Geology Revision Diary

A Means to an End???

Thursday 12th December 2002

A great shock, as the results were on our online Student Records today; a week early! On every conference there were messages "Results are out", "RESULTS!" and I immediately went into shake mode. And I couldn't load the darned page!! Got there eventually though - and, whoo!! 60% for the exam - and an overall Grade 3 pass.


Tuesday 15th October 2002

I've taken the javascript counter off - because it's BEEN and GONE and OVER!!!!!! Oh, I nearly didn't take it - had around 2 hours sleep and dreadful anxiety and I was SO ANGRY at Wrigleys. I mean, I just wanted to do my best - but they denied me that. Couldn't let them win though, so thought maybe I could just try for the 15% so that I could get in a resit - but, now, I think I *might've* done enough for that magic 40% - I shall be very disappointed if I haven't.

Quick run-down:

Part 1 - the multi-choice questions. I guessed a few - made iffy selections on others - and maybe knew just a couple. But I am not going to look the answers up!

Part 2 - The map was OK - one syncline; one anticline; one fault (which faulted the strata; always foxes me!); one unconformity; one dyke. They left the dots off the NW corner of the map, so I put question marks. Everybody (seems) put question marks - and, apparently, the leaving out of the dots was an overlook, so we will not be penalised (although, surely *correct* geologists should put ?s anyway?). I coloured in my strata! :) The paper was all slippery and I did my history with "youngest" at the top, so by the time I got up there, the ink had splodged all over the blasted place!

The first rock was garnet mica schist. I wasn't sure what it was at first - but then I looked through the hand lens - and there were all those sparkly little red things - and I smiled! :)

The second rock was an oolitic limestone - and that's just what I wrote, together with a rather ill-worded explanation of its formation. It should've most probably been oosparite - but there's squibbles - perhaps I'll get a mark or something.

The fossil scared me when I first loosed him from the bag! Never seen anything like that before! (Though perhaps it was a coral!!!). Then realised that it was a gastropod, cut through the middle. Sneaky!! Did a very nice drawing (I thought so anyway), but not sure whether labelling "whorls" is enough (oh and aperture).

The thin section I messed up. I knew it was olivine; I mean there were all those irregular cracks. But I didn't think the colour was right and I put something else, which totally messed up my "named rock" (which nobody except the person who marks my paper will ever know!). I got igneous right though - and I think the plagioclase feldspar too (hope).

Part 3 Of course I opted for the graphic log question. I could figure it out - it was quite easy, for once! A meandering river system above a strandplain!! "Back for sure" - came in handy! :) But I think I did a terrible job of the answer - that was because I "ran out of time". Why? Because I spent so darn long outlining my plan, that's why! My plan was better than the actual answer - so I hope that perhaps they might look at that and see that I had the right idea! They snuck a question about ECHINOIDS in that one!! And an IRREGULAR one at that!!! I got the micraster - but fogot his feeding habits (mainly because I'd revised the regular pseudodiadema and not the other).

I am still on an adrenaline high, with no prospects of getting down for a while. I have this silly smile on my face. I can't believe (even if I don't pass) that I actually managed to take a level 2 degree examination and make a half decent hash at it. That really does do nice things to the soul! :)

Til the next time .......

Monday 14th October 2002

Oh heck - look at that up there (14 hours and falling). I have, gathered together, the bookmarks, a box of pencils, pens, coloured pencils, felt-tips, grain sizer, magnifiying glass, ruler, rubber, protractor, calculator and a steel needle - but my head is EMPTY!!! I'm battling with the logs, having been battling with everything else all day (although I haven't as much as glanced at Block 3). But the logs have me beat - I can't even tell whether the environment is sand or blasted sea!!! Oh well, I think I'll call it a day; watch a programme on Ch4 (geology!); have a couple drinks and an early night - then will get up early and glance through the fossils and rocks one more time. Be back when it's all over.

Slightly later addition: 14/10/02 20:32:12 They promised they'd turn it off - and it's been off for 4 days - but now, the night before my exam, the BLOODY noise is back and howling. How UNFAIR!!! Just as well forget about sleep.

Sunday 13th October 2002

echinoidick.jpg - 23061 BytesLook what it says up there (currently 1 day 16 minutes 10 seconds to the exam). GOOD! I want to get it over with!!

This 'thing' over on the right is an echinoid (though a present day one - not yet extinct). Isn't he GROSS!! It "walks" over the seabed with those vile spikes, looking like the spider of nightmares. And it has its bum on its back. And I am almost certain that one of those is going to be in that blasted jiffy bag! Ambulacra .... all those little tubercles to draw - and the pairs of pores - not to mention the abnormal genital plate with two pores (what do they mean by abnormal - what IS normal about this creature?) Are those eyes???? ICKKKKKKK!
Friday I felt really sick, so I stopped revising and put away the books. Had a complete rest yesterday and felt quite normal. Today I feel sick again - and I have palpitations!!! I dread to think how I'm going to feel this time tomorrow! I have the Rescue Remedy on the go already! I would like to know how a mollusca gastropoda can be both vagrant and infaunal? How can you tell which is the ventral and which is the dorsal of a bivalve, when its shells are symmetrical?? I feel I'm missing something fundamental there. Arrgghhhh! I can never remember the ammonite! Cepholapoda Anthezoa1 Ammonoidea - oh, that'll do - they'll know I know what I mean!!

I had a go at the quizzes on the CD-ROMS and was quite pleased to get 80/100 in both metamorphism and volcanism and plate tectonics. At the end it said "well done; press the arrow for your certificate". Up popped a java thing with "OK, you are certified", which I guess was the course team's attempt at a little humour - but in bad taste, I reckon - as We All Should Be Certified for taking this course!! What's more, the hub did the selfsame tests and got the same marks - and he's never read a page on any of it!!!!!!

I think we're going to get phyllite, andesite, echinoid (though a different type - an "abnormal" one - one without five-fold symmetry - what's it called? Micraster?? But that one does have five things, so is normal - so will they give us an abnormal one which we don't know?). I think it'll be a map with TWO faults and recumbent asymmetrical anticlines. I think we're going to get a delta in a desert. I think I'm going to forget my name.......

1 that's coral!! (cnidaria anthozoa). Ammonite is mollusca cepholopoda (ammonoidea). See! There is no hope!

Thursday 10th October 2002

To the Noise Goddess
"Thank you ma'am; it's gone away"
"WHAT?" I hear you say
They monitored us last night and have turned the sound down (but can't hear it right now at all) for a couple days (then it'll be the weekend!) and will continue monitoring. AND they've had more complaints. Oh, at last something might be done about this.

So, the revision. Only 2 hours sleep, so quite difficult really. But I was reading "Eyewitness Rocks" at 5.30am and played around with a couple old exam papers. Thought I'd be helpful too and answered a question on the conference, only to realise that I had strata completely the wrong way around. Oh well - I'm past being embarrassed!

Wednesday 9th October 2002

I've been quiet because it hasn't been (quiet) and I'm dead tired and somewhat depressed. I've all but given up on trying to revise properly and have done little in that respect for the past couple of days. But I MUST at least attempt to learn fossils, rocks and environments - and go through all that atom business again. Sounds so simple - not much!!!!! Today I did pose some questions on the conference - regarding faults (was "west" really "left"???) and how the dickens to work out strike/dip recordings. But we are bound to get the "short questions" on anything other than what I've looked into!

The Haiku competition is getting on my nerves. It's not fair at all. Yesterday's winner scanned 5, 8, 8 - what the heck's that? My today's entry (to a picture of a sunset):

None of the winners
Of this compo, it seems
Ever scan haiku

(I am wondering if they'll spot the sneaky "6" between the two "5's"; that could clinch it!)

I prefer (by Bill Oddie)

There's a girl in 3C
with a wart on her knee.
I gave her 3p.
and she showed it to me.
PS - I wonder what she'd do for a quid?"

Rumour has it that the OUGS are selling T-shirts, bearing the slogan

"I'm a geologist - show me your rocks"

Sunday 6th October 2002

study.jpg - 34585 Bytes

Yesterday I had TWO computer viruses to contend with - today I just had those rocks and thin sections!! It was so BORING! However, the hub "tested" me and I only got a couple wrong - so now I know that we will be getting andesite and amphibilote in the exam!! The box to pack the home kit in has now been collected from the garage and patched up with tape and I shall phone the collection people tomorrow. Will be sad to see them go.

What's the difference between a porphyroblast and a phenocryst? Former forms in metamorphic rocks - the other in igneous. Thus porphyritic rhyolite?? (If it were a metamorphic rock containing porphyroblasts it would be porphyroblastic - so why isn't rhyolite phenocrystic or something?? Whose little joke is this?!?!)

The inspirational picture on today is of a dog on a waterfall. My entry:

I've just eaten cheese
It made me feel nauseous
Cake is much nicer!

I don't think that'll win! :) But, here's yesterday's winner:

"the lone wolf....
walking in white snow..
amid the forest mountain top..."

How can you possibly have a poem 3-5-8 and pass it off on a mouse mat as haiku???????

Friday 4th October 2002

Oh, nothing much to report. Lots of inertia has set in - and heck, it's Friday again already and time for a late night and no revision likely for days! (I *do* intend to go one more last time through all the thin sections and rocks before packing up the micro ready to send back next week). All I've done in the last couple days are a couple more (hideous) fossil drawings. Oh well. I indulged in a bit of self-mutilation today too (I cut my hair). No luck with the haiku competition as yet. My yesterday effort was:

Does anybody
from over the sea ever
win the mat, I ask?

but today I couldn't manage to think of anything anywhere near as good! :)

Wednesday 2nd October 2002

Geez, I am SO tired! I wrote Joe Fanous (the enviro man) a very garrulous jibbery email this morning - he will be impressed and sure to close down Wrigley's toute suite!

So, I sat on my bum (getting fatter) going over siliciclastic and carbonate environments ALL day! I do wish I understood it more fully, as it is the creme de la creme of geology - fitting all the bits together, detective-style. (I hope we don't get a delta; really I do).

At least I didn't spend any money today. Failed miserably on the bid I put in for a calculator - and haven't heard back yet from the person who I (on a whim) bought an MC Escher book from. To finish off the day, I entered the Haiku competition on I really fancy a mouse-mat with my poetry on! They showed a brown bear bathing in a pool (for inspiration) - so I wrote:

Big woolly brown bear
Oh so drippy and drooly
How cool to be there!

Off for a couple glasses of soothing liquid! (I already have tomorrow's entry ready! :))

Tuesday 1st October 2002

Revising is very lonely and also very fattening. I've lost count of the number of choccy biscuits and angel slices I've eaten today! Anyway, managed to read through the last two chapters of Block 3 (although I fear it will've been a waste of time) and started to redo the CD-ROM exercises on graphic logs. How on earth are we meant to be able to *see* the fossils (footprints) in picture 3 of the dessert environment library? (right) If there's a way of enlarging those pictures, I haven't found it yet. Be so glad when this is over .........
footprints.jpg - 9925 Bytes

Oh, but this (right) made me smile today (whipped off The Palaeological Association - I'm sure they won't mind! :))


Happy the man whose lot is to know
The secrets of the Earth

Euripides (480-405)


The Origin of Terrestrial Tetrapods
evo.jpg - 21607 Bytes
(copyright - 1996, David Farley)

Monday 30th September 2002

Oh no - didn't touch a thing over the weekend (apart from beer and wine! :)) - too much football and golf to absorb!

Back to it today though *groan*. I attempted to read some of Block 3 again, but it was way too painful - so I decided to type out the summaries; see if that would ring a few bells and sink in. All that sunk in was that I had Completely Not Read The Last Two Chapters!!!

(Fabulous excerpt from 11.1 - it's the last thing I read! :))

Q. What range of strain rates does the Alps event represent?

A. Assume the Alps record a doubling in thickness, from an original thickness t to a new thickness of 2t. This is an extension of (2t - t)/t - t/t = 1, in 10-20 Ma. The strain rate is therefore between 1 per 10 Ma and 1 per 20 Ma. There are about 3 x 1013 seconds in 1 Ma, so in conventional units (s-1), the strain rate ranges between 1.10(3 x 1013)s-1, which is approximately 0.3 x 10 -14s-1, or approximately 0.17 x 1014s-1.

Friday 27th September 2002

fwhat.jpg - 7162 BytesWoke fairly refreshed, despite the continued nocturnal wanderings. Did some crystal structuring today. This is bonded to that which in turn is bonded to 5 of these which are attached to a tetrahedron which is bonded to something else which is attached to 4 of similar which are bonded to a few million orange atoms which twirl themselves into a double helix and have cleavages in every direction and split into sandwiches. Or something. Did God truly make everything? What was He thinking?? I mean, even if He just thought out the basic structures and left the rest to natural selection, He had a pretty wild imagination, huh? And these are just small, pretty insignificant stones that can't think and have no bodily functions!

Anyway, any questions on this are going to be confined to the multi-choice bits in question 1 - but it's best to be prepared. Not that I am - and I am not touching the physics of blasted light! What about birefringences though - they seem to stick something on those in quite often. Thicknesses make no difference; but orientations do. That should do it! :)

Friday. Time for a few bevvies.

Thursday 26th September 2002

Last night I looked more thoroughly through the 2000 past exam. I dunno, perhaps I was tired or something, but it didn't look good. Even the 15% seemed rather a long shot! So went to bed. The *noise* started as soon as I did, of course, and off I went to the little room, with duvet, clock and earplugs. I was quite calm; no swearing. That was worrying in itself.

This morning, the CMA results were posted on the Student Records pages. 65%. Rubbish for a CMA!!! My final coursework mark works out to 64.6% though, and how I would've grasped that when I first started this course! Ah - all is not lost! I then uploaded a couple more maps to the conference and asked some cakey questions!! How inadequate I am? Nah - it doesn't matter! I passed my coursework; how about that! :) And what have I got out of this course? Exactly what I wanted! A huge amount of knowledge on a subject I love - and a whole heap of experience to take forward to future courses! What does it matter about the exam?

I decided to call it a day and to nurse my cold by curling up on the settee with a good book. "Dr Tatiana's Sex Advice to All Creation". Poor male it better to die a virgin or to explode?

Wednesday 25th September 2002


Been doing cross-sections! :) Roped the peeps on the conference to do them too (whether they wanted to or not!). Anyway, I feel more confident in those now, even though I might have to take up the whole 3 hours of the exam to create one!

I woke with a crippled back and the dreadful cold that's been threatening to come out for the last week. A GOOD day though! The noise has gone (hopefully). The man from the Environmental health called. The man from Wrigley's called too, to say that they had found two sources of noise and were taking steps to rectify the problem. (It's still quiet). Was that a coincidence or what?

About all for today. Some progress made - much more to do. Having started though, the gloom has lifted a little.

"And they came at last, to a sea long past,
But as they reached its shore,
The Almighty's breath spoke out in death,
And the Ammonite lived no more!"

"The naulitus and the ammonite" from "Vistis to the Mantellian Museum" by George F Richardson


Tuesday 24th September 2002

The day started so well. I actually slept as the *noise* was absent - the sun was shining - and Paul announced he was going into town for the day. Hooray! Plenty of time for revision then - so, I spent the morning doing other things - like washing my hair and doing piles of laundry. MISTAKE! After lunch, settled down to draw fossils. Before drawing fossils, I had some mineral thin sections to sort out; wouldn't take long. Deep in thought and the hub suddenly appeared at the door with the gasman (to install the gas hob). He could've darned well warned me! To make it worse, like as if I was sat here for my health, I was asked to get a route planner (for the gasman) for Roscoff to the Dordogne. "Where in the Dordogne?" Anywhere (I don't think he knew where it was). Anyway, I settled for Perigeaux (sp?) The internet kept packing up - but, 12 printed pages of my precious ink and paper later - I had his route map for him. Then he said I could've emailed it to him!

I finally got around to the fossils and discovered I couldn't draw them! The *noise* is back too - loud and clear. And the hub is now drilling under the gas hob. I feel like giving up. Why waste three weeks of your life on something that's so hopeless? I think I'll try looking at maps again.

"Learn hence, ye flinty hearted rocks,
Your burthens all to bear,
Lest Jove should fix you in the stocks,
Or toss you in the air."

Excerpt from "Granitogony, or birth of granite" by John Scafe

ech.jpg - 3981 Bytes
one of many failed echinoid drawings."

Monday 23rd September 2002

This is a novel idea of mine, bordering on the desperate! I just cannot get down to revising - there is so much to cover; I don't understand much, don't remember most and I am TIRED! John once said, "the only effect of sleep deprivation is sleepiness. You can keep people awake for days, and the only thing that happens to them is that become very very sleepy." That is so WRONG, Doctor!!!! What about the crankiness and the dizziness and the disorientation? HOW am I meant to revise SCIENCE?!?!
Yes, I am tired. The "noise" started before I went to bed, so I gathered my things and went into the front bedroom. I must admit it's dead cosy sleeping on top of a duvet with another on top of you - and I was off like a light. Then I needed the loo and fell off the bed - and then a blasted fly was buzzing around and woke me up way too early! About 4 hours sleep - good for lately!

The girls on the S260 conference are doing swell. Tina has been creating fossil read-ups and Carol has merged all the course objectives into one big document. Wish I was as industrious! All I have looked at are faults and folds!! OK, after finishing this, I am going to take screen-shots from off the CD-Roms and make into some kind of revision aids. (But that'll take ages!). What I really need is sleep though. Maybe the Environmental Health people will get onto Wrigley's and close them down??? (hehehe!)

23/09/02 22:22:53 - I just finished putting together this - so a pretty productive day after all! :)

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