Archive by category | Geology

Raising Horizons: women in science reframed

Raising Horizons: women in science reframed

Women in geoscience today can be struck by the paucity of their predecessors in the scientific record. This month, an exhibition helps to redress the balance: portraits celebrating 200 years of pioneering work by women archaeologists, palaeontologists and geologists, on display at London’s Geological Society library.  Read more

Werner Herzog gets geological

Werner Herzog gets geological

The film Into the Inferno opens with a grand spectacle. The camera glides up and over tiny figures clustered on the peak of the volcanic island of Ambrym in Vanuatu in the South Pacific. Far below, an ominous lava lake splutters to a bombastic choral soundtrack. There is a sense of ritualistic grandeur here that sets the tone for what follows.  Read more

An artist on Mars: Georgia O’Keeffe

Georgia O'Keeffe, 1918 (platinum print).

Jimson weed, a cow’s skull, bare mountainsides scored by flash floods: revelations of beauty in badlands mark the work of American artist Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986). This is ‘nature’ art from a Modernist sensibility — strong, simplified form shocked into being by a lush palette. O’Keeffe may once have been drawn to the dark hearts of flowers, but she became a desert geek par excellence, in love with geological strata and stripped skeletons in the Martian landscapes of New Mexico. “The bones,” she wrote, “seem to cut sharply to the center of something that is keenly alive on the desert even though it is vast and empty and untouchable”. Much as early nineteenth-century art of the sublime — in tandem with explosive discoveries in geology — shifted Europe’s responses to its own wilderness from repulsion to awe, O’Keeffe taught us to see new worlds in the New World.  Read more

Sculpting deep time

Cloud Fire Head (caramel onyx).

Human culture is bedded in stone — from the 3.3-million-year-old rock tools dug up near Kenya’s Lake Turkana to China’s Great Wall. Spewed out by volcanoes, folded and transformed by pressure and heat, laid down by patient tides and currents, the stone in habitations, palaces, bridges and objects represents an intimate relationship between civilisation and deep time.  Read more

Shedding some light on Chinese geology

Hukou Waterfall on China's Yellow River

UN ‘observances’ or International Years can seem random: 2013, for instance, was the International Year of Water Cooperation — and Quinoa. This year the themes are more fundamental, but as tenuously linked: 2015 is both the International Year of Light  and of Soils.  Read more