This Sunday, 4 April, is international Geologist Day. On this day we acknowledge the important work preformed by geologist in the past, present and future. Read the below interview with geologist Darren Walker – QEC Deputy Chair for Minerals and Senior Executive at U&D Mining.
Why did you become a geologist?
I grew up on a farm and always had a keen interest in fossils and the history of the earth but I never knew that geology as a scientific field existed. When I was in year 10 at high school much to my parents dismay my life plan was to be a Jackaroo on a big station out west. My dad took me to a university open day in Brisbane and as I walked around looking at the different course options a stand with lots of rocks on it caught my attention. I talked to the man there and asked what he did. He said he was a geologist and he looks at rocks. I asked if he got paid to look at rocks and he said ’yes, very well’, I thought I can do that and it’s an outdoor job. From then on I wanted to be a geologist.
What do you love about geology?
I love that it gives you the tools to read the history of the earth and the universe. With geology you can gather insights into what the earth was like in the past as well as what it will be like in the future.
Plus the other thing I love is that geology is not an exact science, as you are dealing with systems with so many variables that you ca only determine the most probable explanation. So you can never be wrong but always right.
Can you tell us a little about your work?
Currently I work as a senior executive in the mining industry and look after exploration, environment, mine development and safety. The things I most enjoy still to this day is exploration and finding new mineral deposits. The thrill of gathering information, building hypotheses or models and testing them is addictive. Getting out in the outdoors, often in remote places and trying to unlock the story in the rocks and landscape is one of the most fun things one can do. In my personal life I enjoy giving anyone that will listen a geological narrative of the surrounding countryside as well as discussing the wonders of ancient life and the fossil record.
What do you see for the future of Geology, particularly here in Queensland?
I would hope that geology sees a resurgence in universities and schools as a science topic. I think the facts around raw materials – that our cities and society rely on them, and society as we know it could not exist without the extraction of raw materials from the earth – has been lost. I How geology influences and impacts everyone on earth from raw materials, to tsunamis, volcanoes, earthquakes and landslides to name a few of the geologic processes is a blank area for the majority of people and I think this needs to be addressed so as everyone can understand the importance of it to daily life.