Respite for Geology - Geology Essay Example

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1525 Words
Date:  2021-04-26

Geology is the science that involves the study of the earth and its composition. It involves the earths physical history, the rocks that the earth is composed of, and the biological, chemical and physical processes that the earth is undergoing (Chapin III, Matson and Vitousek 63). Geology also involves the study of extraterrestrial bodies such as planets, moons, asteroids and comets. Geology is a vital science, and it is useful in mineral exploitation, water resources evaluation, solving environmental problems and comprehending natural hazards and disasters. Stereotyping refers to use of a preconceived notion to describe a group of people. The idea is usually prejudiced and wrong. This paper analyzes the common stereotypes associated with Geology and geologists. Although Geology, like any science, is subject to stereotypes, many people go too far in giving it a biased view.

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Many people think that Geology is merely the study of rocks. Clearly, this is a stereotype. Geology is a very wide branch of science and does not solely involve the study of rocks. The study of rocks is a very important aspect of Geology, but it does not fully define Geology. Geology also involves the study of other planets, changes in earth's climate, the history of the earth and its formation. Geology is also interested in climate change, natural hazards such as landslides and earthquakes, dating techniques, hydrology, tectonics and human activities such as mining. Geology has many branches that cannot be adequately described by the study of rocks.

The minute the term Geology is mentioned, some people think of it as a male-dominated field. Women's role in Geology and science, in general, has always been undermined. There has been evidence of womens participation in Geology since ancient times. For a long time, women have been underrepresented in Geology. However, some of them such as Mary Anning, Florence Bascom, and Lou Henry Hoover have had huge contributions to the Geology field (Pereira 9430). Some colleges in North America have more female students when compared to their male counterparts (Pereira 9430). Pereira states that the number of female Geology students is greater than the number of women in other science fields such as engineering (9432). This means that a good number of women have been joining the discipline, and the number of women in Geology is increasing exponentially.

The stereotype that Geology is a relatively new science is very common although it is a wrong assumption. Geology can be traced back to Theophrastus (372-287) for his On Stones book (cited in Moody, Richard, Christopher J Duffin, and Christopher Gardner-Thorpe 65). During the Roman Empire, works on Pliny detailed many minerals in use at that time. A Persian scholar named Ibn Sina (981-1037) had detailed explanations on key Geology disciplines such as the formation of earthquakes and mountain formation, and a Chinese, Shen Kuo, observed geological strata and fossil shells and developed a hypothesis that land was formed by silt depositions due to the erosion of mountains (Moody et al. 73). It is vivid that Geology is older than most science disciplines such as physics and Chemistry which developed just before the industrial revolution.

Additionally, others view Geology as an easy science. Introductory Geology classes are considered easy and fun compared to other sciences such as physics and Chemistry. In the United States, Rocks for Jocks' is used to refer to introductory Geology class in college. The stereotype is that jocks (football team members) use Geology to attain an easy science credit. In the US, students majoring in arts need to take at least one science class to meet the broad education requirements. Geology 101 is the preferred science course. It is sad that Geology is described as an easy science. Although the introductory class is quite easy compared to Biology 101 or Chemistry 101, further Geology classes are quite challenging. Geology is a wide inter-related discipline and requires several biology and chemistry for an undergraduate degree. It is ironic that one needs to take hard sciences courses to be proficient in an easy.' However, the Rocks for Jocks tag serves as a good recruiter for Geology.

Many people think that Geologists are naturally obsessed with rocks. Geologists are stereotyped as people who enjoy nothing else but the company of rocks. They are seen as people, who spend weekends observing rocks, finding faults and dating soil particles. Jessica Ball, a volcanologist laments how people in the United States think geologists are unapproachable by normal people who are not scientists. She explains that as much being a volcanologist defines a good part of her life; it is not her only part of life. She explains that apart from her work, she cooks, bakes, plays the violin, plays with her cat and she sews and knits (Ball 58). Ball shows she has more interesting aspects of her life rather than Geology. Geologists, like other scientists, enjoy their work but they also have other interests and hobbies which they thoroughly enjoy.

The other stereotype is that Geologists are adventurous. This is not necessarily true. Geology involves a lot of outdoor activities. Collection of rocks and fossils, visiting construction sites, climbing mountains and deep ocean diving are common activities to geologists. If a person enjoys outdoor activities, there is a high probability that he/she will enjoy Geology. However, not all geologists get an opportunity to be this adventurous. A good number of geologists work in offices and academic institutions where opportunities to travel and do field trips are limited. In this case, most of their jobs involve data analysis and studying collected rocks and fossils. It is very important for a geologist to choose a good place to work where they cater for his/her interests.

Additionally, there is an assumption that Geologists have rugged appearances and lack a sense of fashion. It is common to see a geologist working while wearing, a baggy nylon pant, a baggy nylon shirt, safety boots, a hip belt with a pouch and a Brunton compass. A handheld rock hammer is also common. A huge unshaved beard is also common in male geologists. This appearance makes a geologist seem unkempt. This form of clothing enables the geologist to work in a rough terrain comfortably. Baggy clothes are favorable as they protect the geologist from mosquitos, thorns and stinging nettle. Nylon clothes easily dry up in the case of rain or the morning dew. Safety boots protect their feet as they walk through uneven terrain. The pouch acts as storage for the geologists' notebook. The rock hammer is used to break up rocks so that samples can be collected. It should, however, be emphasized that geologists working in offices are always neat as any other office employee. The rugged look is only common in the field.

In the US, movies are important in shaping public opinion. Films and movies also have stereotyped geologists. However, they lack one distinct stereotype for the earth scientists. In most cases, geologists are portrayed as industrious, well-informed and ethical working members of a team. They are down-to-earth people and their roles are mostly outdoor. When featured in destructive plots, they are usually misguided by evil people. Although this portrayal boosts their image, it is still unproved and stereotypical.

Geologists in the United States face a lot of prejudice in their day to day work. Whereas some of the stereotypes are positive, most of them are negative. Geology has been stereotyped as the study of rocks. This paper shows that Geology is a discipline wider than just the study of rocks. Geology is also not a recent science. It is much older than other sciences such as physics and chemistry. Stereotyping of Geology as an easy science is very unfair. Sciences disciplines are interrelated and alienating one over the other does no good. The stereotype that geologists are obsessed with rocks is not correct at all. Geologists are normal human beings, and apart from their jobs, they have hobbies and personal interests. Not all geologists are adventurous. Some geologists prefer working at the office with limited or no field trip opportunities. The stereotyping of geologists as rugged people with no sense of fashion is wrong. While the sense of dress of geologists in the field is comical, it is necessary due to the working conditions. At offices, geologists dress as other office workers. The movies haves stereotyped geologists as hardworking and ethical people. While this stereotyping might be positive, it is necessary to eliminate it in Geology since it gives people false information. No matter how difficult it is. It is, therefore, vital to give respite to Geology and reduce stereotyping for the advancement of this noble science.

Works Cited

Ball, Jessica. "This Is What A Geologist Looks Like - Magma Cum Laude". Magma Cum Laude. N.p., 2012.

Chapin III, F. Stuart, P. A Matson, and Peter Morrison Vitousek. Principles of Terrestrial Ecosystem Ecology. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Springer New York, 2012. Print.

Moody, Richard, Christopher J Duffin, and Christopher Gardner-Thorpe. A History of Geology and Medicine, 31 October-3 November 2011. 1st ed. London: Geological Society, 2011. Print.

Pereira, Dolores. "Improving Female Participation in Professional Engineering Geology to Bring New Perspectives to Ethics in the Geosciences". International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 11.9 (2014): 9429-9445.

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Respite for Geology - Geology Essay Example. (2021, Apr 26). Retrieved from

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