Geologists Day takes place on the first Sunday in April every year. Finally, a day dedicated to a woefully underrated science. Without geologists, we would know nothing about the history of the earth. Earth is over 4.5 billion years old. The ground we walk on is ever-changing, always moving. Who can tell us that for certain? Geologists. Geology is a science that studies the materials, natural features, and processes found on earth. It also studies the history of all life that’s ever lived — from the time of the dinosaurs till date. Pretty incredible, right? The first Geologists Day was established by scientists in the former Soviet Union in April 1966.
HISTORY OF GEOLOGISTS DAY
Aristotle was one of the first known thinkers to make detailed observations about how the world worked. Following his footsteps, several philosophers and scientists began to dig deeper into the earth’s physical features. Eventually, the Romans learned how to mine rocks — particularly marble. Mining would literally and metaphorically build the foundations of the Roman Empire.
A new branch of study emerged during the 17th century when scientists turned to fossils to understand the earth’s history and evolution. Fossils provided new insights into the age of the earth. The debates around this concept intensified, especially between creationists and scientists. Theology said the earth was 6,000 years old. From observing fossils, scientists posited our planet was much older.
In the 19th century, geology, as we know it today, found firm ground. Scientist James Hutton proved that rocks were formed by two main processes: some because of sedimentation and others through volcanic processes. His study demonstrated that these geological activities occur slowly over thousands of years. Essentially, the present holds answers to the past. The ground we walk on today resulted from these changes and will continue to evolve long after. Hutton is called the ‘Father of Modern Geology’ for his pioneering research and discoveries.
Geology witnessed several leaps in the early 1900s with a theory called ‘Continental Drift’ by Alfred Wegener. The scientist suggested that all continents were once a supercontinent called ‘Pangaea’. Over a million years, ‘Pangaea’ broke into different pieces that drifted away from each other — taking their positions as we now know them. Today, the theory has been replaced by the science of ‘plate tectonics’ instead.
Eminent Soviet geologists established Geologists Day in April 1966. The day’s popularity ultimately crossed the borders of the former Soviet Union. Today we thank them for all their incredible research to deepen our understanding of how the world works. We hope it inspires the next generation of super geologists in the making.