Friday, 11 February 2011

Minor Faulting

The Geological Society of London, has an ‘ask a geologist'; page, which allows members of the public to ask a geologist (As the name suggests) any geological question they like, and will receive an answer – it’s a brilliant idea, 
but it sort of falls in practice:

So, one of the questions asked was:

Q: Why do most peninsulas on the globe point south?  From the southern continents to Scandinavia, Italy, Iberia, all seem to point in a southerly direction.  Is there a geological explanation of this striking fact?

Nice Simple question, one which I can imagine myself being asked, so a nice simple answer? Errr.. not quite.
The answer is straightforward(ish), Godwanaland is introduced with no real introduction and then Gondwana is used instead, while ‘intersecting courses’ was used.... without any real meaning, surely ‘pre-existing fractures’ would be a better term to use, courses could mean water, education or anything else... the article then decides to, with scientific logic break down the writers ideas, which is only going to alienate him, the best teachers are those who engage, not break away.

A further question on the growth of ice on Antarctica:

Yields more curious terms, foraminifera, Pliocene/Quaternary, oscillations in sea level... to a non geologist these don’t mean a lot. So why use them? maybe ‘tiny microscopic sea creatures’ or around 1.8 million years ago....

Or a question on seismicity in London:

Which indicates that earthquakes in the UK are derived from ‘reactivation of ancient structures in response to the current stress regime’; what’s reactivation? And ancient structures? And the current stress regime? Non geologists don’t know these terms (as a quick call to my girlfriend and father confirmed).  Also don’t introduce structures without some more discussion, I know what the North Artois Shear Zone is, because I have an interest in SE English Geology, but even amongst geologist’s its hardly the San-Andreas!

How many times have you been confused by insanely confusing instructions? With terms, you do not understand. Or watched a film from half way through and been confused where these characters keep coming from and why everyone else seems to know what’s going on? That is what this is doing!

Both articles give over the information, but, and it pains me to say this in case of insulting the people who wrote in, but maybe a little simpler manner of writing, use a definition of a word instead of that word, use something people can relate to, not just names geologists know.

Now I must just stop myself, and say – lots of these articles are great and I have cherry-picked  things to moan about, so thank you Geological Society of London (and authors) and please don’t revoke my membership!

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