Posted by: sea2stars | January 7, 2011

The Geologist’s Life List

The geologist’s life list
It has been said that the best geologist is the one who’s seen the most rocks. I came upon this list of what geologists should try and see in their lifetimes. So I thought I would see what I’ve done on the list and then strive for the other things.

The idea is to bold the ones you have done (and add comments and details in parentheses).

1. See an erupting volcano
2. See a glacier (I saw lots of glaciers in the Canadian Rockies, my favorite being the Athabasca glacier, just cause it’s fun to say)
3. See an active geyser such as those in Yellowstone, New Zealand or the type locality of Iceland (Yellowstone)
4. Visit the Cretaceous/Tertiary (KT) Boundary. Possible locations include Gubbio, Italy, Stevns Klint, Denmark, the Red Deer River Valley near Drumheller, Alberta. (I’ve seen it in both Montana on field camp and in LaPopa Mexico)
5. Observe (from a safe distance) a river whose discharge is above bankful stage (After Hurricane Ike in Houston)
6. Explore a limestone cave. (I’ve been in lots of caves Alpina MI, Bedford IN, Wind Cave, SD Desoto Caverns, AL, Carlsbad, NM, Water Cave in Yangshuo China)

7. Tour an open pit mine, such as those in Butte, Montana, Bingham Canyon, Utah, Summitville, Colorado, Globe or Morenci, Arizona, or Chuquicamata, Chile.
8. Explore a subsurface mine (Went into a Galena Mine in Indian on a Undergrad trip)
9. See an ophiolite, such as the ophiolite complex in Oman or the Troodos complex on the Island Cyprus (Saw them in California, but I can’t remember exactly where we were)
10. An anorthosite complex, such as those in Labrador, the Adirondacks, and Niger
11. A slot canyon.
12. Varves, whether you see the type section in Sweden or examples elsewhere. (I feel like I’ve seen these, but I’m not positive, it’s been a while since I’ve been on some of these field trips.)
13. An exfoliation dome, such as those in the Sierra Nevada (Yosemite, CA,  Enchanted Rock, TX)
14. A layered igneous intrusion, such as the Stillwater complex in Montana or the Skaergaard Complex in Eastern Greenland.
15. Coastlines along the leading and trailing edge of a tectonic plate (California, East cost of Taiwan)
16. A gingko tree, which is the lone survivor of an ancient group of softwoods that covered much of the Northern Hemisphere in the Mesozoic. (On Undergrad Campus, but more fun in Taiwan and China. I’m still not quite sure why this is on the list)
17. Living and fossilized stromatolites (I like stromatolites. The best I ever saw were in the Canadian Rockies, but I see them all over here along Lake Michigan)
18. A field of glacial erratics (I’ve seen lots of these)
19. A caldera (Somewhere in NM, I don’t really remember the name of it)
20. A sand dune more than 200 feet high (Sleeping Bear Dunes, MI, The great sand dunes, CO)
21. A fjord (Sadly not, but I want to)
22. A recently formed fault scarp (I’m not really sure the San Andreas really Counts, but I’ll count it just in case)
23. A megabreccia (Saw one on field camp, not exactly sure where but I think around the Yellowstone area.)
24. An actively accreting river delta
25. A natural bridge (I saw the  largest natural bridge in AL)
26. A large sinkhole (Not sure how to define “large,” but I’ve seen quite a few in Northern MI)
27. A glacial outwash plain (I saw lots in the Canadian Rockies, I think they are pretty impressive.)
28. A sea stack (Ireland at the Cliffs of Mohr, or better known as the Cliffs of Insanity on the movie Pricess Bride.)
29. A house-sized glacial erratic (Nope, I haven’t seen any that big)
30. An underground lake or river (I went spelunking in one in the UP, it even had a waterfall in it.)
31. The continental divide (I’ve crossed them lots of times out west. I like how they are always marked.)
32. Fluorescent and phosphorescent minerals (I collected some in Bancroft Canada.)
33. Petrified trees (I’ve seen them in Yellowstone)
34. Lava tubes (Not yet, but I really want to)
35. The Grand Canyon. All the way down. And back. (This is also on my list)
36. Meteor Crater, Arizona, also known as the Barringer Crater, to see an impact crater on a scale that is comprehensible
37. The Great Barrier Reef, northeastern Australia, to see the largest coral reef in the world. (Another that is on my list)
38. The Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, Canada, to see the highest tides in the world (up to 16m)
39. The Waterpocket Fold, Utah, to see well exposed folds on a massive scale.
40. The Banded Iron Formation, Michigan, to better appreciate the air you breathe. (I sure have, I’ve also seen them out west.)
41. The Snows of Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. (This is not fair, not we are getting specific)
42. Lake Baikal, Siberia, to see the deepest lake in the world (1,620 m) with 20 percent of the Earth’s fresh water.
43. Ayers Rock (known now by the Aboriginal name of Uluru), Australia. This inselberg of nearly vertical Precambrian strata is about 2.5 kilometers long and more than 350 meters high.
44. Devil’s Tower, northeastern Wyoming, to see a classic example of columnar jointing (Been there a few times)
45. The Alps (not yet, but on the list)
46. Telescope Peak, in Death Valley National Park. From this spectacular summit you can look down onto the floor of Death Valley – 11,330 feet below. (I’m not 100 % sure we were on this particular peak but we did see all of Death Valley from our vantage point.)
47. The Li River, China, to see the fantastic tower karst that appears in much Chinese art (Yup, I even road a boat across it. The Karst really is pretty awesome.)
48. The Dalmation Coast of Croatia, to see the original Karst.
49. The Gorge of Bhagirathi, one of the sacred headwaters of the Ganges, in the Indian Himalayas, where the river flows from an ice tunnel beneath the Gangatori Glacier into a deep gorge.
50. The Goosenecks of the San Juan River, Utah, an impressive series of entrenched meanders.
52. Land’s End, Cornwall, Great Britain, for fractured granites that have feldspar crystals bigger than your fist.
53. Tierra del Fuego, Chile and Argentina, to see the Straights of Magellan and the southernmost tip of South America.
54. Mount St. Helens, Washington, to see the results of recent explosive volcanism. (Not yet, but it’s on my list)
55. The Giant’s Causeway and the Antrim Plateau, Northern Ireland, to see polygonally fractured basaltic flows. (On my list)
56. The Great Rift Valley in Africa.
57. The Matterhorn, along the Swiss/Italian border
58. The Carolina Bays, along the Carolinian and Georgian coastal plain (I saw them before I knew much about geology)
59. The Mima Mounds near Olympia, Washington
60. Siccar Point, Berwickshire, Scotland, where James Hutton observed the classic unconformity 61. The moving rocks of Racetrack Playa in Death Valley
62. Yosemite Valley
63. Landscape Arch (or Delicate Arch) in Utah (Also on my list)
64. The Burgess Shale in British Columbia (Yes I did, on my geology trip to the Canadian Rockies)
65. The Channeled Scablands of central Washington
66. Bryce Canyon
67. Grand Prismatic Spring at Yellowstone (This is really an amazing spring.)
68. Monument Valley
69. The San Andreas fault (Yup)
70. The dinosaur footprints in La Rioja, Spain
71. The volcanic landscapes of the Canary Islands
72. The Pyrennees Mountains
73. The Lime Caves at Karamea on the West Coast of New Zealand
74. Denali
75. A catastrophic mass wasting event (The Frank Slide in Alberta, Canada.)
76. The giant crossbeds visible at Zion National Park
77. The black or green sand beaches in Hawaii
78. Barton Springs in Texas (I went swimming in them during ACL)
79. Hells Canyon in Idaho
80. The Black Canyon of the Gunnison in Colorado
81. The Tunguska Impact site in Siberia
82. Feel an earthquake with a magnitude greater than 5.0. (6.4 in Taiwan)
83. Find dinosaur footprints in situ
84. Find a trilobite (Canadian Rockies, we tried to dig it out, but we couldn’t)
85. Find gold, however small the flake (When I was a kid we went gold mining in SD, I still have the flake)
86. Find a meteorite fragment (I’ve never found one, but I have one my brother bought me)
87. Experience a volcanic ashfall
88. Experience a sandstorm (Their was a big sandstorm in Death Valley when we where there)
89. See a tsunami
90. Witness a total solar eclipse (I saw one as a kid, I remember making special things so we could look at the sun during the eclipse)
91. Witness a tornado firsthand (that has nothing to do with rocks)
92. Witness a meteor storm (Many times, but the best where in the Canadian Rockies and this year while sleeping on the Great Wall)
93. View Saturn and its moons through a respectable telescope. (I’ve seen Jupiter and it’s 4 main moons. Does that count?)
94. See the Aurora borealis, otherwise known as the northern lights. (Saw them about 8 years back in MI)
95. View a great naked-eye comet  (Halley Comet when I was a kid)
96. See a lunar eclipse (many times)
97. View a distant galaxy through a large telescope (Saw them in my Astronomy class, we got to use the big telescope)
98. Experience a hurricane (Hurricane Ike in Houston Tx and to some extent Katrina, although I was farther inland in Tuscaloosa, AL.)
99. See noctilucent clouds (again this has nothing to do with rocks)
100. See the green flash

That’s a total of 47/100. Not bad for less than 10 years of traveling around.

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Responses

  1. Just a couple thoughts…
    #80 I feel bad for the Black Canyon in Colorado….everybody knows about the Grand Canyon but few have heard of the Black Canyon. Poor thing.
    #87 Not sure I want to be close enough to experience volcanic ash
    #90 Ummm….. In my non-geologist opinion I think this is by far the most insane suggestion on the list. Not too many people live to tell the tale of “seeing” a tsunami and lets not forget the major destruction and loss of human life that occurs in the aftermath. No thanks.
    #61 you forgot this one…I have seen pics of you and Mike with these when he went with you to California…
    #36. Mike has seen Metor Crater…He brought me a magnet from there…not that its a competition or anything…
    #28 I vote to change the name permantly
    #35. I wanted to see the Grand canyon when we went out west but mom (being mom) said “Its just a hole in the ground”
    #75. sounds like everyone has the “runs” …catastrophic mass wasting event?…not my idea of a good time
    #70 & #83 Not sure why dinosaur footprints are on the list more than once…seen one, you’ve seen ’em all??
    #100. I think the green flash is a myth. Sorry.

  2. Ok so I am not a geologist but I love to travel and list is intereting so here is my modified version for you.

    1. See an erupting volcano
    2. See a glacier (I also saw lots of glaciers in the Canadian Rockies, I have no favorites though as I can only take so much ice)
    3. See an active geyser such as those in Yellowstone, New Zealand or the type locality of Iceland (Yellowstone)
    4. Visit the Cretaceous/Tertiary (KT) Boundary. Ahh not sure what this is so can’t say for sure but I certainly didn’t appreciate it if I saw it.
    5. Observe (from a safe distance) a river whose discharge is above bankful stage (nope)
    6. Explore a limestone cave. (I’ve also been in lots of caves including Carlsbad, NM)
    7. Tour an open pit mine, such as those in Butte, Montana, Bingham Canyon, Utah, Summitville, Colorado, Globe or Morenci, Arizona, or Chuquicamata, Chile.
    8. Explore a subsurface mine (gypsum mines in GR fifth grade)
    9. See an ophiolite, such as the ophiolite complex in Oman or the Troodos complex on the Island Cyprus (again not sure what this is so probably not)
    10. An anorthosite complex, such as those in Labrador, the Adirondacks, and Niger
    11. A slot canyon. (zion and petra)
    12. Varves, whether you see the type section in Sweden or examples elsewhere. (I feel like I’ve seen these, I also cant be positive. )
    13. An exfoliation dome, such as those in the Sierra Nevada (Yosemite, CA)
    14. A layered igneous intrusion, such as the Stillwater complex in Montana or the Skaergaard Complex in Eastern Greenland.
    15. Coastlines along the leading and trailing edge of a tectonic plate (California,)
    16. A gingko tree, which is the lone survivor of an ancient group of softwoods that covered much of the Northern Hemisphere in the Mesozoic. (On Undergrad Campus, Hager Hardwood park and Kazoo near bankruptcy court. I’m also not sure why this is on the list)
    17. Living and fossilized stromatolites (ahh not sure)
    18. A field of glacial erratics (not sure)
    19. A caldera (I ve seen several one in Peru another in AZ)
    20. A sand dune more than 200 feet high (Sleeping Bear Dunes, MI)
    21. A fjord (Sadly not, but I want to)(me too)
    22. A recently formed fault scarp (I’m not really sure the San Andreas really Counts, but I’ll count it just in case)(in that case so will I)
    23. A megabreccia (nope)
    24. An actively accreting river delta
    25. A natural bridge (Ive seen many including one which no longer stands in aruba)
    26. A large sinkhole (Not sure how to define “large,” but definitely seen many of these the largest near the dead sea)
    27. A glacial outwash plain (Canadian Rockies)
    28. A sea stack (near pisco peru)
    29. A house-sized glacial erratic (Nope, I haven’t seen any that big)
    30. An underground lake or river (I forget the name of the place but yes, oh and I went cave tubing in Belize but I don’t count that as an underground river)
    31. The continental divide (I’ve crossed the east west and north south in N America)
    32. Fluorescent and phosphorescent minerals (nope)
    33. Petrified trees (I’ve seen them in Yellowstone and the petrified forest national park in AZ)
    34. Lava tubes (lava beds nation monument in CA)
    35. The Grand Canyon. All the way down. And back. (been there but not down and back)
    36. Meteor Crater, Arizona, also known as the Barringer Crater, to see an impact crater on a scale that is comprehensible
    37. The Great Barrier Reef, northeastern Australia, to see the largest coral reef in the world. (Another that is on my list)
    38. The Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, Canada, to see the highest tides in the world (up to 16m) (Been there but didn’t get to stick around too long so I count this as half way)
    39. The Waterpocket Fold, Utah, to see well exposed folds on a massive scale.
    40. The Banded Iron Formation, Michigan, to better appreciate the air you breathe. (I sure have, I’ve also seen them out west.)(ditto)
    41. The Snows of Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. (This is near the top of my life list)
    42. Lake Baikal, Siberia, to see the deepest lake in the world (1,620 m) with 20 percent of the Earth’s fresh water.
    43. Ayers Rock (known now by the Aboriginal name of Uluru), Australia. This inselberg of nearly vertical Precambrian strata is about 2.5 kilometers long and more than 350 meters high.
    44. Devil’s Tower, northeastern Wyoming, to see a classic example of columnar jointing (I keep missing it).
    45. The Alps (yup)
    46. Telescope Peak, in Death Valley National Park. From this spectacular summit you can look down onto the floor of Death Valley – 11,330 feet below. (nope.)
    47. The Li River, China, to see the fantastic tower karst that appears in much Chinese art (unfortunately not)
    48. The Dalmation Coast of Croatia, to see the original Karst.
    49. The Gorge of Bhagirathi, one of the sacred headwaters of the Ganges, in the Indian Himalayas, where the river flows from an ice tunnel beneath the Gangatori Glacier into a deep gorge.
    50. The Goosenecks of the San Juan River, Utah, an impressive series of entrenched meanders.
    52. Land’s End, Cornwall, Great Britain, for fractured granites that have feldspar crystals bigger than your fist.
    53. Tierra del Fuego, Chile and Argentina, to see the Straights of Magellan and the southernmost tip of South America.
    54. Mount St. Helens, Washington, to see the results of recent explosive volcanism. (yup)
    55. The Giant’s Causeway and the Antrim Plateau, Northern Ireland, to see polygonally fractured basaltic flows. (On my list)
    56. The Great Rift Valley in Africa.
    57. The Matterhorn, along the Swiss/Italian border
    58. The Carolina Bays, along the Carolinian and Georgian coastal plain (I saw them and I still don’t know much about geology)
    59. The Mima Mounds near Olympia, Washington
    60. Siccar Point, Berwickshire, Scotland, where James Hutton observed the classic unconformity 61. The moving rocks of Racetrack Playa in Death Valley
    62. Yosemite Valley
    63. Landscape Arch (or Delicate Arch) in Utah (Also on my list)
    64. The Burgess Shale in British Columbia
    65. The Channeled Scablands of central Washington
    66. Bryce Canyon (spectacular)
    67. Grand Prismatic Spring at Yellowstone
    68. Monument Valley
    69. The San Andreas fault (Yup)
    70. The dinosaur footprints in La Rioja, Spain
    71. The volcanic landscapes of the Canary Islands
    72. The Pyrennees Mountains (Yup)
    73. The Lime Caves at Karamea on the West Coast of New Zealand
    74. Denali
    75. A catastrophic mass wasting event (ahh sounds bad Im with Becca on this one)
    76. The giant crossbeds visible at Zion National Park (yup, though I didn’t know that they were cross beds)
    77. The black or green sand beaches in Hawaii
    78. Barton Springs in Texas
    79. Hells Canyon in Idaho
    80. The Black Canyon of the Gunnison in Colorado
    81. The Tunguska Impact site in Siberia
    82. Feel an earthquake with a magnitude greater than 5.0. (sadly nope)
    83. Find dinosaur footprints in situ
    84. Find a trilobite
    85. Find gold, however small the flake (When I was a kid we went gold mining in SD, I still have the flake) Me too!
    86. Find a meteorite fragment (I’ve never found one, but I have one my brother bought me)
    87. Experience a volcanic ashfall
    88. Experience a sandstorm (Egypt it was kinda horrible)
    89. See a tsunami
    90. Witness a total solar eclipse (I saw one as a kid, I remember making special things so we could look at the sun during the eclipse) me too probally the same one as you
    91. Witness a tornado firsthand (that has nothing to do with rocks) (But I have seen one)
    92. Witness a meteor storm (Many times)
    93. View Saturn and its moons through a respectable telescope. (astronomy class at the observatory)
    94. See the Aurora borealis, otherwise known as the northern lights.
    95. View a great naked-eye comet (Halley Comet when I was a kid)(ditto)
    96. See a lunar eclipse (many times)
    97. View a distant galaxy through a large telescope (Saw them in my Astronomy class, we got to use the big telescope)ditto
    98. Experience a hurricane
    99. See noctilucent clouds (again this has nothing to do with rocks) (you only say that because you haven’t seen it—or else you would complain about 94)
    100. See the green flash

    Not quite 47 but 39.5 out of a hundred bit bad for a non geologist.

    JDH

    • Hey, thanks for your list.
      Just to let you know #4 the KT boundary is when all the dinosaurs died. It’s actually a very thin layer of shale, even most geologist wouldn’t see it if they weren’t looking for it. You’ve probably seen #17. Stromatolites are all over around here. They are rocks that look like they have stripes in them. You often find them with petoskey stones. I’m jealous that you’ve seen lava tubes. You have an impressive list for not being a geologist. It helps that you are a travel enthusiast. I hope everything is going well for you.

  3. Hey sorry the bold didnt transfer to the comment on my copy and paste from word but at least you get the list with comments.

  4. Just want to point out that you saw many of your grological features
    first with ole mom and dad and grandma and grandpa. Remeber who
    used to take you to the quarry to look for rocks to collect!

  5. show-offs!

  6. lol


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