These pages are merely a taster — an introduction to the role that geology has played and continues to play in the more aesthetic, as opposed to the scientific, part of all our lives. If the subjects interest you there are many, many web and other threads to follow. And you will find 19 posters which you are free to download, print and use.

Archaeology and architecture


Geology has had a massive impact on civilisation. From the tools and shelter of the earliest human; to the location and power of the Greek and Roman empires.


Architecture has always been influenced by geology, structurally and aesthetically. What is that building stone, where does it come from, will it weather well? Geology and geological maps provide the answers to these and many other questions.

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... Happy is he who lives to understand not human nature only, but explores
all natures, - to the end that he may find the law that governs each ..."
The Excursion, William Wordsworth 1854.



The geology of our planet's diverse landscape has provided artists throughout the ages with infinite subject matter. "What anatomy is to the figure painter, such is geology to a landscape artist" said Miss Lizzie J. Williams in 1872.

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The stratified stones of the mountains are all layers of clay, deposited one above the other by the various floods of the rivers . . . In every concavity at the summit of the mountains we shall always find the divisions of strata in the rocks.

Jewellery and antiques

Jewellery and antiques

The most primitive earthenware and the most elegant jewellery owe their origin and diversity to the rocks beneath our feet.

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She is mine own,
And I as rich in having such a jewel
As twenty seas, if all their sand were pearl
The water nectar, and the rocks pure gold.

Leisure and adventure


Geology is not just oil and coal and earthquakes, understanding a little about rocks can enrich our lives in so many other ways.

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From the highest peak to the darkest cave, it is geology that adventurers explore.

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Music, opera and cinema


Is there a correlation between Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and geology? Yes, the creation of his last opera, Magic Flute, an alchemical drama, was closely associated with the prominent geologists of his time.


The sea ebbing and flowing in Fingal's Cave and cascading down basalt columns creates a rhythm of its own, one made famous by composer Felix Mendelssohn in The Hebrides overture.


An epic Hollywood tale of Jurassic Parks, Super Volcanoes and Quakes which takes place on a Journey to the centre of the EarthJ, between One Million Years BC and The Day After Tomorrow in the Land that Time Forgot.

Life and philosophy

Philosophy and life

Most natural philosophers in the medieval and renaissance periods studied philosophy and science and did not focus on geology alone. Copernicus, Descartes, and even an Anglican Archbishop (James Ussher) are but a few of the learned people who have contemplated our Earth and the living things upon it.

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  • ... And Still We Evolve - A Handbook on the History of Modern Science
  • James Hutton - the father of modern geology
  • Enjoy Cumbria - Norman Nicholson

This jigsaw puzzle of rocks that lie under our feet,
And form the landscapes that we love,
Are the same rocks that, through wells and mines,
Put water and bread on the table for billions of families,
That warm our homes and fuel our cars, and which,
Unless we understand their hidden dangers,
Will always cause undue misery for humanity.

Poetry and prose

Geology inspires poets as well as artists.

Did you know that W H Auden wrote a poem 'In praise of limestone' or the link between the founders of geology as a science and William Wordsworth?

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... Happy is he who lives to understand not human nature only, but explores
all natures, - to the end that he may find the law that governs each ...

Wine, whisky and beer

Does the geology of a vineyard has a profound influence on the taste of wine? Is it a key element of what the French would call the 'terroir'? Do wines around the world owe their uniqueness to their substrate? Did you know that geology is also an influence on the many diverse flavours of beer? And what about whisky?

Words and names

Geology has had a subtle and sometimes not so subtle influence on the English language — from place names to a few surnames and currently fashionable political media metaphors.

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