Lessons from Haiti

Christian geologist Charles Carrigan has written an article about the earthquake in Haiti on the Olivet Nazarene University’s blog: Guest Feature: Tragedy and geology in the recent Haiti earthquake.

Some of my thoughts after reading this (not all directly related to what Carrigan wrote about):

  • Earthquakes do not have to kill. The 2010 Haiti earthquake had a magnitude of 7.0, and the death toll is now estimated to be in the 150,000 to 200,000 range. The death toll in the 2001 Puget Sound earthquake in Washington (magnitude 6.8) was zero.
  • The difference is largely building codes. Rich countries can build earthquake-resistant structures (I wouldn’t say “earthquake-proof”); poor countries cannot.
  • 25,000 children die per day of poverty-related causes. This is a tragedy of Haitian proportions every week.
  • Christians working in the Earth sciences can play a role in disaster relief and in longer-term community development work among the poor of the world.

Carrigan highlights the role that Earth scientists have in making the world a better place:

There are some things about the Earth that we cannot change. There will always be earthquakes in seismically active zones, and some of them will be very large. Geology can tell us where they are likely to occur, but of course cannot predict them perfectly. We can only make ourselves aware of the risks that nature at times presents to us, and work to protect ourselves and our neighbors accordingly.

Unfortunately, many of our neighbors in lesser developed nations do not have this information, and may not have the means to do what is necessary to protect themselves even if they did. Beyond earthquakes, many other natural disasters represent risk to ever-increasing human populations, and many also lack access to basic necessities such as clean water and other natural resources. There remains incredible opportunity for professionals in geology and related scientific fields to use their skills to impact the world for the betterment of all people.

Grace and Peace

Around the web — 1/26/10

I’ve been putting in a lot of hours, which has been a very good thing following a long period of unemployment. One down side has been having very little time for The GeoChristian.

Archaeology: What an Ancient Hebrew Note Might Mean (Christianity Today) — Skeptics of the historical reliability of the Old Testament have long suggested that the Hebrews did not have a writing system until sometime late in the Kingdom period, perhaps as late as the exile of the Jews to Babylon. Archeologists have unearthed a pottery fragment from close to 1000 BC (around the time of King David’s reign) with Hebrew writing, making an early date for the writing of portions of the Old Testament easier to support. (also see Bible Possibly Written Centuries Earlier, Text Suggests at Yahoo News)

Geologist tells kids how his job rocks (Billings Gazette) — “How do you hold the attention of more than 50 kids for nearly an hour? If a Friday morning presentation to the second-graders at St. Francis Primary Catholic School is any indication, the answer is simple: Just show them some rocks.”

Scientists create model of monster ‘Frankenstorm’ (Yahoo News) — Computer modeling comes up with a storm that would drop eight feet of rain on parts of California.

231-mph NH wind gust is no longer world’s fastest — Mount Washington in New Hampshire no longer holds the world record for the strongest wind gust.

U-Haul trucks — geological billboards

Here’s the side of our U-Haul truck from our Colorado to Missouri move last month:

Like many U-Haul trucks, this one had a geological theme depicted on its side:

Did you know… Strange flora, previously unknown to science, were discovered in the hidden Ketona Dolomite Glades, an area often referred to as a “botanical lost world.” Why do these mysterious rare plants grow only over this unique Cambrian rock?

A further description of the plants that grow on the Ketona Dolomite, and how the composition of this dolomite affects the plants, can be found at www.uhaul.com/supergraphics/.

Thanks, U-Haul, for your contribution to Earth science education.

Grace and Peace

Reading the Bible in 2010

It is not too late to make a Bible-reading goal for 2010! Many make a New Year’s resolution to read the Bible more consistently than they have in the past, and many don’t stick to that resolution.

Here’s what works for me.

Rather than using a reading schedule, with a daily listing of what chapters to read, I usually use a Bible reading checklist:

Kevin’s Bible Reading Checklist – PDF file (44 kb)

It has all sixty-six books of the Bible with their chapters. I mark off each chapter as I read.


This system gives me greater flexibility than a schedule does, yet still helps me to reach my reading goals. This year I plan on reading the New Testament (probably twice), as well as reading the Old Testament historical and wisdom books (Genesis through Song of Solomon). One advantage of this system over using a schedule is that I can vary my pace.


Feel free to download and print this for yourself and pass it on to others:

Kevin’s Bible Reading Checklist – PDF file (44 kb)

My hope and prayer is to encourage you to be in the Word in 2010, and that you would know our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ better because of it.

Grace and Peace


P.S. If you are really hungry for the Word, you can try Glenn Brooke’s Read the Bible in 30 Days.

New job, new state

It has been a rather long break from blogging, but I am back at it. I moved from Colorado to Missouri in mid-November, but the family didn’t make the move until just before Christmas. We just got internet in the home today.

I applied for close to 400 jobs over a stretch of 18 months. The one I ended up with was certainly in the top 5% of these, in terms of pay, benefits, and the work that I will be doing, so I am very thankful. I know that some of the jobs I applied for had over 100 applicants for one opening, which says a lot about the current state of the job market.

Thanks to all who prayed for me or kept in touch in one way or another. Your friendship is deeply appreciated.

Grace and Peace,

Kevin N