The future of Geoscience

A few decades ago we found stiff competition between the Americans and the Russians, as is always the case, with regards to drilling. The result was the Kola super deep well which extended 12 kilometres into the crust and has been recorded as the deepest artificial point on the earth. Extensive geological and geophysical studies were completed and knowledge of the subsurface at great depth was gained. This facility has unfortunately closed, but very recently a well of approximately 12 kilometres was also drilled into the Shaheen oil field in Qatar. Is there a resurgence of deep drilling? Will we find more work into the core in the future? Within this train of thought comes a substantial amount of work which relates to the mantle and transitions zones between magma and crust. The drilling at depth was motivated by the discovery of the Mohorovicic discontinuity and possible study thereof. Due to the inability to reach this transition zone an extensive amount of theoretical and non

History of Geoscience

Recently at a major German Research facility a talk relating to the micro-, meso- and macro- scales of research in Earth Science was delivered. It was interesting to note how we, as geoscientists, are integrating multiple tools in order to better understand the world around us and thus in turn improve society as a whole. Possible future projects were also outlined and these delved into the unknown. The real personal question which arose is: Where did all of this thinking originate? In order to properly understand geoscience one has to delve into the past and see where the thinking originates from, how it has developed and consequently what has moulded our thinking. It is critical to note that great geoscientists of the past were not necessarily geoscientists by classification and looked at problems from a holistic viewpoint. These great minds were keen observers, thinkers and in many cases philosophers and mathematicians with an interest in the world around them. The Pyramids

Random Selection

Being the only person chosen on every airport you visit for a full body search is not the definition of random selection. When you are told that the search is random yet you are the only person it happens to every single time also does not help. To further aid your cause, you are told not to smile for every photo in an official document so that you look like you are a member of ISIS. This must be the reason for your random selection. A wise man once said “It is nice to be important, but it is more important to be nice.” In line with this people only remember how you made them feel. And every European Airport security official has made me feel like a terrorist. Similar emotions resonate when you are the only person of colour in your workplace in a particular position of power or specific level of income. This could possibly be as a consequence of our history as a country and one is made to feel that you do not belong. In these situations one has to remember the quote by Eleanor Ro

www dot

www dot www dot. No it is not a website address for a 9 gag type site or even the latest geological        software/books/techniques. It is three of the w’s which many of the hydrogeologists are passionate about. These are water, obviously, waqf, which is the Islamic term for sustainable development and the third w could be your wife or work, either way you are married to both. Some academics lost their wives due to loving their work, but that is not a topic we will delve into....yet. The father of hydrogeology, not Moses because he struck a rock and water came spilling out of it, but the Frenchman Henry Darcy could be thanked for the science we have today. Hydrogeology is a mere 150 odd years old, which truly makes it an infant in comparison to other sciences. We see great works penned by research scientists like Jacob Baer, which push the boundaries of porous media as a science. It shows that the limits of knowledge are unknown and we do not know what groundwater has in stor

The gravity of the situation

Who would have thought that after the discovery of gravity, just like Columbus discovered America even though people already inhabited the continent, we would be applying the principal in the realm of the hydrological sciences. The fundamental change in mass movement in the subsurface alludes to the total water storage change and in turn has an impact on the water balance of a catchment/basin/aquifer/soil body. When one delves into the literature regarding the topic of gravity, we find that it has evolved as a research topic mainly covered by geomatics professionals in the past, to an area of interest for hydrologists today. Classical geophysical literature also highlights applications to prospecting for ore bodies, but that is of no interest to people studying advanced courses in plumbing. I mention this due to the fact that I have received phone calls to fix geysers of people I know who thought I studied plumbing instead of hydrogeology. I still fail to understand this link, bu

Global fooling...I mean cooling

Ever since a former American president released a movie on inconvenient truths and another film maker created a piece of art related to perceptions related to shale gas it seems as if everybody is now aware of the problems we face in terms of preserving the environment. On a local scale we see great concern stemming from the environmentalists in the Karoo. A professor of mine said that we should separate environmentalists from environmental scientists and let the data speak and not some naked person running around with a placard saying “stop fracking with the Karoo”. Recent work suggests that climate change is cyclical and has occurred over the past few millions of years at various points in time. Furthermore the research does point to exacerbation of global warming due to the excessive amounts of greenhouse gases emitted by anthropogenic activities. There are multiple arguments floating around in the scientific arena related to the subject matter. Some even argue that there is n

Big data and white lies

No this is not the title for the next generation James Bond movie, where he fights crime from the comfort of his armchair on his Macbook. That would be extremely boring and Aston Martin would not sell as many cars. It is however a question we need to think about in an era where we have all of this data, but no information, knowledge or wisdom. One could also argue we have all of these degrees, but no common sense. We live in an era of smartphones and Dumb people is what they say. A time where we sit around a dinner table and each one of us is staring at a screen a few inches wide with not a single word spoken and limited human interaction. Is this what these devices have brought us to? A generation with little or no social skills who update their statuses every 5 minutes and have more selfies on their phones than photos of anything else. Before the era of big data and data science we were just a bunch of scientists using supercomputers to process data and try and understand what t