Heptune presents...

Songs of Geology and Other Science-Related Jokes and Humor



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1) The Geologist's Come-All-Ye (a folksong) by Brenna Lorenz

Come all ye lads and you will hear
About the life that we love dear,

    Refrain: With our diddle-air-re-oh, falling rock away, knock it down,
                 Fall-di-knock-a-rock-away, me laddie-oh!

Geologists all bold and strong,
We are the subject of this song.

We get up with the rising sun
And map until the day is done.

We walk two hundred miles a day,
And study rocks along the way.

We fight our way through brush and trees
And slog through bog up to our knees.

When flies are thick, then we don't walk,
They carry us from rock to rock.

We swing our hammers with a whack,
Take home an outcrop on our backs.

Nine hundred pounds of rock or more
Is just an average daily score.

If we run out of food to eat
There's always rock beneath our feet.

There's nothing quite like granite stew
'Though graptolites are some good, too.

In the evening to the clubs we flock,
To drink Dominion and Old Stock.

Here's to your health and our health, too,
May your life prove as good to you,
    As our...

2. Sea-Floor Spreading Lament (folksong) by Brenna Lorenz

    Refrain:  Alas for the spreading of the ocean,
                  Alas for the spreading of the sea,
                  Alas for every year that passes by,
                  Taking you two inches more from me!

Oh, why did you leave our native plate,
Causing me to weep and to mourn?
With the plates diverging at such a rate,
To leave me alone and lorn?

If only the mantle would my counsel take,
If the Earth would but listen unto me,
I'd say, "Your convection cell remake,
And bring my darling back to me!"

So dive you down, you ocean dark,
Part of the mantle be-
Fire you up, you island arc -
Subduct my darling back to me!

3) The Marginal Basin Song (melody: Lead us on, thou Heavenly Father) by Chris Stillman

On a margin runs a canyon down into the ocean dark;
There's a basin slowly filling with detritus from the arc.

    Refrain: For the drifting causes rifting,
                Opens basins mighty fine
                Which strike-slip will close in time.

With volcanics there's no problem; they're erupting all the time;
Fill the thin with pillow lavas, sheeted dikes and serpentine.

Rising slowly from the ocean filled with gritties coarse and fine,
Are you fore-arc? Are you anti-arc? Are you just a geosyncline?

4) Newfoundland, My Newfoundland (Oh, Christmas Tree, Oh, Christmas Tree) by Brenna Lorenz

Convection's cell was at thy door, Newfoundland, my Newfoundland,
Thy ancient heart to pieces tore, Newfoundland, my Newfoundland,
Great faulted blocks came crashing down, and flood basalts the land did drown,
And clastics coarse fell all around, Newfoundland, my Newfoundland!

Iapetus began to spread, Newfoundland, my Newfoundland,
Detritus from thy coast was shed, Newfoundland, my Newfoundland,
Thy slope was draped, so proud and great, with massive banks of carbonate,
Grand bank to meet so sad a fate, Newfoundland, my Newfoundland!

For flysch encroaching from the east, Newfoundland, my Newfoundland,
Devoured thy margin like a beast, Newfoundland, my Newfoundland,
The ocean floor was raised on high, its mafic head reared to the sky;
Its chromous threat was drawing nigh, Newfoundland, my Newfoundland!

Your once-proud bank was bowing down, Newfoundland, my Newfoundland,
Subduction did thy margin drown, Newfoundland, my Newfoundland,
The angry mantle did desire to smother thee with ash and fire,
And close Iapetus entire, Newfoundland, my Newfoundland!

The island arc with fiery breath, Newfoundland, my Newfoundland,
Did shower all the land with death, Newfoundland, my Newfoundland,
Until subduction's starving throat, on Grenville crust was made to choke,
The tyrant's rule collision broke, Newfoundland, my Newfoundland!

The land subsided in its pain, Newfoundland, my Newfoundland,
Olistostromes in chaos reigned, Newfoundland, my Newfoundland,
Then in Caradoc time there came a shale everywhere the same
That blanketed thy wounds and shame, Newfoundland, my Newfoundland!

Behold! Upon thy ancient shore, Newfoundland, my Newfoundland,
A landmass was annealed once more, Newfoundland, my Newfoundland,
Alas! Thy trials go on and on, for rifting struck the Avalon -
The cycle must repeat anon, Newfoundland, my Newfoundland!

5) On Geochem Alone I Stand (On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand) by Brenna Lorenz

My theory's build on nothing less
Than geochem and righteousness;
No rocks or strata have I seen,
On isotopes alone I lean.
On isotopes alone I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.

I do my field work with ease,
Collecting samples where I please -
I only look for samples where
There is a road to take me there.
For trees and bogs I cannot stand -
I will not map on sinking sand,
I will not map on sinking sand.

There's nothing so doth please my heart
As data plotted on a chart;
On graphs and figures I propound
My theories brilliant and profound.
Phase diagrams I understand,
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.

No mafic rock is there on Earth
Can hide the secret of its birth;
Where other methods try and fail.
Trace elements alone prevail.
My faith I place in Pearce and Cann,
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.

Tectonicists may laugh at me
And scorn my geochemistry;
My theories all are safe and sound -
The source rocks hidden underground.
My theories on the mantle stand -
Disprove them if you think you can!
Disprove them if you think you can!

6) Graptolites (Melody: Danny Boy) by Brenna Lorenz

Oh, graptolites -
Your stipes, your stipes are calling
From every shale in every ancient land;
Oh, graptolites -
Through dream's dark oceans falling,
Your rhabdosomes with grace in every strand.

Oh, take me back to Cambro-Ordovician days,
With all your youth and glory in full blaze -
You lived to see a mighty ocean wax and wane,
But modern oceans spread for you in vain.

Dendroidea -
Your autothecae smiling,
Through Tremodocian trials they would last -
Dendroidea -
Your bithecae are crying,
For when you fade, alas, they too must pass.

Why did you leave the ocean bottom safe and wide
To drift with plankton on the roving tide?
Oh, Dictyonema, from thy thecal loins emerged
Proud Graptoloids, that from their past diverged.


Ode to Olivine in Thin Section, a poem by Brenna Lorenz

In basalt a lurid green
Bespeaks the savage olivine;
Mantle's child, born of fire,
Restless in the open air,
Little beads of anger bear
The torture of desire.

Silica upon its face
It suffers, helpless, in disgrace,
Its powers of reaction bound
By solid's bond and cage,
In agony confined to rage
Unstable and unsound.

Its birefringent power plays
The sifted light to rare displays;
The haunting, primal colors tell
Of fire and fury's flag unfurled,
Flag of fluid, nether world,
Beneath the fragile shell.


Okay, if you are a real geologist, you probably enjoy transferring geology vocabulary into everyday situations. For example, if you agree with what someone has said, you may say,
    You breccia! or My sediments exactly!
And if you are not pleased with the person's statement, you may resort to the old:
    That's not gneiss! or What a load of schist!

    You can also rename body parts and processes after geological terminology. For example, a glowing avalanche is a hot fart that rolls down your leg searing off all the hairs in its path. An overly ambitious fart results in desert varnish.  And the meanings of hot intrusive body and magma chamber need no explanation. The possibilities for use of the name of the mineral cummingtonite are not fit for a family page...

Why did the geologist take his girlfriend to the quarry? He wanted to get a little boulder.

Check out the Heptune Shop for hilarious science and math t-shirts!


Total immersion geologists: Are you totally obsessed with geology? If so, then you are a total immersion geologist. Here are the ten warning signs:

1) You judge a restaurant by the type of decorative building stone they use rather than their food.
2) You manage to turn any conversation into a discussion of geology, as in:
    "What did you think of that Superbowl game last night?"
    "I must have missed that conference. Who sponsored it? Geological Society of America?"
3) The only thing you notice about attractive members of the opposite sex is the stone in their jewelry.
4) You refuse to let nightfall stop your field excursions and continue looking at the outcrops using the headlights of your field vehicle.
5) You like rock music only because it's called "rock" music.
6) You will try to claw through the water flowing in a stream to get a better look at the bedrock at the base of the channel.
7) You will walk across eight lanes of freeway traffic to see if the outcrop on the other side of the highway is the same type of rock as the side you're parked on.
8) You name your children after rocks and minerals.
9) You're not sure if you have children.
10) You view non-geologists as subhuman.


Are the rivers flowing up the mountain or down the mountain?

Is that the ocean? (Asked while on a field trip to Marine Lab Beach on Guam (a small island in the Pacific)).

How can the river be flowing north? That's uphill!

How can mass wasting be an agent of landscape formation on the Moon? The Moon has no gravity!

How do I get water into this beaker?


The terrestrial planets are much larger than the gas giants.

Wegener found matching bedbugs on opposite sides of the Atlantic.

The main problem associated with limestone aquifers is Lyme disease.

We don't have rock salt on Guam because that forms from from evaporation of oceans and we don't have oceans on Guam.

Erie, Pennsylvania has no volcanoes because it's too cold there.

The most important agent of landscape formation on Guam is greyhounds - they are intelligent.

We know that the sun is much farther away from us than the moon is, because we can see stars between us and the sun, but not between us and the moon.

The rear end of a trilobite is called a trilobutt.


by Brenna Lorenz

Old Man Stokes

Old man Stokes was a gentleman fine
Who lived beside the Raleigh line;
Old anti-Stokes, his existance denied,
Lived never-the-less on the other side.


    With orbitals of sp3
    I want to make a bond with thee,
    Together we, covalently,
    Will translate through eternity!
    Oh, carbon atom, we respond
    With our s orbitals, to bond!

Ode to Pyridine

    Ah, sweet pyridine, thy vagrant scent
    Doth waft up from my testtube, redolent,
    And venture forth, in tendrils of perfume
    To every distant corner of the room.

    No hood on earth is there that can suppress
    The wand'rings of thy cyclic happiness;
    No hood is there that can contain or hide
    Thy aromatic eagerness inside.

    No prof or student, passing through the room,
    Can quite evade the tendrils of thy fume,
    Nor can they, drawing breath, stay unaware,
    That thy six-membered rings pervade the air.

    Come, my sweet amine, no more conspire
    To fill this humble lab of mine entire,
    Instead, let love thy pungency efface
    In some fair Lewis acid's fond embrace.

    Yes, lend her thy electrons, sweet amine,
    That lie outside thy circle, lone and lean,
    And stretch thy bonds in themomotive glee
    In some wild acid's hungry company!


Gold J. of North Carolina
Silver J. of North Carolina
Argon C. of Guam
Florine J. of Tennessee
Clorine J. of Maryland
Benzena J. of South Carolina
Ethyl J. of Ohio
Ether J. of Tennessee
Methyl S. of Maine
Methane M. of Alabama

Proceed to Sizzling Organic Chemistry Dramas!
Proceed to Pagan, Northern Marianas: A Close-Up Look at an Active Volcano
Return to Heptune's Journal of Lore and Levity
Published 12/28/98.
Updated 3/10/01.

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