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I’ve been a geologist since I was a kid (much to my parents’ delight, since they so much enjoyed having piles of rocks around the house). And now, a long way from kidhood, physically if not mentally, I still love it. My jobs and travels have brought me face-to-face with landscapes and geology around the world, and I find the workings of our planet (and others) truly wondrous.

Being face-to-face with geology is not only a stimulating, but also a sobering, experience – it puts us firmly in our place. The natural world (not that we are in any way separate) demonstrates overwhelming power, scale – and subtlety. What we don’t know about it far outweighs what we do – and there, to me, is a large part of the fascination. I find the role of uncertainty in science and our daily lives – and the need for genuine creativity in dealing with it – endlessly intriguing. Uncertainty generates controversy, and I hope that, as this blog evolves, discussions and debates will develop.

This is the only planet we’ve got (for the realistic future) and we need to get to know it better. This blog uses sand, and the symbolism of a sandglass, as a means with which to view the Earth and our role on it. Sand carries with it the imagery of scale, from individual grains to “the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered.” And sand, through the sandglass, carries that evocative image of time and change – on our humble scale and on a geological scale.

Enough philosophy. Our planet and its workings constantly provide the unexpected, surprises, and mysteries – it’s my hope that this blog will do the same.