Hi, I’m Hazel Gibson, a PhD researcher from Plymouth University, who is interested in what people think about geology and how that affects how we as geoscientists communicate it. During July I was up at the British Geological Survey speaking to the scientists about their work, what makes them passionate about it and why they think it’s important to us. The following is a series of short 'people posts' about the real faces behind the BGS.
Dr Caroline Graham is not your average geologist. For a start she spent most of her early career listening to rock music, but this isn’t the heavy metal kind, more the percussive sequence of low frequency sounds that a rock makes when it is forced to break under extreme pressure! In fact here at the British Geological Survey Caroline is described as the rock (star) physicist – kind of like the other one, but better because there are rocks. Caroline, you see, is a Geomechanics Specialist, someone who knows the way rocks break apart and why better than almost anyone else. Throughout her career she has been interested in lots of different aspects of how rocks break, from earthquakes to collapsing mine shafts. In fact if her career was album, it would probably be called ‘All about the fractures’.
|Caroline in a Salt Mine.|
Caroline is also dedicated to talking about her science. She has made a number of videos for the BGS (see below and on YouTube), but finds the issues of language one of the biggest hurdles that we have to overcome as geologists – and she is not talking about jargon. “There is a big difference between prediction and forecasting” she says. And she has a point; the Met Office forecasts the weather all the time and we know that includes a degree of uncertainty. However geologists are often asked to predict things and that is much harder – a prediction suggest that you KNOW what is going to happen – but that is impossible. One thing though is for sure, we can forecast a bright future for this ground breaking Geomechanic.