One of the beauties of the geological sciences (or curses, depending on your point of view) is that there really aren't any laws or rules that apply in all cases and/or situations. Into this legal vacuum, and after years of testing, I humbly submit

Strickler's Laws of GeoFantasy



1st Law of GeoFantasy*

All regional theories
break down at the local level

This relates to the forest and trees concept. In our study of Earth and its processes, it is often valuable to define a regional model for a specific situation (such as plate tectonics as a unifying concept for the internal processes of our planet). Unfortunately, the earth is such a complex organism that attempts to define "the big picture" often fail to hold up when viewed at the local level. Strickler's 1st Law of GeoFantasy tells us that this is okay... and even expected. All we have to be sure of is that we don't start believing our models to the point that we stop considering other possibilities (beware of the last 2 steps of the scientific method!). All geologic work is really just a progress report, and subject to revision.



2nd Law of GeoFantasy

There are no catastrophic processes,
only catastrophic events

Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, and other natural "disasters" all seem to be such potent catastrophes. And they are... at least to the humans who get in the way. But a catastrophe implies a sudden (and generally negative) event. In every case, Earth processes which lead to catastrophic events are very slow in building (at least in our view of time). In general, all most of us see (or appreciate) is the culmination of the process - a shake, an eruption, a flood, or whatever. These events are a natural and important part of our planet's life cycle, and as such must be inherently good things (at least as far as the earth is concerned).



3rd Law of GeoFantasy

The earth breaks what it makes
and puts it in the ocean

The earth makes lots of stuff: minerals, rocks, mountains, giant pandas, baby bunnies, and even people. Because of the way water works, it is able to weather and/or dissolve anything and everything... if given enough time (and the earth surely has plenty of this!). All this weathered and dissolved stuff moves down hill into a stream or river, and, over the course of geologic time, finds it's way to the ocean.



4th Law of GeoFantasy

Water always wins

If there is magic anywhere on earth, it's got to be in the water. Not only does water make a great liquid refreshment, it also has the power to dissolve anything and everything... if given enough time (and, as stated in Law #3, the earth certainly has plenty of this). In any event, NOTHING can withstand the power of water, and everything that exists will ultimately be dissolved, broken into little pieces (and then dissolved), or in some other way altered into new and different forms. Water ALWAYS wins!



5th Law of GeoFantasy

The earth is NOT your mother

If you are reading this, I have to assume that you are human. And being human, you probably have a mother. Moms are remarkable creatures, and not least among their many traits is their love for their offspring, their never-ending support and devotion, and their fierce determination to make sure that their kids are safe and well and happy and that nothing really bad ever happens to them. It doesn't matter if you're a good kid or a rotten kid or an out and out bozo - your mom is the one creature who will always care for you.

Since there isn't any nice way to say this, I'll just spit it out - the earth really doesn't care about you at all. Not a lot, not a little bit, not at all. If something nice happens and you think that "Mother Earth" did it just for you... sorry, but it didn't. The same goes for all the bad stuff that can happen - earthquakes, floods, volcanic eruptions, and so forth. These things are natural earth processes, and will happen no matter where you are or what you do. If you happen to get in the way, well, it's nothing personal. Call it bad luck, call it karma, call it anything you want - just don't blame the earth. The planet really doesn't think about us one way or the other. Like I said, the earth is not your mother.



6th Law of GeoFantasy

Nature knows what it's doing

I just heard the local weather dude, and anchor, both report that "Mother Nature is confused today." This got me thinking on two fronts. First, and as we already know from the 5th Law of GeoFantasy, the earth is not our mother (and by logical extension, neither is nature). It is equally improbable that the earth, or nature, could ever be confused. Nature may appear angry, or even moody from time to time, but confused? I think not. There may be occasions when our interpretations fail us, and there are probably even more times when we just don't understand what's going on, but nature is governed by the rigid, yet infinitely flexible Rules of Reality, and always knows what it is doing.



* The Roche Corollary:

There is some concern that Strickler's 1st Law of GeoFantasy effectively negates all of his other laws. If there are exceptions to all rules, then by definition there can be no rules. Therefore, there MUST be catastrophic processes, some things must exist that NEVER make it to the beach, sooner or later water HAS to lose, and so forth. Basically, Strickler is a bozo and needs to do additional research.

- submitted by Derek Roche, Grants Pass High School (4/97)



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