Top 142 Quotes & Sayings by Famous Geologists

Explore popular quotes by famous geologists.
There can be no real conflict between the two Books of the Great Author. Both are revelations made by Him to man,-the earlier telling of God-made harmonies coming up from the deep past, and rising to their height when man appeared, the later teaching man's relations to his Maker, and speaking of loftier harmonies in the eternal future.
Geology holds the keys of one of the kingdoms of nature; and it cannot be said that a science which extends our Knowledge, and by consequence our Power, over a third part of nature, holds a low place among intellectual employments.
[In geology,] As in history, the material in hand remains silent if no questions are asked. The nature of these questions depends on the "school" to which the geologist belongs and on the objectivity of his investigations. Hans Cloos called this way of interrogation "the dialogue with the earth," "das Gesprach mit der Erde."
The 'global warming scare' is being used as a political tool to increase government control over American lives, incomes and decision making. It has no place in the Society's activities.
The economists all think that if you show up at the cashier's cage with enough currency, God will put more oil in ground. — © Kenneth S. Deffeyes
The economists all think that if you show up at the cashier's cage with enough currency, God will put more oil in ground.
It is very remarkable that while the words Eternal, Eternity, Forever, are constantly in our mouths, and applied without hesitation, we yet experience considerable difficulty in contemplating any definite term which bears a very large proportion to the brief cycles of our petty chronicles. There are many minds that would not for an instant doubt the God of Nature to have existed from all Eternity, and would yet reject as preposterous the idea of going back a million of years in the History of His Works. Yet what is a million, or a million million, of solar revolutions to an Eternity?
Uniformity and Evolution are one.
[Modern science] passed through a long period of uncertainty and inconclusive experiment, but as the instrumental aids to research improved, and the results of observation accumulated, phantoms of the imagination were exorcised, idols of the cave were shattered, trustworthy materials were obtained for logical treatment, and hypotheses by long and careful trial were converted into theories.
The essential thing is not knowledge, but character.
To reduce modern climate change to one variable, CO2, or a small proportion of one variable - human-induced CO2 - is not science. To try to predict the future based on just one variable (CO2) in extraordinarily complex natural systems is folly. Yet when astronomers have the temerity to show that climate is driven by solar activities rather than CO2 emissions, they are dismissed as dinosaurs undertaking the methods of old-fashioned science.
It was during my enchanted days of travel that the idea came to me, which, through the years, has come into my thoughts again and again and always happily-the idea that geology is the music of the earth.
It's dead easy to die; it's the keeping on living that's hard.
If all history is only an amplification of biography, the history of science may be most instructively read in the life and work of the men by whom the realms of Nature have been successively won.
Where oil is first found is in the minds of men
Really new trails are rarely blazed in the great academies. The confining walls of conformist dogma are too dominating. To think originally, you must go forth into the wilderness.
Earthquakes traveling through the interior of the globe are like so many messengers sent out to explore a new land. The messages are constantly coming and seismologists are fast learning to read them.
There will be an enduring role for the 'soft' side of planning. The piece that deals with meaning, identity and ideas. This is the slightly intangible piece that creative agencies hold at their heart.
Much as I admired the elegance of physical theories, which at that time geology wholly lacked, I preferred a life in the woods to one in the laboratory. — © John Tuzo Wilson
Much as I admired the elegance of physical theories, which at that time geology wholly lacked, I preferred a life in the woods to one in the laboratory.
We may observe in some of the abrupt grounds we meet with, sections of great masses of strata, where it is as easy to read the history of the sea, as it is to read the history of Man in the archives of any nation.
Tyrannosaurus is the most superb carnivorous mechanism among the terrestrial Vertebrata, in which raptorial power and speed are combined.
I have often thought how little I should like to have to prove organic evolution in a court of law.
The breaking up of the terrestrial globe, this it is we witness. It doubtless began a long time ago, and the brevity of human life enables us to contemplate it without dismay. It is not only in the great mountain ranges that the traces of this process are found. Great segments of the earth's crust have sunk hundreds, in some cases, even thousands, of feet deep, and not the slightest inequality of the surface remains to indicate the fracture; the different nature of the rocks and the discoveries made in mining alone reveal its presence. Time has levelled all.
The age of the earth was thus increased from a mere score of millions [of years] to a thousand millions and more, and the geologist who had before been bankrupt in time now found himself suddenly transformed into a capitalist with more millions in the bank than he knew how to dispose of ... More cautious people, like myself, too cautious, perhaps, are anxious first of all to make sure that the new [radioactive] clock is not as much too fast as Lord Kelvin's was too slow.
The theory of evolution is impossible. At base, in spirit of appearances, no one any longer believes in it... Evolution is a kind of dogma which the priests no longer believe, but which they maintain for their people.
The science of the earth... invites us to be present at the origin of things, and to enter into the very worship of the Creator.
Ideas without precedent are generally looked upon with disfavor and men are shocked if their conceptions of an orderly world challenged.
It surely can be no offence to state, that the progress of science has led to new views, and that the consequences that can be deduced from the knowledge of a hundred facts may be very different from those deducible from five. It is also possible that the facts first known may be the exceptions to a rule and not the rule itself, and generalisations from these first-known facts, though useful at the time, may be highly mischievous, and impede the progress of the science if retained when it has made some advance.
Knowledge of Nature is an account at bank, where each dividend is added to the principal and the interest is ever compounded; and hence it is that human progress, founded on natural knowledge, advances with ever increasing speed.
Christmas is not just a day, an event to be observed and speedily forgotten. It is a spirit which should permeate every part of our lives.
Anyone who has examined into the history of the theories of earth evolution must have been astounded to observe the manner in which the unique and the difficultly explainable has been made to take the place of the common and the natural in deriving the framework of these theories.
It is a search for a mythical CO2 sink to explain an immeasurable CO2 lifetime to fit a hypothetical CO2 computer model that purports to show that an impossible amount of fossil fuel burning is heating the atmosphere. It is all a fiction.
Just as the spectroscope opened up a new astronomy by enabling the astronomer to determine some of the constituents of which distant stars are composed, so the seismograph, recording the unfelt motion of distant earthquakes, enables us to see into the earth and determine its nature with as great a certainty, up to a certain point, as if we could drive a tunnel through it and take samples of the matter passed through.
The amazing exhibition of oil which has characterized the last twenty years, and will probably characterize the next ten or twenty years, is nevertheless, not only geologically but historically, a temporary and vanishing phenomenon.
A warming of this magnitude would risk the end of civilization as we know it by the end of this century.
The idea of making a fault a subject of study and not an object to be merely determined has been the most important step in the course of my methods of observation. If I have obtained some new results it is to this that I owe it.
I do not believe the greatest threat to our future is from bombs or guided missiles. I don't think our civilization will die that way. I think it will die when we no longer care when the spiritual forces that make us wish to be right and noble die in our hearts.
Time is in itself [not] a difficulty, but a time-rate, assumed on very insufficient grounds, is used as a master-key, whether or not it fits, to unravel all difficulties. What if it were suggested that the brick-built Pyramid of Hawara had been laid brick by brick by a single workman? Given time, this would not be beyond the bounds of possibility. But Nature, like the Pharaohs, had greater forces at her command to do the work better and more expeditiously than is admitted by Uniformitarians.
The fascination of any search after truth lies not in the attainment, which at best is found to be very relative, but in the pursuit, where all the powers of the mind and character are brought into play and are absorbed by the task. One feels oneself in contact with something that is infinite and one finds joy that is beyond expression in sounding the abyss of science and the secrets of the infinite mind.
Morphological information has provided the greatest single source of data in the formulation and development of the theory of evolution and that even now, when the preponderance of work is experimental, the basis for interpretation in many areas of study remains the form and relationships of structures.
The volumes, the surfaces, the lines-in one word, the structures that build a tectonic construction-do not represent the whole picture: there is also the movement that animated and still animates these bodies because the history continues and we live under no particular privileged conditions at any given time in this great process.
In the course of the history of the earth innumerable events have occurred one after another, causing changes of states, all with certain lasting consequences. This is the basis of our developmental law, which, in a nutshell, claims that the diversity of phenomena is a necessary consequence of the accumulation of the results of all individual occurrences happening one after another... The current state of the earth, thus, constitutes the as yet most diverse final result, which of course represents not a real but only a momentary end-point.
The laws of physics and chemistry must be the same in a crucible as in the larger laboratory of Nature. — © Alfred Harker
The laws of physics and chemistry must be the same in a crucible as in the larger laboratory of Nature.
Running out of energy in the long run is not the problem.... The bind comes during the next 10 years: getting over our dependence on crude oil.
At bottom each “exact” science is, and must be speculative, and its chief tool of research, too rarely used with both courage and judgement, is the regulated imagination.
In a sense, the fossil fuels are a onetime gift that lifted us up from subsistence agriculture and eventually should lead us to a future based on renewable resources.
Several indisputable facts appear evident in geological and climate science that make me a true 'denier' of human-caused global warming.
The creationists have this creator who is evil, who is small-minded, who is malevolent, and who is not very bright and can't even get his science right. Creationists have made their creator in their own image, in my view.
Do not expect to be hailed as a hero when you make your great discovery. More likely you will be a ratbag-maybe failed by your examiners. Your statistics, or your observations, or your literature study, or your something else will be patently deficient. Do not doubt that in our enlightened age the really important advances are and will be rejected more often than acclaimed. Nor should we doubt that in our own professional lifetime we too will repudiate with like pontifical finality the most significant insight ever to reach our desk.
With respect to those points, on which the declaration of Scripture is positive and decisive, as, for instance, in asserting the low antiquity of the human race; the evidence of all facts that have yet been established in Geology coincides with the records of Sacred History and Profane Tradition to confirm the conclusion that the existence of mankind can on no account be supposed to have taken its beginning before that time which is assigned to it in the Mosaic writings.
It might be helpful to realize, that very probably the parents of the first native born Martians are alive today.
This much is certain... No initiative put in place starting today can have a substantial effect on the peak production year. No Caspian Sea exploration, no drilling in the South China Sea, no SUV replacements, no renewable energy projects can be brought on at a sufficient rate to avoid a bidding war for the remaining oil.
Geologists have usually had recourse for the explanation of these changes to the supposition of sundry violent and extraordinary catastrophes, cataclysms, or general revolutions having occurred in the physical state of the earth's surface.
The profoundest facts in the earth's history prove that the oceans have always been oceans. — © James Dwight Dana
The profoundest facts in the earth's history prove that the oceans have always been oceans.
No conclusion is more fully established, than the important fact of the total absence of any vestiges of the human species throughout the entire series of geological formations.
One: There is a low limit of weight [of about] 50 pounds beyond which it is impossible for an animal to fly. Two: The animal machine is far more effective than any we can hope to make. Three: The weight of any machine constructed for flying, including fuel and engineer, cannot be less than three or four hundred pounds. Is it not demonstrated that a true flying machine, self-raising, self-sustaining, self-propelling, is physically impossible?
Mr Hall's hypothesis has its cause for subsidence, but none for the lifting of the thickened sunken crust into mountains. It is a theory for the origin of mountains, with the origin of mountains left out.
Darwin was a biological evolutionist, because he was first a uniformitarian geologist. Biology is pre-eminent to-day among the natural sciences, because its younger sister, Geology, gave it the means.
The climate stubbornly refuses to co-operate with computer models and the writers of alarmist popular articles and books.
The earth is large and old enough to teach us modesty.
We cannot see how the evidence afforded by the unquestioned progressive development of organised existence-crowned as it has been by the recent creation of the earth's greatest wonder, MAN, can be set aside, or its seemingly necessary result withheld for a moment. When Mr. Lyell finds, as a witty friend lately reported that there had been found, a silver-spoon in grauwacke, or a locomotive engine in mica-schist, then, but not sooner, shall we enrol ourselves disciples of the Cyclical Theory of Geological formations.
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