I might not be the most passionate geologist you’ve ever heard. I’m not the type who happily jumps onto an outcrop and automatically wonders about the strike-dip and curious about the grain size if it’s sandstone. I know some geologists who are ‘that’ passionate and I always have particular indescribable admiration on them. Me? I have to admit that I took geology major because the business has always been good. On my first graduate year, some friends from high school still thought that I went to Fine Art & Design faculty.
However, if somebody asked me, “If you were offered a chance to turn back time and choose other major than geology, would you take it?” I would say no. Studying geology was one of the coolest things that ever happened in my life. I met wonderful strangers who later became my best friends and, later, one of them became my husband. As an indoor person, I was put outside my comfort zone to see the Mother Earth; to see through time, see places, and go beyond that. I simply learned a lot and I’m very grateful about it.
Last weekend I went for field trip from the company to South Kutei. It had been about 5 years since the last time I walked in the river to see the outcrops; quite tiring yet refreshing for me. Refreshing because it reminded me of my years studying field geology and how fun they had been. The field trip was led by Irfan Cibaj, a notable sedimentologist especially in East Kalimantan because he’s been working here for decades. My favorite thing about Pak Irfan is that he often shares philosophy on seeing geology phenomenon; as yin and yang. “It’s a matter of balance,” he always said.
For me, geology is philosophy. It is a deep subject, both literally and figuratively. It never fails to amaze me. When I was studying geology, I wrote this, this and this. Studying Earth is studying nature’s law which is just like human’s life. It is very complex yet very simple; very logical and mysterious at the same time. Mid ocean ridge and subduction zone teach us about life cycle; birth and death. If there’s stress then there would be strain. If there’s horst then there would be graben. How sea-level never stops rising and falling just like there is no glory lasting forever. How distance can shape someone just like grain in sedimentary rocks. How important it is to get the big picture of unlimited beautiful little things; pores, mineral, Foraminifera.
Geology is indeed like our life, you think you know how it works; you think you learned from the past but you will always be surprised.
My personal favorite lesson: keep yourself down to Earth, never stop thinking, never stop learning.
“And it is He who spread the earth and placed therein firmly set mountains and rivers; and from all of the fruits He made therein two mates; He causes the night to cover the day. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.” (13:3)