September 22, 2021

I, Science

The science magazine of Imperial College

When I tell people I am an Earth scientist, I am generally faced with the amused exclamation: “So… you love rocks!” ...


When I tell people I am an Earth scientist, I am generally faced with perplexed faces and the amused exclamation: “So… you love rocks!”

Well, yes, I do! I find rocks fascinating because they have an extraordinary story to tell about our world. From soaring mountains to burning volcanoes, from the confines of the solar system to the core of the Earth, from the top of the atmosphere to the bottom of the ocean and from the ancient pyramids of Giza to the walls of the Roman Coliseum, every single piece of rock has seen billions of years of Earth history unfold and has forged the world we humans live in today.

The natural environment holds a multitude of clues to our planet’s history, and to what lies beneath our feet or above our heads. Geologists work to unravel these clues every day, gaining snippets of information about what the world looked like millions and millions of years ago. This careful detective work is carried out in the field, in the lab, and by running intricate computer models. It takes Earth scientists from the scorching heat of Ethiopia to the barren icy landscapes of Antarctica to collect precious samples for analysis.

In From Hard Rock to Thin Air, I want to share my excitement for Earth Science and illustrate how wide-ranging this field can be. I will discuss both recent discoveries at the forefront of the discipline, and established theories that have particularly thrilled me during my years in geoscience education and research. I will touch on subjects as far apart as planetary science, palaeontology, natural resources, climate change, earthquakes, oceanography and any tasty geo-story I can dig my teeth into!

So welcome to From Hard Rock to Thin Air, I hope that you will enjoy the blog! Next time you pick up a rock, look past the layers of dust and try and imagine what strange and wonderful worlds it has seen…


IMAGE: Guyot Glacier in Alaska, USGS