I am starting a new series of posts on “comparative geology”, in which I will compare and contrast geological features, settings, processes, events mostly for … the fun of it. Comparison is used as an investigative tool in other sciences; comparative anatomy is one example. The closest to my background is the case of sedimentary geologists using the term “analogs” when they compare rocks formed in similar depositional settings. Often analogs are used to compare rocks in the subsurface, where information is sparse and often one-dimensional (or three-dimensional but low resolution), with outcrops where rocks may be often seen in three-dimensions, touched, smelled, even tasted (ok, you have to be a geologist to enjoy that aspect). Another example of comparative geology is from the Earth and Planetary Sciences, where geomorphic or geologic features or processes on Earth are compared to those observed on other planets, with the goal of understanding processes on distant places in the Universe. The “distributary fans on Mars” are one example of this comparative geology concept.
The idea came to me this past week, while on vacation in the Sierra Nevada, a paradise for geologists. Many places I've seen during this trip reminded me one way or another of geologic features or settings in Romania; hence the opportunity for comparative geology on Romania Rocks.
There are many advantages for using comparison as an investigative tool in geosciences: when you compare and contrast features or processes, you understand them better; and then, there is the opportunity to come up with that wacky idea that would turn into a big breakthrough because you looked at things in a different way, or from a different perspective.