Blog

Who discovered Australia?

As a 10-year-old in 1953, I migrated with my family to South Australia, and settled in to one of the fast-growing outer suburbs of Adelaide that were being rapidly built at that time to accommodate the post-war influx of migrants. I enrolled for the new term at […]

Read more
The ninety seven percent solution

The Problem Climate Change (CC) dominates today’s environmental concerns. We are daily bombarded with the message that it will lead to future catastrophe for humanity, if not for the planet. Human emissions of greenhouse gasses are the primary cause and only drastic societal change will enable us […]

Read more
Geologists Wobble and the fractal nature of rocks

Geologists’ wobble and the fractal nature of rocks Here’s the thing You know what Australia looks like. You would recognise it on a map: its general shape, the peninsulas, the great gulfs. You could draw it from memory, probably, and if you did, it might look something […]

Read more
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Exeter

Early one summer’s evening in Exeter, having just dropped off a friend for his train at St David’s Station, I am returning to my car when I am hailed by an old acquaintance, Jack. Jack greets me effusively: Hi there. I’m glad I saw you. I  just […]

Read more
The Camera and the Interrogator

The camera and the interrogator Speak to exploration geologists and you will find two opposing views about what a geologist should do when observing outcrop or drill core in the field.  Some seek merely to be unbiased objective recorders of what they see.  Others observe the rock […]

Read more
The Great Pandemic of 1889-1890

The Great Pandemic of 1889-1890 In the Northern winter of 1889 -1890, one of the deadliest pandemics since the Black Death of 14th Century swept the world. Our forebears called it the Russian Flu.  Where the Black Death took three years to spread from Constantinople to England, […]

Read more
The Copper Wars of Butte and the Invention of Underground Geological Mapping

The Copper Wars, called by some the Battle of Butte, took place from 1898 to 1906 between the Anaconda Copper Company and companies owned by Fredrick Augustus Heinze. One of the minor but significant players these wars was young Anaconda geologist Reno Sales (1876-1969).  In his eighties, […]

Read more
The definition of a geological fault and why most dictionaries get it wrong.

The definition of a geological fault, and why most dictionaries get it wrong One of the most important structures for any mineral explorer to understand are faults. What, exactly, is a fault? To geologists the answer seems so obvious that few of them (even the writers of many […]

Read more
The fashion for fact checking

The fashion for fact checking I’m preachin’ dis sermon to show It ain’t nessa, ain’t nessa ain’t nessa, ain’t nessa Ain’t necessarily so!     (Porgy and Bess, 1935. Lyrics by Ira Gershwin) “Fact” and “Truth” are abstract ideals that you can seek, but never be certain to […]

Read more
The Unravelling of Science

THE  UNRAVELLING OF SCIENCE “Facts no longer made contact with the theory, which had risen above the facts on clouds of nonsense, rather like in a theological system. The point was not to believe the theory but to repeat it ritualistically and in such a way that […]

Read more