Writing a Report on Rocks – Update #7

Oftentimes when I tell a friend or family member that I study geology, their first response is, “oh, so you look at rocks all day”. As much as I hate to admit it, the answer is yes, I do look at rocks all day. But I’m not just looking at individual rocks and making broad claims about them, I look at their regional context, their metamorphic grade, their mineralogy, and their composition in relation to everything else I’ve observed. Looking at rocks all day can help explain why the surface looks the way it does; why there’s a mountain in the distance and ridges in the foreground.

None of that information is useful without being able to communicate what we learn to other geologists. As much as some might hate to accept it, geology is a science and your processes must be repeatable. Publishing anything without the ability to repeat results can be a stain on any scientist’s career. Subsequently, writing about rocks must be technical, clear, and much like other science writing. I need to be thorough in describing how I acquired samples and the processes I employed to obtain information.

The task before me is to do just that. As the summer winds down, I will formally write down what I have done, how I’ve done it, and my results. I will develop a stratigraphic profile and area summary. This will all, of course, be a prelude to my senior honors thesis, but these are the critical first steps! Thanks for keeping up with me and the Gladstone Gladiators over a great summer.

Comments

  1. sdevignierawad says:

    I think the job you do defending the field that you are planning to spend your life studying is commendable, and I appreciate that you are proud of the real-world impact that your work can have on everyone who currently lives on Earth (which, by my tally, is all humans sans six people currently living in space). I think what was especially effective in this post was your comparisons of the geological scientific process to the rules and guidelines that all scientists must adhere to, regardless of field of study. You have done a great job of addressing what work lies ahead, not allowing the labor in the past to affect your pursuit of a complete report. Congratulations on wrapping up the Monroe portion of your study, I hope the honors thesis goes well!

    -Sam

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