Friday, 4 January 2013

A geological top 100

There seems to be a proliferation of variation to the theme of 100 things to see before you die. Geotripper did a geologists version back in 2008, it can be found here. Andrew Alden did a review of the list on 1 January which can be found here. I thought they were a little to USA centric so I've modifed theirs to include famous natural features that have a bit more of an Australian favour while maintaining the best ones from around the world. The ones I've managed to do are in bold text 40/100 - what is your score... or what do you want your score to be? Those that you can see in the northern rivers or very close by are underlined.
  1. See an erupting volcano
  2. See a glacier
  3. See an active geyser
  4. Visit the Cretaceous/Tertiary (KT) Boundary
  5. Observe a river whose discharge is above bankfull stage
  6. Explore a limestone cave
  7. Tour an open pit mine
  8. Explore a subsurface mine
  9. See an ophiolite
  10. An anorthosite complex
  11. A slot canyon
  12. Varves
  13. An exfoliation dome
  14. A large layered igneous intrusion
  15. Coastlines along the leading and trailing edge of a tectonic plate
  16. See the out of place palm trees of Palm Valley, Northern Territory
  17. Stromatolites
  18. A field of glacial erratics
  19. A caldera (no the Mount Warning “erosion caldera” does not count)
  20. A sand dune more than 100metres high
  21. Visit a fjord
  22. A recently formed fault scarp
  23. A megabreccia
  24. An actively accreting river delta
  25. A natural bridge
  26. A large sinkhole
  27. A glacial outwash plain
  28. A sea stack either an active one or a preserved one 
  29. A house-sized glacial erratic
  30. An underground lake or river
  31. The Great Dividing Range
  32. Fluorescent and phosphorescent minerals
  33. Petrified trees standing in place
  34. Lava tubes
  35. The Grand Canyon
  36. See a meteor impact crater on a scale that is comprehensible
  37. Swim on the Great Barrier Reef
  38. The Bay of Fundy, to see the highest tides in the world
  39. See a preserved sedimentary dyke (preserved liquefaction from an earth quake)
  40. Banded Iron Formations, in the Pilbara, to better appreciate the air you breathe.
  41. The snows of Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
  42. Lake Baikal, Siberia, deepest lake in the world with 20 percent of the Earth's fresh water
  43. Ayers Rock (Uluru), the classic inselberg.
  44. See a cliff face of classic columnar jointed lava
  45. The Swiss Alps
  46. Seeing rock cores being drilled
  47. The Li River, China, to see the fantastic tower karst that appears in much Chinese art
  48. The Dalmatian Coast of Croatia, to see the original karst
  49. The Gorge of Bhagirathi, one of the sacred headwaters of the Ganges, in the Indian Himalayas, where the river flows from an ice tunnel beneath the Gangatori Glacier into a deep gorge
  50. Visit Antarctica
  51. Climb Mount Warning, one of the most imposing volcanic ‘plugs’
  52. Land's End, Cornwall, Great Britain, with fractured granites that have feldspar crystals bigger than your fist
  53. Tierra del Fuego, to see the Straits of Magellan and the southernmost tip of South America
  54. Visit an active stratovolcano
  55. The Giant's Causeway and the Antrim Plateau, Northern Ireland, to see polygonally fractured basaltic flows
  56. The Great Rift Valley in Africa
  57. The Matterhorn, along the Swiss/Italian border, to see the classic "horn"
  58. Visited the Coorong and the lakes at the mouth of the Murray River
  59. Stood on the fossils of Maria Island, Tasmania
  60. Siccar Point, Berwickshire, Scotland, where James Hutton (the "father" of modern geology) observed the classic unconformity
  61. The moving rocks of Racetrack Playa in Death Valley
  62. See a lava lake
  63. See some the twelve apostles (well, some of them)
  64. The Burgess Shale in British Columbia
  65. The Channeled Scablands of central Washington
  66. See the Pinnacles in Western Australia (or even better, visited Cappadocia in Turkey)
  67. Grand Prismatic Spring at Yellowstone National Park
  68. Visited (or lived) in an underground house in Coober Pedy
  69. The San Andreas fault
  70. The dinosaur footprints in Lark Quarry, Winton Queensland
  71. The volcanic landscapes of the Canary Islands
  72. The Pyrenees Mountains
  73. The Moeraki Boulders on the East Coast of Southern New Zealand
  74. Denali (an orogeny in progress)
  75. A catastrophic mass wasting event
  76. Stood at the base of the Bread-Knife, Warrumbungle Mountains
  77. The black sand or the green sand-olivine beaches beaches in Hawaii
  78. Walk or climb through an Aa lava flow
  79. Looked inside The Superpit at Kalgoorlie
  80. Visited a waterhole in the Macdonnell Ranges
  81. The Tunguska impact site in Siberia
  82. Feel an earthquake with a magnitude greater than 5.0
  83. See dinosaur footprints in situ
  84. Find a trilobite (or a dinosaur bone or any other fossil)
  85. Find gold, however small the flake
  86. Find a meteorite fragment
  87. Experience a volcanic ashfall
  88. Experience a sandstorm
  89. See a tsunami
  90. Witness a total solar eclipse
  91. Witness a tornado firsthand
  92. Witness a meteor storm, a particularly intense (1000+ per minute) meteor shower
  93. View Saturn and its moons through a respectable telescope
  94. See the aurora borealis or Aurora Australis, otherwise known as the northern and southern lights
  95. View a great naked-eye comet
  96. See a lunar eclipse
  97. View a distant galaxy through a large telescope
  98. Experience a cyclone
  99. Burn your shoes on not-quite-cooled lava
  100. See the green flash


  1. I can't tick off as many as you but I have been to the Giants Causeway. Some I don't even know, what's the Green Flash?

    1. They are a little tricky eh! I didn't know what the Green Flash was either. I don't usually use wikipedia but it has a good explanation.

      It is to do with sunrise and sunset apparently.

  2. Perhaps a short piece of reference for each may be helpful. I couldn't find an explanation or identify ''a river whose discharge is above bankfull stage ''
    Given the instinctive illogicality of meaning an explanation would be more than useful.
    Tracked you down when I came across the Glenugie excitement and needed to know the underlying geology. Well explained and understood, my thanks.

    1. Hi JohnB,

      Thanks for visiting. I started to put a quick comment after each one but then I realised how huge this post was going to be! When I first went to university I realised that most of what you learn first up is nomenclature - essentially the language of the science! There is always an easy translation, for example bankful really just refers to major regional flooding.

      There is a lot of excitement at Glenugie at the moment I agree! Although I have not specifically posted one on how gas drilling operations work and the different techniques that are applied for different purposes but it is quite complex. Either way, I hope you found the information you are looking for.

      Feel free to come back and comment on anything I write. You are most welcome.