Geology, also known as ‘geoscience’ or ‘Earth science’, is the study of the structure, evolution and dynamics of the Earth and its natural mineral and energy resources. Geology investigates the processes that have shaped the Earth through its approximately 4600 million year history and uses the rock record to unravel that history1.
To me, it is an endlessly fascinating topic, which most people do not think much about. Most people know about mining and fossil fuels when they see them in the news, but very few people understand the geology behind those resources. However, there are people, broadly termed geologists, whose job it is to better understand the earth, overall, or in the bit their organisation is exploring2.
I got into a discussion with a geologist who worked for an exploration company. In being a geologist, he uses science to find mineral deposits (gold in his case). That science could include such diverse fields as mineralogy, geochemistry, remote sensing (magnetics, gravity etc.), and sundry other fields of geology. This science has been developed over several centuries by thousands upon thousands of geologists, even from before the word ‘geologist’ existed3.
This geologist would have rightly rolled his eyes in disbelief if I told him that he didn’t know what he was talking about and that he should use divining techniques to find gold deposits4. And yet this geologist was convinced that climate scientists, whose science is arguably as old or older than geology5, do not know what they are talking about and their modelling is untested, is based on limited data, blah, blah, blah. He even evoked the ramblings of Ian Plimer, a geologist who now writes lies for the Murdoch drivel-sheet The Australian. Plimer has been the source of derision here before6.
How anyone could believe that Plimer’s opinion on climate science is worthy of even the slightest consideration is beyond me; just as much as taking divining for gold seriously is beyond me. For this geologist to believe Plimer, he must believe one of two things; that climate scientists are incapable and that Plimer is a better climate scientist, or that they are involved in a huge conspiracy, and that a has-been geologist, in the person of Plimer, is the person who has uncovered this conspiracy. Both of these are equally ludicrous. This is a further demonstration, if it was needed, that you should never conflate education with intelligence.