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What's the Collective Name for Geologists?

By February 26, 2014

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Earth Magazine asked its followers on Twitter yesterday, "what is the collective noun for a group of geologists?" You know, a flock of birds, a pack of dogs, a ——— of geologists. That led to a fun morning. My first candidate is a formation of geologists, but Tony Martin (@Ichnologist) suggested a mélange. That word, which means a jumble of mixed sedimentary rocks, is an apt reference to the variety of opinions you'll get in front of any outcrop. Along the same lines, the geologist known as @reticulite proposed an argument. That seems a little confrontatory; I think that geologists generally have passionate discussions—which is the intended meaning of "argument," I'm sure, but "argument" has other connotations I'd rather avoid. James Burnes (@LifeThruTime) added, "From my experiences, an 'intoxication' of geologists sounds about right." To which I responded by proposing a crawl of geologists, which also suggests our nose-to-the-ground attitude.

What about some of geology's many specialties? Here's what I came up with yesterday:

  • A clade or assemblage of paleontologists
  • A pod or shoal of oceanographers
  • A scattergram or facies of geochemists
  • A plume of volcanologists
  • A flurry of glaciologists
  • A scatter of explorationists
  • A suite of modelers
  • A belt of planetologists (after the asteroid belt, but @cirquelar, a planetologist himself, cleverly suggested "belt" for explorationists)
  • A cloud of aeronomists (those are the folks who study near-outer space)
  • A flood of hydrologists
  • A swarm of seismologists
  • A sequence of stratigraphers
  • A shower of meteoriticists

I'll bet you have some good ones too.


February 26, 2014 at 3:09 pm
(1) E Logan says:

A conglomerate?

February 27, 2014 at 2:30 am
(2) erik day says:

An “Interpretations” of geologists. 1 outcrop, 2 geologists, 3 interpretations; over the years it becomes, 1 outcrop, 20 geologists, 60 interpretations.

March 3, 2014 at 7:17 am
(3) George Edwards says:

I like either “outcrop” as a collective noun. “There was a real outcrop of geologists at the SME meeting”. They will be on one, so why not all them one?

March 3, 2014 at 10:04 am
(4) Russell P Kennedy says:

Crawl of speleologists!

March 3, 2014 at 11:06 am
(5) Jerry A Jr says:

I think a Geode of Geologists… open it up & look at all the sparkling points of light inside.

For glaciologists, I think crawl is better… they do crawl & recede in a regular basis.

March 3, 2014 at 1:43 pm
(6) Allan Geldean says:

I think it should be respectively said ” A Concentrates of Geologist ” ,…. Gold concentrates.

March 3, 2014 at 2:34 pm
(7) Jason says:

I think we should be categorized by quantity, e.g.:

a 6-pack of geologists (a group in the field doing work)
a 12-pack of geologists (a grad school field trip)
a case of geologists (an undergrad field trip or a seminar)
a keg of geologists (a GSA meeting)

March 3, 2014 at 7:55 pm
(8) Rob DeGray says:

…An aggregate of geologists

March 4, 2014 at 2:01 am
(9) John Gallatin says:

How about a”formation” of geologists, a “clod” of earth scientists.

March 4, 2014 at 6:38 pm
(10) Geology Guide says:

A reader wrote in with this: “My husband, who loves playing with words, came up with these two suggestions: An outcropping of geologists, since that is where you frequently find them popping up; or alternatively, a stein of geologists, with the implication of fluid refreshment as well as the relation to the German “der Stein”, the stone.”

March 4, 2014 at 7:35 pm
(11) Geology Guide says:

Another reader sent this message that was sent around a while ago:

The following is the summary of todays philosophical straw poll of various professional geologists and geotechnicians:- details removed to protect the

“The collective term (various) earth science specialists is……”

A thin-section of Petrologists
A petrification of Palaeontologists
A facet of Mineralogists
A decline of Mining Geologists (now isn’t that true)
An isotaticity of Stratigraphers (localised up and down)
A eustaticity of Mining Geologists (up and down the World-over)
A phreatic of CTRL 240 Engineers (well, well, well)
A cocoon of metamorphicists (never know what turns into what)
A picket of structural geologists (always striking)
A reflection, tremor, or quake of seismologists (depending on level of banter – from calmly philosophical to loudly argumentative, largely corresponding to the Richter scale)
A chamber of magmatists
A stream of hydrogeologists (watery types, only bother to move downhill)
A bone of palaeontologists (contentious)

A confusion of Geologists
An argument of Geologists
A mess of Geologists
A Dispute of Geologists
An aggregate of sedimentologists
An Agglomeration of sedimentologists

A frieze of Glaciologists (intended spelling!)
A squirm of Speleologists
A spread of Plate-Tectonicists
A fumerole of Oceanographers
An orogeny of Geologists
A shudder of Seismologists ? (frightening)
A seance of Geophysicists ? (work it out!)
A coprolite of Paeleontologists ?
A diatom of Palyologists ? (small and pointless)
A cyclothem of Geologists (they just keep on coming)
A moraine of Geomorphologists (terminal)

An intrusion of Geologists (always appear when unwanted – & want to and stick their oar in)
A deposition of Sedimentologists
An eruption of Volcanologists
An epicentre of Seismologists
A cocoon of metamorphicists (never know what turns into what) A picket of structural geologists (always striking)
A flock (of geologists). They: Always follow what the last man has said. Bleat on about nothing Are woolly with their answers.
An Impotence of geophysicists – since they can never rise to meet their promises.

March 5, 2014 at 10:01 pm
(12) Roy Patton says:

They are a Sample

March 8, 2014 at 6:38 am
(13) Sandy zelen says:

No matter the number “Geologist are Bolder”

March 13, 2014 at 1:35 pm
(14) Michael says:

I think need to change “scattergram of geochemists” to “spidergram”. It’s much more hilarious :)

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