Geology is a terrifying science

Jonathan Janasik, Commentary
February 21, 2013
Filed under Opinion

I woke up this morning in a cold sweat. My body was trembling in fear and agony. A steamy colored liquid seemed to be running down my pant leg. I was having those nightmares again. I was dreaming about geology.

Geology is the study of the Earth. I know this because I major in geology.  You may be asking why somebody who studies geology would be afraid of it. The truth is that you never get used to the gruesome facts that this department throws at you. I’ve seen shit that you wouldn’t believe.

Think about horror movies for a second. In Nightmare on Elm Street, Freddy haunts people’s dreams. If you wake up, you’re okay. Now think about Friday the 13th, you’ve got Jason Voorhees. He stabs your face when you’re awake, but at least you have your dreams! Geology is like if these two somehow had a baby. You have to admit it’s fascinating, but you’re gonna be bummed when it kills your dreams and your face.

That’s right, geology killed my dreams. You see, when I was I child, dinosaurs were the coolest. They taught me everything I know. I had dinosaur books about colors, number, letters, dinosaurs even taught me about divorce. Dinosaurs were badass, omniscient, omnipotent, big, and sexy. Simply put, dinosaurs were B.O.O.B.S. Everybody likes B.O.O.B.S.

Except for the geology department, apparently. My Earth History professor had the audacity to tell me that geologists recently found a T-Rex fossil that was covered in feathers.  The most badass creature that ever lived on Earth was apparently born wearing feathers. What are they going to tell me next? That Santa’s not real? That President Norton is just a fictional character that our parents use to personify the spirit of Slippery Rock to their children?

Nobody wants to believe that dinosaurs are like birds. Nobody even likes birds! I personally cannot stand to think about my childhood hero being emasculated in such a way. If you don’t understand how I feel, try imagining your hero covered in feathers. It’s just not something you can live with.

If that doesn’t ruin your mental state, don’t worry. Geology has more tricks up its sleeve. Numerous classes in the geology department constantly have you refer to the geologic time scale, which is the most depressing time scale that you’ve ever seen.  You can think of it as the entire history of the world from its formation to the present time.

On first viewing, you might not think that it looks so bad. At the very least, it has a pleasant color scheme! But when you really start to think about it, everything sinks in. The world is almost 4.6 billion years old. Humans have been around for two hundred thousand years. The average American lives to be 80 years old. Do you feel small? Good! Geology likes it when you feel small!

Much like any good horror film, there is always that faceless villain. That unkillable threat that’s never too far away. In geology, that villain is tectonic plates. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the idea of plate tectonics, I’ll give you a quick run through. The Earth’s surface is split up into about eight major gigantic slabs of rock. These slabs of rocks are called tectonic plates, and they are constantly moving into and away from one another. You’ve probably heard that the continents used to all be connected to one another, tectonic plate movement is why that happened.

I know that doesn’t sound very scary. But as a science student, I’ve been studying these huge rocks for three years, and I think I have a shocking theory. A theory that the geology department is trying to hide from the rest of the world.

My hypothesis: These tectonic plates are alive, and hungry. Hungry for blood. Think about it, have you ever seen a normal rock move by itself? If you have, you should probably see a doctor. Usually things don’t move unless they’re alive.

You’re probably asking me what makes me think that they’re hungry for blood.  Simple, we know that they’re violent because they bump into each other. And when two plates bump into each other, one of the plates is forced underneath of the other one. The plate pretty much eats the other one, and I believe that’s called cannibalism.

Frequently after one plate is pushed under another, mountains are formed. Geologists like to call this event an “orogeny”. I like to call it “pitching a tent”. So not only do these plates like to attack one another, they also get boners while doing it. We are living on top of giant, violent, masochistic rocks. If that isn’t terrifying, I don’t know what is.

So why are the tectonic plates in cahoots with the geology department? I can only assume that the department likes the rocks because it gives them secrets to keep. Everybody likes secrets. The rocks like the geology department because the geology department pays attention to them.  Everybody likes attention.

This is a call to all students. Geology is terrifying. But just because something is scary doesn’t mean that we have to run from it. Take a geology class, learn the department’s secrets, and tell everybody. The truth must be heard before it’s too late. Before the tectonic plates turn on us.

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