16 July 2013

Signs you may be a geologist (Accretionary Wedge #58)

Posted by Jessica Ball

Geologists see this one a lot, but it usually isn't so polite! (Big Bend, TX)

Geologists see this one a lot, but it usually isn’t so polite! (Big Bend, TX)

I don’t get out for field work much anymore (in fact my entire summer has been reserved for thesis writing – grr!), but Evelyn’s call for the July Accretionary Wedge is a good chance for me to look back on past field trips and reminisce. Geologists come across a lot of signs when they do field work, and volcanologists in particular get some doozies. I had a hard time deciding on just one, so I’ve got several offerings for the Wedge, all of them from the two trips I’ve taken to Hawaii in 2006 and 2007. The Big Island of Hawaii is an excellent place for volcano-related signs – several of these are very popular and will probably show up in everyone’s photos at some point.


Unless you’re fond of getting a face-full of nasty sulfur gases, this is a good one to pay attention to. (Especially since some of those gases can be deadly!) Kilauea Crater, HI

I mean, who doesn’t love the “Invisible Cow” sign on Mauna Kea? It even comes in a bumper sticker so you can take one home with you. (I have not actually seen one of these fabled invisible cows, but I’m assured by the rangers that they can be a pain.)


You’d have a hard time driving fast on that road anyway, to be honest.

This one, which sits at the end of the Chain of Craters Road before you get to the active flows near the Kilauea Ocean entry, is probably my favorite. It’s very forceful, and the diagrams are great. Not to mention the great big hole at the top…


I still maintain that the rangers shoved this thing into a lava flow to create the damage at the top. (My undergrad advisor pointing out a bad way to go swimming at the Kilauea ocean entry, HI.)

Everyone, and I mean everyone, has this photo. It’s still hilarious. (I wonder how many people we can get to submit it?)


Most accurate No Parking sign ever. Although a lot of geologists would take this as a challenge…

As volcanologists, occasionally we get to go places that are closed off to most people. This was a photo from my second trip to Hawaii, where UH Hilo’s volcanology field course was able to arrange to go along with USGS scientists to check on monitoring equipment during the “Harry Potter” eruption in July 2007.


On the trail to Pu’u O’o, Kilauea, HI.

But not all great signs in Hawaii are geological. So, to round out the collection, I have a couple of photos from the Punalu’u black sand beach. The beach itself is fabulous – who doesn’t love black sand and sea turtles? However, someone decided that people just weren’t paying attention to the rules…

Talk about overkill.

Talk about overkill.

I should note that there were many (stray) dogs and cats accompanying the turtles, the parking lot lights didn’t appear to work at all that day, and at least one family had put up decorations on a pavilion for someone’s birthday. But no one bothered the turtles.

They're serious about the turtles!

Those turtles had the right idea…