See this piece of core? Imagine you have to describe it to someone.
With most listeners, you’d probably get away with “dull, colourless, a bit broken in the middle”.
But for geologists, that just won’t cut it. This is what one of our core-describers might say:
“A pervasively altered volcanic rock, strongly bleached and replaced by secondary mineral phases (predominantly clay minerals), containing strongly resolved clasts, finely disseminated pyrite, a cross-cutting haloed pyrite/anhydrite vein and aligned vesicles. There are primary plagioclase phenocrysts, pseudomorphed to gypsum and anhydrite.”
And that’s the short version.
Core describers record every detail of what they can see, micro and macro, entering it all into a spreadsheet as they go. And I mean every detail: they’ve got 83 adjectives just to describe grain boundaries, and a whopping 550 distinct terms for microstructure. Depending on what they are describing, the spreadsheet might have up to one hundred columns!
Given our scientists have such a method with words and a such a broad range to choose from, we challenged them to write us poetry which featured their own extensive vocabulary!
The results? Anything but dull, colourless, and broken in the middle!
By Nisselfrim (pseudonym) – Petrophysicist
There is an insistent virulence to the cone.
It playfully bubbles up yellow sulfur globules,
Smears rock fractures with butter yellow sulfur.
Rocks come up from the depths with warnings.
The cores reek of sourness
Skeleton white fractures on black rock shout out:
“All you cations abandon all hope.”
But the sea is old and heavy with elements.
Minerals come out as the sea smothers the cone:
Barite, anhydrite, alunite, kaolinite, pyrophyllite, illite, pyrite and other ites
Quartz and gypsum
Do skeletal remnants of rock ever form under the sea?
Viral existential crisis
By JLV1 (pseudonym) – Microbiologist
In this massive ocean,
I want to be disseminated.
I need to find my rounded,
Colloform. Or is it, coliform?
I want to sharply eject my DNA
With my stinger
And take control.
I want to pseudomorphosize!
Only then will I fracture
Its haloed cell wall
With generations of mine being diffusive,
Filling the void of my existence,
In this massive ocean.
Ode to the 3am Baker aboard the JOIDES Resolution.
By: Dom – Igneous Petrologist
(Lecturer at the University of Wollongong who is also
passionate about baking and all types of food.)
An irregular hour for morning tea, but core-describers descend on
seven freshly-baked treats laid out en echelon.
(Un)controlled, we eat:
warm banana cake studded with coarse choc-chips;
cinnamon swirls laced by icing stringers;
crunchy cookies crusted in granular sugar;
velvety poundcake with jam-filling fractures;
patchy, juicy blueberries amongst delicate sponge;
hot croissants laminated from crisp butter pastry;
a massive pile of cupcakes: plain, chocolate and banana.
Void-filled stomachs, we return to the core-lab.
“10 things I (don’t) hate about you”
By: Aida – Petrophysicist
To Brothers Volcano,
I hate the way you talk to me,
And the way you “fragment” your “core”s.
I hate the way you are “vuggy”,
I hate it when you are “recrystalized”.
I hate your big dumb “upper cone site”
And the way you are “subangular”.
I hate you so much it makes me “sea-sick”,
It even makes me rhyme (or not!).
I hate the way you’re always “unaltered”,
I hate it when you are “brecciated”.
I hate it when you send “core on deck”,
Even worse when it’s empty barrel.
I hate it when you’re not “consolidated”,
And the fact that you don’t give enough core.
But mostly I hate the way I don’t hate you,
Not even close
Not even a little bit,
Not even at all 🙂
Reference: Julia Stiles (1999), “10 things I hate about you”
JR in Vein
By: Jeremy – Structural Geologist
When we arrived on the massive ship, it was clear we had a patchy crew
Our faces were rounded, full of hope and excitement.
We all came to hear the siren’s call of “core on deck” anastomose through the hallowed halls
As time went on, we became sharp and angular with anticipation.
We needed core, we required nourishment or we would wither and recrystallize
Finally, the day came and “core on deck” was heard, reverberated in our lungs, filling our void.
We were no longer fractured, we had become whole, pseudomorphed with core.
After two months aboard, our thoughts were brecciated, concentration vuggy.
We left the ship and returned to our dendritic lives.
Until next time, JR, we will return, your corona will envelop us once more.
An ode to Corona
By: Karen – Volcanologist
Oh Corona, how I miss you!
Your vuggy texture and
the way you diffuse into my body,
disseminate my worries,
fill every vein with happiness
and every void with reason.
My heart brecciates at the thought
that we will be fractured for so long.
But – at the end of this anastomosing expedition –
our uncontrolled reunion
shall pseudomorph the separation,
and recrystallise our friendship for it to last forever.