Things you should know before befriending a geologist

Us geologists are a special breed. We definitely aren’t like everyone else. So, if you’re thinking about befriending a geologist, there’s probably a few things you should know:

You can’t take us anywhere. Well, you can, but you’ve been forewarned… Geologists are distracted by everything. And when I say everything, I mean rocks. Rocks are everywhere. And we’re very good at finding them. And spending forever looking at them. And talking about them. And boring you with all the details about them. And debating with ourselves and each other about them. So like I said, you can’t take us anywhere.

We collect all the rocks. Okay, so not all the rocks… but definitely MOST of the rocks. When we hike, our packs are heavier coming down than they were going up. When we move, we have boxes of just rocks–so beware of agreeing to help a geologist move… we’ll probably make you carry all the heavy stuff. Every space we can claim as our own is filled with our rocks. Our kitchens, our living rooms, our bedrooms, our offices, and yes likely even our bathrooms play home to at least one of our magnificent rock finds.


Mike (still) rock hunting on the final day of our trek in Nepal

We will make you hike with us. And it won’t be just any kind of hike, it’ll be a geologist hike, which means we’ll make you stop every five seconds to look at rocks or we’ll race you to death up the mountain. We also have perfected the art of hiking in torrential downpour, or damning heat, or snowstorms, or up (and down) scree… and it won’t stop us from babbling away about the rocks or yes, even taking notes on our glorious homemade map boards. And if you dare ask us a question about geology, you’ll have opened a whole rabbit hole of topics that you probably will wish you hadn’t.

We make lame geology jokes. And like them. And think you like them too. Are you cummingtonite? That’s a gneiss schist. Rocks rock… you get the picture. We may roll our eyes when someone resorts the geology pun game, but deep down it makes all warm and fuzzy inside.

We like adult beverages. A lot. It hasn’t been a successful day in the field without some sort of liquid wonder. Beer is a major staple of our diet. We don’t go anywhere without a beer plan. And when we go to Utah, we make sure to stop in Colorado… or Wyoming to get the good beer before we go back to 3.2 land. And yes, some of us are fancier than others, so wine is the adult beverage of choice. However, don’t ever ask a group of geologist to agree on the best kind of liquor because consensus you won’t find (my vote is still gin guys).


We love to talk geology. Seriously. If you ask us a question, we won’t stop talking about it. And we LOVE when people ask us questions… because it lets us show all you “normal” people just how wonderfully smart and insightful we are. But when you bring us concrete and ask us to identify the rock, you should probably cross your fingers that our rock hammer isn’t within reach.

We love to hate bad geology movies. The Core. Dante’s Peak. Journey to the Center of the Earth. San Andreas. We love to hate them all. And we’ll probably make you watch them. And make you listen to us grumble about how horribly inaccurate they are. And we’ll definitely try to teach you everything the right way (whether you asked for it or not).

Field season is our happiest time of the year. Camping, getting dirty, rock hunting, mapping, researching, [working hard and playing hard]… we love all these things. Field season is the time of the year when we get to do all these glorious things. But sorry, we can’t invite you. It’s an exclusive club kind of thing. And for those of us whose fieldwork is a one-time deal or whose fieldwork has already been completed, we just hope and pray that one of our rock loving friends will let us tag along on their own field adventures.

We ALWAYS remember that one time at field camp. You know that time? We have absolutely no shame constantly reminding all you normal folk just how awesome our field camp/field trip/field season experience was. And when our field groups reunite, SO MANY INSIDE JOKES.

And last but not least… We will try to convert you. 


13 thoughts on “Things you should know before befriending a geologist

  1. allthoughtswork says:

    My parents had to enforce a ten pound rule on family camping trips, as in I was only allowed to bring ten pounds of rocks home. Because quartz druse and jaspers.

    Best drinking game ever: watch one of those hideous volcano movies and every time they stretch science to its breaking point, you have to drink. You’ll be hammered before the first explosion. Which will make the rest of the show bearable.

    Also, you are NOT a real rock hound unless you have regularly licked rocks. I mean right in front of your hiking buddies, without warning. You know, to see the color better.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Flop til you drop "FTYD" says:

    I am so happy to have stumbled across this cleverly written post. Some how, you made me want to read about Geologists of all things. Good God almighty. I might even share this post on Facebook. It’s not just your line of work/study. Automation/Robotics engineers and other engineers in general love to talk about technology. Those are the types of men that surround me. My husband studied aerospace. Each group of people have their thing. I hope all your posts are clever and make me want to read/learn about something I found incredibly boring. Maybe because I didn’t have you as a teacher? BTW: My 9 year old daughter, when she was 3-5 (and still sometimes now) – kept bringing home all these darn rocks. DON’T THROW MY ROCKS AWAY… and sea shells. Ugh. She was the one with rocks, pebbles, sand in her pockets. Not my son who is 2 years older than she.


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jaye says:

    Actually, laughing out loud. You forgot to put Volcano on that list of horriawesome movies.
    We just joined our local lapidary club, so we feel like we are surrounded by like minded rock psychos. At one point, I looked round and about 7 different people were in the process of licking rocks. I’ve found my people…!

    Liked by 1 person

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