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outcrop geology
 

image

 
But he came to feel defensive about a project so largely based on mapping. He also felt sheepish about having found his thesis topic ‘by chance’ — i.e., by observation — rather than having articulated a problem first and then finding a way to pursue it.

from passage on sedimentologist Francis J. Pettijohn, in Naomi Oreskes her The Rejection of Continental Drift : Theory and Method in American Earth Science (OUP 1999), chapter entitled The Depersonalization of Geology.
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Followed, on next page, by this —
...by the 1970s, students were being advised not to pursue outcrop geology — meaning geology in which problems were defined by the outcrop, rather than by the scientist.

(May have parallels in the arts.)
 

The photo my own, east of Palomar (near Oak Grove, San Diego County).
 

16 April 2012
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tags: chance; geology; Oreskes, Naomi; outcrop geology; Pettijohn, Francis J.; sedimentology