Quotes About Geology

Quotes tagged as "geology" (showing 1-30 of 84)
Robert G. Ingersoll
“This century will be called Darwin's century. He was one of the greatest men who ever touched this globe. He has explained more of the phenomena of life than all of the religious teachers. Write the name of Charles Darwin on the one hand and the name of every theologian who ever lived on the other, and from that name has come more light to the world than from all of those. His doctrine of evolution, his doctrine of the survival of the fittest, his doctrine of the origin of species, has removed in every thinking mind the last vestige of orthodox Christianity. He has not only stated, but he has demonstrated, that the inspired writer knew nothing of this world, nothing of the origin of man, nothing of geology, nothing of astronomy, nothing of nature; that the Bible is a book written by ignorance--at the instigation of fear. Think of the men who replied to him. Only a few years ago there was no person too ignorant to successfully answer Charles Darwin, and the more ignorant he was the more cheerfully he undertook the task. He was held up to the ridicule, the scorn and contempt of the Christian world, and yet when he died, England was proud to put his dust with that of her noblest and her grandest. Charles Darwin conquered the intellectual world, and his doctrines are now accepted facts. His light has broken in on some of the clergy, and the greatest man who to-day occupies the pulpit of one of the orthodox churches, Henry Ward Beecher, is a believer in the theories of Charles Darwin--a man of more genius than all the clergy of that entire church put together.

...The church teaches that man was created perfect, and that for six thousand years he has degenerated. Darwin demonstrated the falsity of this dogma. He shows that man has for thousands of ages steadily advanced; that the Garden of Eden is an ignorant myth; that the doctrine of original sin has no foundation in fact; that the atonement is an absurdity; that the serpent did not tempt, and that man did not 'fall.'

Charles Darwin destroyed the foundation of orthodox Christianity. There is nothing left but faith in what we know could not and did not happen
. Religion and science are enemies. One is a superstition; the other is a fact. One rests upon the false, the other upon the true. One is the result of fear and faith, the other of investigation and reason.”
Robert G. Ingersoll, Lectures of Col. R.G. Ingersoll: Including His Letters on the Chinese God--Is Suicide a Sin?--The Right to One's Life--Etc. Etc. Etc, Volume 2

Herbert Spencer
“[L]et us not overlook the further great fact, that not only does science underlie sculpture, painting, music, poetry, but that science is itself poetic. The current opinion that science and poetry are opposed is a delusion. ... On the contrary science opens up realms of poetry where to the unscientific all is a blank. Those engaged in scientific researches constantly show us that they realize not less vividly, but more vividly, than others, the poetry of their subjects. Whoever will dip into Hugh Miller's works on geology, or read Mr. Lewes's “Seaside Studies,” will perceive that science excites poetry rather than extinguishes it. And whoever will contemplate the life of Goethe will see that the poet and the man of science can co-exist in equal activity. Is it not, indeed, an absurd and almost a sacrilegious belief that the more a man studies Nature the less he reveres it? Think you that a drop of water, which to the vulgar eye is but a drop of water, loses anything in the eye of the physicist who knows that its elements are held together by a force which, if suddenly liberated, would produce a flash of lightning? Think you that what is carelessly looked upon by the uninitiated as a mere snow-flake, does not suggest higher associations to one who has seen through a microscope the wondrously varied and elegant forms of snow-crystals? Think you that the rounded rock marked with parallel scratches calls up as much poetry in an ignorant mind as in the mind of a geologist, who knows that over this rock a glacier slid a million years ago? The truth is, that those who have never entered upon scientific pursuits know not a tithe of the poetry by which they are surrounded. Whoever has not in youth collected plants and insects, knows not half the halo of interest which lanes and hedge-rows can assume. Whoever has not sought for fossils, has little idea of the poetical associations that surround the places where imbedded treasures were found. Whoever at the seaside has not had a microscope and aquarium, has yet to learn what the highest pleasures of the seaside are. Sad, indeed, is it to see how men occupy themselves with trivialities, and are indifferent to the grandest phenomena—care not to understand the architecture of the universe, but are deeply interested in some contemptible controversy about the intrigues of Mary Queen of Scots!—are learnedly critical over a Greek ode, and pass by without a glance that grand epic... upon the strata of the Earth!”
Herbert Spencer, Education, Intellectual, Moral, and Physical

Mary Oliver
“In your hands

The dog, the donkey, surely they know
They are alive.
Who would argue otherwise?

But now, after years of consideration,
I am getting beyond that.
What about the sunflowers? What about
The tulips, and the pines?

Listen, all you have to do is start and
There’ll be no stopping.
What about mountains? What about water
Slipping over rocks?

And speaking of stones, what about
The little ones you can
Hold in your hands, their heartbeats
So secret, so hidden it may take years

Before, finally, you hear them?”
Mary Oliver, Swan: Poems and Prose Poems

Ken Jennings
“The decline of geography in academia is easy to understand: we live in an age of ever-increasing specialization, and geography is a generalist's discipline. Imagine the poor geographer trying to explain to someone at a campus cocktail party (or even to an unsympathetic adminitrator) exactly what it is he or she studies.
"Geography is Greek for 'writing about the earth.' We study the Earth."
"Right, like geologists."
"Well, yes, but we're interested in the whole world, not just the rocky bits. Geographers also study oceans, lakes, the water cycle..."
"So, it's like oceanography or hydrology."
"And the atmosphere."
"Meteorology, climatology..."
"It's broader than just physical geography. We're also interested in how humans relate to their planet."
"How is that different from ecology or environmental science?"
"Well, it encompasses them. Aspects of them. But we also study the social and economic and cultural and geopolitical sides of--"
"Sociology, economics, cultural studies, poli sci."
"Some geographers specialize in different world regions."
"Ah, right, we have Asian and African and Latin American studies programs here. But I didn't know they were part of the geography department."
"They're not."
(Long pause.)
"So, uh, what is it that do study then?”
Ken Jennings

John McPhee
“When the climbers in 1953 planted their flags on the highest mountain, they set them in snow over the skeletons of creatures that had lived in the warm clear ocean that India, moving north, blanked out. Possibly as much as twenty thousand feet below the seafloor, the skeletal remains had turned into rock. This one fact is a treatise in itself on the movements of the surface of the earth. If by some fiat I had to restrict all this writing to one sentence, this is the one I would choose: The summit of Mt. Everest is marine limestone.”
John McPhee, Annals of the Former World

Jeanette Winterson
“Earth is ancient now, but all knowledge is stored up in her. She keeps a record of everything that has happened since time began. Of time before time, she says little, and in a language that no one has yet understood. Through time, her secret codes have gradually been broken. Her mud and lava is a message from the past.

Of time to come, she says much, but who listens?”
Jeanette Winterson, Weight: The Myth of Atlas and Heracles

Bal Gangadhar Tilak
“The geologist takes up the history of the earth at the point where the archaeologist leaves it, and carries it further back into remote antiquity.”
Bal Gangadhar Tilak, The Arctic Home in the Vedas

W.H. Auden
“Soft as the earth is mankind and both need to be altered.”
W.H. Auden

Stephen Jay Gould
“No Geologist worth anything is permanently bound to a desk or laboratory, but the charming notion that true science can only be based on unbiased observation of nature in the raw is mythology. Creative work, in geology and anywhere else, is interaction and synthesis: half-baked ideas from a bar room, rocks in the field, chains of thought from lonely walks, numbers squeezed from rocks in a laboratory, numbers from a calculator riveted to a desk, fancy equipment usually malfunctioning on expensive ships, cheap equipment in the human cranium, arguments before a road cut.”
Stephen Jay Gould, An Urchin in the Storm: Essays about Books and Ideas

John McPhee
“The Himalayas are the crowning achievement of the Indo-Australian plate. India in the Oligocene crashed head on into Tibet, hit so hard that it not only folded and buckled the plate boundaries but also plowed into the newly created Tibetan plateau and drove the Himalayas five and a half miles into the sky. The mountains are in some trouble. India has not stopped pushing them, and they are still going up. Their height and volume are already so great they are beginning to melt in their own self-generated radioactive heat. When the climbers in 1953 planted their flags on the highest mountain, they set them in snow over the skeletons of creatures that had lived in a warm clear ocean that India, moving north, blanked out. Possibly as much as 20,000 feet below the sea floor, the skeletal remains had turned into rock. This one fact is a treatise in itself on the movements of the surface of the earth.

If by some fiat, I had to restrict all this writing to one sentence; this is the one I would choose: the summit of Mount Everest is marine limestone.”
John McPhee, Annals of the Former World

“To a naturalist nothing is indifferent; the humble moss that creeps upon the stone is equally interesting as the lofty pine which so beautifully adorns the valley or the mountain: but to a naturalist who is reading in the face of the rocks the annals of a former world, the mossy covering which obstructs his view, and renders indistinguishable the different species of stone, is no less than a serious subject of regret.”
James Hutton

Norman Maclean
“Ahead and to the west was our ranger station - and the mountains of Idaho, poems of geology stretching beyond any boundaries and seemingly even beyond the world.”
Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It and Other Stories

Penelope Lively
“Perhaps I shall not write my account of the Paleolithic at all, but make a film of it. A silent film at that, in which I shall show you first the great slumbering rocks of the Cambrian period, and move from those to the mountains of Wales...from Ordovician to Devonian, on the lush glowing Cotswolds, on to the white cliffs of Dover... An impressionistic, dreaming film, in which the folded rocks arise and flower and grow and become Salisbury Cathedral and York Minster...”
Penelope Lively, Moon Tiger

“Nevada...a land that is geology by day and astronomy at night”
Richard G. Lillard, Desert Challenge: An Interpretation of Nevada

“I went into geology because I like being outdoors, and because everybody in geology seemed, well, they all seemed like free spirits or renegades or something. You know, climbing mountains and hiking deserts and stuff.”
Kathy B. Steele, Rocks That Float

“There is no thrill like the thrill of discovery; no life like the life of a mining camp in the days of its youth. Nevada had known them in full and overflowing measure. The salt of the sea in the blood of a sailor is but a weak and insipid condiment compared with the solution of cyanide, sage and silicate in the blood of the prospector.”
C.B. Glasscock

“It was during my enchanted days of travel that the idea came to me, which, through the years, has come into my thoughts again and again and always happily—the idea that geology is the music of the earth.”
Hans Cloos, Conversation with the Earth

“The worse the country, the more tortured it is by water and wind, the more broken and carved, the more it attracts fossil hunters, who depend on the planet to open itself to us. We can only scratch away at what natural forces have brought to the surface.”
Jack Horner, How to Build a Dinosaur: Extinction Doesn't Have to Be Forever

Thomas E. Woods Jr.
“Father Nicholas Steno, is often identified as the father of geology.”
Thomas E. Woods Jr.

“Earth processes that seem trivially slow in human time can accomplish stunning work in geologic time. Let the Colorado River erode its bed by 1/100th of an inch each year (about the thickness of one of your fingernails.) Multiply it by six million years, and you’ve carved the Grand Canyon. Take the creeping pace of which the continents move (about two inches per year on average, or roughly as fast as your fingernails grow). Stretch that over thirty million years, and a continent will travel nearly 1,000 miles. Stretch that over a few billions years, and continents will have time to wander from the tropics to the poles and back, crunching together to assemble super-continents, break apart into new configurations- and do all of that again several times over. Deep time, it could be said, is Nature’s way of giving the Earth room for its history. The recognition of deep time might be geology’s paramount contribution to human knowledge.”
Keith Meldahl, Rough-Hewn Land: A Geologic Journey from California to the Rocky Mountains

Christina Dodd
“When I break a rock open with my pick, I'm a prophet. I see the past. I see the future. I know where the world is going, and where it's been. And I always, always want to know more.”
Christina Dodd, Virtue Falls

“Push up some mountains. Cut them down. Drown the land under the sea. Push up some more mountains. Cut them down. Push up a third set of mountains, and let the river cut through them. “Unconformity” is the geologic term for an old, eroded land surface buried under younger rock layers. Put your outspread hand over the Carlin Canyon, Nevada unconformity and your fingers span roughly forty million years- the time that it took to bevel down the first set of mountains and deposit the younger layers on top. What is forty million years? Enough time for a small predatory dinosaur to evolve into a bird. Enough time for a four-legged, deer-like mammal to evolve into a whale. And far more than enough time to turn an ape-like creature in eastern Africa into a big-brained biped who can marvel at such things. The Grand Canyon’s Great Unconformity divides 1.7 billion-year-old rock from 550 million-year-old rock, a gap of more than one billion years. One billion years. I earn my salary studying the Earth and teaching its history, but I admit utter helplessness in comprehending such a span. A billion pages like those of this book would stack up more than forty miles. I had lived one bullion seconds a few days before my thirty-second birthday. A tape measure one billion inches long would stretch two-thirds of the way around the Earth. Such analogies hint at what deep time means- but they don’t get us there. “The human mind may not have evolved enough to be able to comprehend deep time," John McPhee once observed, “it may only be able to measure it.”
Keith Meldahl, Rough-Hewn Land: A Geologic Journey from California to the Rocky Mountains

Barry López
“A thought that stayed with me was that I had entered a private place in the earth. I had seen exposed nearly its oldest part. I had lost my sense of urgency, rekindled a sense of what people were, clambering to gain access to high waterfalls and a sense of our endless struggle as a species to understand time and to estimate the consequences of our acts.”
Barry López, Crossing Open Ground

“Colorado and Wyoming are America’s highest states, averaging 6,800 feet and 6,700 feet above sea level. Utah comes in third at 6,100 feet, New Mexico, Nevada, and Idaho each break 5,000 feet, and the rest of the field is hardly worth mentioning. At 3,400 feet, Montana is only half as high as Colorado, and Alaska, despite having the highest peaks, is even further down the list at 1,900 feet. Colorado has more fourteeners than all the other U.S. states combined, and more than all of Canada too. Colorado’s lowest point (3,315 feet along the Kansas border) is higher than the highest point in twenty other states. Rivers begin here and flow away to all the points of the compass. Colorado receives no rivers from another state (unless you count the Green River’s’ brief in and out from Utah).Wyoming’s Wind River Range is the only mountain in North America that supplies water to all three master streams of the American West: Missouri, Colorado, and Columbia rivers.”
Keith Meldahl, Rough-Hewn Land: A Geologic Journey from California to the Rocky Mountains

“Just ask any subjugated thing-
a wife, population, race,
deferred dream and
resource misappropriated,
or continental plate;
and it will tell you stories
of inevitable fault lines
of not-quite-stray bullets
and strike slip boundaries,
places where intensity builds
and lets off small or great sparks,”
Marie Anzalone, Peregrintaing North-South Compass Points: Poems in English and Spanish

Ellen Dreyer
“That's the thing about rocks--they don't break easily. When I held them, I wanted to be like them-strong and steady, weathered but not broken.”
Ellen Dreyer, The Glow Stone

Lailah Gifty Akita
“We can only predict the future ecological changes, by emergence of the past into the present.”
Lailah Gifty Akita, Think Great: Be Great!

Julian May
“There are often evolutionary parallels on the different worlds because creation tends to be economical.”
Julian May, Orion Arm

“Each scenario is about fifteen million years into the future, and each assumes that the Pacific Plate will continue to move northwest at about 2.0 inches per year relative to the interior of North America.
In scenario 1, the San Andreas fault is the sole locus of motion. Baja California and coastal California shear away from the rest of the continent to form a long, skinny island. A short ferry ride across the San Andreas Strait connects LA to San Francisco.
In scenario 2, all of California west of the Sierra Nevada, together with Baja California, shears away to the northwest. The Gulf of California becomes the Reno Sea, which divides California from Nevada. The scene is reminiscent of how the Arabian Peninsula split from Africa to open the Red Sea some 5 million years ago.
In scenario 3, central Nevada splits open through the middle of the Basin and Range province. The widening Gulf of Nevada divides the continent form a large island composed of Washington, Oregon, California, Baja California, and western Nevada. The scene is akin to Madagascar’s origin when it split form eastern Africa to open the Mozambique Channel.”
Keith Meldahl, Rough-Hewn Land: A Geologic Journey from California to the Rocky Mountains

Peter Matthiessen
“A far cicada rings high and clear over the river’s heavy wash. Morning glory, a lone dandelion, cassia, orchids. So far from the nearest sea, I am taken aback by the sight of a purple land crab, like a relict of the ancient days when the Indian subcontinent, adrift on the earth’s mantle, moved northward to collide with the Asian landmass, driving these marine rocks, inch by inch, five miles into the skies. The rise of the Himalaya, begun in the Eocene, some fifty million years ago, is still continuing: an earthquake in 1959 caused mountains to fall into the rivers and changed the course of the great Brahmaputra, which comes down out of Tibet through northeastern India to join the Ganges near its delta at the Bay of Bengal.”
Peter Matthiessen, The Snow Leopard

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