Thursday, 26 July 2012

Geology rocks!

Cheddar Gorge
Cheddar GorgeI was exposed to a lot of "Flood Geology" as a teenager and one of the things that always really struck me about real geology (as I alluded to in a previous post) is how much more sense it makes. What's more, the more I visit places with interesting geological features - such as Cheddar Gorge (above & right), which we visited last week, the more true this becomes. When I see the scale of the strata, the deformations of the land, the different shapes of valleys caused by rivers versus glaciers, the stratification (and thickness) of fossil deposits etc. etc., my mind just boggles how anyone can reject the scientific explanation of these things in favour of some desperate smoke-and-mirrors attempt to validate a particular myth from a particular culture as a literal truth despite the literal mountains of evidence to the contrary.

One thing that I don't think I really appreciated until more recently, however, is just how varied and beautiful rocks can be. A great example of this is the Corsi Collection of Decorative Stones at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. (The posts about this museum will keep coming!) The collection features 1,000 polished blocks of different decorative stones. I can't say that they are all different to my untrained eye but the OUMNH website has a great feature where you can browse all 1,000 and see for yourself!

Corsi stones
The decorative stones in the museum do not end there, though. Although it is not too clear from this picture, the pillars around the outside of the main gallery are also made from different stones. In a really nice feature, each column has an inscription at the base saying what it is and where it came from - as with the fossils, many of them seem to be locally sourced.

Combined with the recent Giant's Causeway fiasco and the development of MapTime for visualising Deep Time, I am increasingly interested to find out more when time allows. Geology: it's interesting stuff!

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