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     Volume 5 Issue 91 | April 21, 2006 |

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Punny Geology
Say? What was that question now?

1) What did I yell after dropping a rather large crystal right smack on my foot?
a) Amphibole!
b) Diopside!
c) Dolomite!
d) Garnet!

2) Why don't people trust the sheet rock manufacturer?
a) He "quartz" it with toxic chemicals
b) He doesn't "calcite" his sources
c) He's too "dolomite"-y for them
d) He always "gypsum"

3) One structural geologist was known for being really proactive about research, and always published five papers a year, and got lots of grants, and, and... Well, his colleagues always used this phrase to describe him.
a) Graben the bull by the horns
b) In for a pinacoid, out for a pedion
c) One swallow-tail gypsum doesn't make a summer
d) The early bird gets the vermiculite

4) I'll bet you didn't know this, but Shakespeare's Richard III was really a geologist! What did he 'really' run around yelling in the last scene?
a) My kingdom be graben from me!
b) These fools cleavage me from life!
c) Limestone shall I under earth!
d) A horst, a horst, my kingdom for a horst!

5) And did I mention that Hamlet was really into optical mineralogy? He had some trouble at first learning about biaxial and uniaxial indicatrices. Which question does he ponder in his famous monologue?
a) What a piece of work is malachite
b) Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Hematite
c) Get thee to anorthite
d) 2V or not 2V, that is the question

6) What is a diffuse cone of faint light rising obliquely into the sky at either morning or evening twilight?
a) Zodiacal light
b) Aurora borealis
c) Gegenschein
d) Aurora australis

7) What is a faint, diffuse patch of light close to the ecliptic, opposite the Sun called?
a) Aurora
b) Rainbow
c) Flare
d) Gegenschein


1) d
It was dark red and dodecahedral as well. Did I mention that garnet is dense? Actually, conversion of some of the minerals in oceanic crust into garnet is responsible for subducted plates sinking all the way to the core-mantle boundary! So it really would have hurt, that is, if I weren't just making this all up for the purpose of the joke!

2) d
Sheet rock is made mostly out of the mineral gypsum. You can add water and mix it into a slurry, squish it between two boards, and it sets hard. Gypsum itself is a pretty snazzy mineral. It forms when large quantities of seawater evaporate, along with halite (salt) and a fair number of other evaporite minerals. In some places you can find huge chunks of transparent gypsum. In other places, you can find massive gypsum, which is also known as alabaster. The Palace of Knossos on Crete, ca. 1500 BCE, is mostly built out of gypsum, but not in the form of sheet rock!

3) a
That phrase is from Shakespeare -- Hamlet, act III, scene 4, lines 206 and 207: "For 'tis sport to have the engineer/ Hoist with his own petar." Now, back to our regularly scheduled program about grabens. If you want to see some horsts and grabens, you can go to Canyonlands National Park in Utah, USA.

4) d
You see, Richard III was a structural geologist, and his work on horsts and grabens was really more important to him than either his kingdom OR his evil plans! He'd just established that normal (nearly vertical) faulting leaves high-standing blocks of land (horsts) and down-dropped blocks (grabens), and wanted to expand on it a bit.

5) d
Only biaxial minerals have a 2V angle, the angle between the two optic axes. Uniaxial minerals (big surprise) only have one optic axis, so they don't. I suspect confusion over this important point may have caused Hamlet much of his angst.

6) a
The zodiacal light lies along the ecliptic and is caused by reflected sunlight.

7) d
It was first noted by the Danish astronomer Theodor Brorsen in 1854.

Source: Funtrivia.com

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