The March edition of the Accretionary Wedge geoblog carnival is at Ann’s Musings, and the theme is a deceptively simple summons: “Throw me your ‘favorite geologic picture’ mister.” This is nigh-on impossible and has led to some considerable introspection, not to mention scrabbling around to see what candidates I have with me on my laptop. But the scrabbling stopped as soon as I reminded myself of the image above. At first glance, perhaps it’s not strictly geological – but then again, yes it is. And, because of the very personal impact, it’s one of my favourite pictures – ever.
It’s from a location in the remote south-western corner of Egypt, a Louvre of rock-art. This is just a small exhibit in a cave shelter covered in human expressions. The setting is geological, the canvas is geological, and the materials are geological, and all combine in the message of the connection between humans and geology. But of course it’s even more than that – we have no idea really who the artists were, exactly when they lived, what the function of this place was in their society, or why they expressed themselves so exuberantly. But the emotional resonance, sitting there gazing at this, has become deeply ingrained; there is an immediate, intensely human, connection with two unknown people who chose to record their hands reaching out to each other.
It’s not even a picture of sand – but it is probably my favourite geological photo. And, in today’s world, perhaps it has an important message.