For those of you who don't get enough geology in Gary Larson's Far Side daily calendars, a solution is at hand. Dick Gibson has put together a daily calendar of geological facts, starting with the origin of the earth on January 1, and ending with the appearance of modern man on December 31.
Each day contains a fact or theory about the history of the earth, including stratigraphy, depositional basins, mineral deposits, mineralogy, glaciation, fossils, mass extinctions, plate reconstructions, orogenies, unconformities, recent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, and birthdays and historical events of pioneering geologists.
The development of life on Earth is a large part of the study of geology, and is well represented in the calendar. The reproductions of the fossil crinoids, brachiopods, and trilobites show good detail in the months illustrating the Cambrian through Mississippian Periods. Examples of Marianne Collins' drawings of amazing soft bodied creatures of the Cambrian Burgess Shale are taken (with permission) from Stephen Jay Gould's Wonderful Life. Skeleton reconstructions show the range of amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals throughout the Permian and later periods, including the ever popular Age of Dinosaurs.
Economic geology also has its day(s) in the Gibson calendar, no doubt much to the relief of those still practicing their trades in this field. Gibson reports, perhaps gleefully, that the finely disseminated Carlin Gold deposit of Nevada, with grains typically less than one micrometer (0.0001 mm) in diameter, was overlooked by many a geologist. Examples of coal, iron, lead, zinc, mercury, and uranium deposits throughout the world are on display in these pages. Petroleum exploration and production booms and busts are represented from Titusville through Prudhoe Bay.
Touches of humor have found their way into the calendar, from the sketch of the Triassic dinosaur with three, uh, tail ends, to the warning that the calendar will not be as useful in 17 million years, when the year gets shorter by one day.
In a somewhat unusual pledge of his interest in all things geological, Dick welcomes letters and phone calls from readers wishing more information about the geologic information depicted within the calendar, as well as from those with inquiries about purchasing the calendar, with the telephone number prominently listed on each page. Imagine, a geology reference with a tech support hot line! Though a few of the landscape depictions fared none too well in reproduction, and an index would have been a welcome addition, I still recommend this calendar to geologists and non-geologists alike.
Richard Gibson can be reached at Gibson Consulting, PO Box 523, Golden, Colorado, 80402, USA, 303-278-0867.