Shelf Stacking and Twitterstorm Surges

Every so often things prove that us geologists are like the very processes we study – stack the weight of too many things atop the proverbial continental shelf and you might just generate a landslide and corresponding surge of the ocean lashing back against the shore.

In this case, we geologists are the water in that ocean, and Tory politican Iain Duncan-Smith is the man on the shore, adding the final load to the shelf in the form of some ill-advised and acerbic comments on one geology graduate’s real shelf-stacking activities.

Of Cait Reilly’s workfare experience in Poundland, he said;

“Who is more important – the geologist, or the person who stacked the shelves?”

It’s obvious he’s just saying this in an attempt to garner as much support as he can for his controversial welfare overhaul plans. And regardless of how much he knows about geology, he’s betting on those who receive his rhetoric not knowing very much at all.

So he said his piece, and the geological community saw the opportunity to reach a mainstream audience, and proceeded to hit IDS with a barrage of information about what it is that geologists do. We raised the tide with this one, inundating a shore filled with a lot more than just one paltry politician: all the non-geologists that through no fault of their own never usually give geology a second thought, all the people IDS is trying to play off with divisive word games.

I think this is a very positive thing indeed, because if we don’t define ourselves, who will? And what I really liked was the fact that we formed lively and animated responses, demonstrating that geoscience is anything but dull, and geologists are more than able to shout and have fun and show emotion like the rest of those on social networks. We’re a passionate and spirited bunch, and what better an advert for such a great science?