Thursday, May 15, 2008

Another oldie but goodie...

I promised Tuff Cookie over at http://magmacumlaude.blogspot.com/ that I would post some text from my 1914 Handbook for Field Geologists by C.W. Hayes, Ph.D. (a former Chief Geologist at USGS)*. It's a second edition, the first being published in 1909 (?).

Some of my favorite selections come from the first chapter of the book, "Pre-requisites for a Field Geologist." Take this one:

"The first qualification is a good physique and a strong constitution, for sooner or later severe and long-continued physical exertion will be required, and a defect in ability to sustain this exertion will result in serious handicap [ADA was clearly not an issue then]. The second is adaptability. Few occupations present so wide a diversity in conditions under which work must be carried on as that of the field geologist. His [no her yet] surroundings may vary all the way from the luxuries of a summer resort hotel to the bare necessities which he can pack on his back, and he must be able to adapt himself with equal readiness to either extreme. If one cannot so adapt himself, but is dependent on any particular kind of surroundings, he should abandon the idea of becoming a field geologist, for he will find the occupation extremely unsatisfactory. A geologist must possess a practical knowledge of horsemanship, of boating, and of general woodcraft, so that he will equally be at home in the saddle, in the canoe, or on foot in a trackless forest. One is fortunate who has already acquired this practical knowledge, but if he does not possess it he must be sure that he has an aptitude for acquiring it quickly."

There are actually few geologists I know who have and regularly use horsemanship skills in the course of their field work (I've only known a few who needed pack animals and a muleskinner usually came with the mules/ponies/horses/burros - my grandfather needed dog-sledding, fishing, and hunting skills for his gold-mining in Alaska). Besides that and a little gender-bias, his words remain fairly true. At least a couple of profs I've known over the years have wanted to instill this understanding in their field-oriented students. More to come...

*Hayes, C.W., Handbook for Field Geologists, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York 1914.

2 comments:

hypocentre said...

I believe that geologists working for the British Geological Survey can still claim a hay allowance for their horse - it is paid in hay though.

Anonymous said...

This is precisely why I want to be a field geologist :)