Geology Matters No. 7
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A Collective Noun for Geologists

Conferences and meetings are a common means of exchanging views, ideas and new developments among most specialists. Such gatherings bring together experts in the specialist area of concern. We are all aware of the collective name given to certain groups of people or animals such as a coven of witches or a pride of lions. But what is the collective noun for a group of geologists? In this article we review a number of suggestions put forward by others as well as inserting a few of our own.

Collective nouns often use terminology used commonly by the profession and for geologists these might include:

  • A bed of geologists (this describes the common occurrence of sedimentary rocks as layers and referred to as beds).
  • A conglomerate of geologists (referring to the coarse grained sedimentary rock of that name).
  • A cross-section of geologists (this refers to the method used by geologists to visualise the third dimension of the earth by viewing the earth along in its third dimension along a line drawn on a map).
  • A field of geologists (referring to geologists favourite place of work, i.e., outdoors).
  • A formation of geologists (referring to the name given by geologist to specific rock units).
  • A gangue of geologists (this is pronounced ‘gang’ but the word is spelled correctly and refers to non-valuable minerals deposited at the same time as valuable minerals in an ore deposit).
  • A grain of geologists (referring to an orientation visible in the rock).
  • An outcrop of geologists (where rocks pierce out of the ground).
  • A tectonic plate of geologists (referring to the large plates on the surface of the earth).
  • A vein of geologists (the narrow, and sometimes not so narrow, rock material different from the host rock containing the vein which crosses the natural grain of the rock).

Then there is the temptation to use alliteration and to have the collective noun begin with a ‘G’, such as:

  • A gaggle of geologists
  • A gang of geologists
  • A group of geologists
  • A grove of geologists

My personal favourite is “A gangue of geologists”. So what do you think? Which of the above suggestions do you think best describes a group of geologists? Or is there a better word? Please let us know by e-mailing your suggestions to

A Gangue of Geologists?

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