Entry Three: Death by Nomenclature
Quick: tell me what the difference is between a diktytaxitic and hyalopilitic texture? No? Nesophitic vs. Intersertal? ….perhaps? Cumulate vs. Adcumulate? Ok – that was an easy one….
Let me back-up and preface this entry with my admittedly flimsy excuses. I had great undergraduate petrology classes – I remember these terms, I remember doing astonishingly well in my optical (thin sections of rocks) and petrology (just the rocks) classes. However, I realize that I actually am…..further on in my career and have taken a dark path into more geochemical realms.
Why am I bothering you with these terms? Well, in preparation for receiving rocks, the petrology group (rock-studiers for the un-initiated) have been compiling lists of terms that may be needed to describe recovered lavas. The idea behind this exercise is sound. We need to document as accurately and as completely as possible everything that is recovered. Sadly, this has necessitated some hard-core textural revision for this card-carrying isotope geochemist (those that study rock powders with little knowledge of what the rocks actually looked like, and are prone to grandiose statements of petrogenesis [how the rock formed] based on a few, somewhat obscure elemental isotope ratios….see my publication list).
However, I am happy to report that the petrologic shock is quickly wearing off and I am rediscovering the simple joy of rock examination. Funny – I do seem to recall that was the reason I became a geologist in the first place. Even more fortuitous is the great team of (proper) petrologists onboard who have tolerated my presence thus far (i.e. 2 weeks out of 8). Perhaps, with their help, I may even re-gain my petrologic form of youth.
Finally, just because the sunrise shift has the best sky shots – feast your eyes on yet another spectacular daybreak.