


The science of language has large and close analogies in geological science, with its ceaseless evolution, its fossils, and its numberless submerged layers and hidden strata, the infinite go-before of the present. ~Walt Whitman, "Slang in America," 1885


A cross-section of our society to-day represents the entire geological formation of human nature for 40,000 years. We need but look on the faces of the men about us as we go down the street. All history is here this minute. ~Gerald Stanley Lee, 1912


It seems a pity that Psychology should have destroyed all our knowledge of human nature. It is a natural enough catastrophe; for the very act of changing it from a matter of common sense to a matter of scientific enquiry, labelled and separated as a science, involves a change which nobody has adequately noted. It is simply the change from looking at a thing from the inside to looking at it from the outside. If psychology is a thing like geology or biology or conchology or ornithology, it tends to be approached in the same external way as these other sciences. The geologist had the duty of splitting the rocks or digging up the fossils; but nobody supposed that the geologist felt like a fossil, or could give us any notion of what a rock would feel like, if it felt anything at all. Now that the psychologist has been given the exclusive duty of splitting the skull and digging up the subconsciousness, he naturally tends to think of that subconscious stratification as something as sealed up and secret as the deepest stratification of the rocks. In a sense, this science is the opposite of every other sort of science; for it does not teach us that we may know what we did not know, but rather, if anything, that we do not know what we thought we did know. ~G. K. Chesterton, 1934


Oaths are the fossils of piety. The geologist recognizes in them the relics of a once active devotion, but they are now only counters and pebbles tossed about in the unconscious play of expression. The lighter and more constant their use, the less their meaning. ~George Santayana, "The Absence of Religion in Shakespeare," 1896


...let us have accurate quotations and exact references, wherever such are to be had. A quotation without a reference is like a geological specimen of unknown locality. ~Walter W. Skeat, "Old Proverbs," in Notes and Queries, 1884





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published 2018 Aug 11
revised 2024 Mar 30
last saved 2024 Mar 30
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