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People-watchers and party guests, take note: Although often found in the oddest, most remote places (and frequently under rocks), a “geologist” can be easy to identify in the wild — once you know how.

To that end, some intrepid observers of the species have compiled a helpful list of telltale signs (dubbed “How to Spot a Geologist”) and have posted them at the Web site Uncyclopedia (which is something like Wikipedia’s evil twin:

Among other clues, these experts say, keep an eye out for some of the following habits, which are common to the geologist:

  • Someone who only includes people in photos for scale, and has more pictures of his/her rock hammer and lens caps than of family and friends.
  • Someone who owns a pet rock and is not eight years old.
  • Someone who considers a “recent event” to be anything that has happened in the last hundred million years.
  • Someone who wears hiking boots constantly, even for formal functions, and occasionally sandals with (obligatory) socks.
  • Someone who plans extra time on trips to investigate road cuts along the way.
  • Someone stuck on the side of the road without a spare tire — because they removed it to make more room for samples or alcohol.
  • Someone who says, “This will make a nice Christmas gift” while out rock-collecting.
  • Someone who walks into an art museum and looks at the floors and columns, commenting on the stylolites and fossils, rather than looking at the paintings.
  • Someone who can say “Gneiss cleavage” and mean it in a non-derogatory sense.
  • Someone who responds to the question, “Is this box full of rocks?” with “Yes — be careful.”

Carolyn Gramling

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last updated 8/1/08


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