July 01, 2020

The Romance of the Earth

The Romance of the Earth
Lunar (Лунный) Pass, the highest point (1300 meters) in Primorsky Krai, and the source of the Kema River. Vitaly Berkov

Half a century ago, the profession of geologist was both popular and revered in Russia, shrouded in a halo of romance and adventure. Indeed, it was not unusual for the lives of these explorers of subterranean mysteries to be immortalized in motion pictures, or for songs to be written about them.

As a child, I devoured Ivan Yefremov’s novels about geologists and dreamed of adventure and travels to far-flung wilds. I went on to develop a fascination for mineralogy and fossil collecting, and, further down the line, I even planned to attend a geological institute. But then I was dissuaded from doing so, put off by those who claimed that geology was a “dead” profession.

And so, with that, my interest in geology faded, as the romance of geology’s noble past seemed to have disappeared from people’s memories. 

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