Geologists in the Field and in Film

Do you know any geologists? We’re proud to have some of the best on our team – we really DIG them!

You can find quite a few geologists (and other professionals interested in studying the earth) portrayed on the big screen. Though they are often portrayed as supporting characters, at Cabot, geologists are crucial to our operations. Let’s take a look at a few movies over the years that depicted the profession of geology. 

Geologists from movies 1 and 2

Tremors (1990) 

Concerned seismologist Rhonda, played by Finn Carter, studies unnatural readings below the ground in the small desert town of Perfection, Nevada. 

Dante’s Peak (1997) 

Volcanist Harry Dalton, played by Pierce Brosnan, investigates reports of a possibly awakening volcano in the small town of Dante’s Peak, Washington. 

Geologists from movies 3 and 4

Armageddon (1998) 

Shuttle Freedom geologist Rockhound, played by Steve Buscemi, works to split an asteroid into two halves to safely bypass Earth with a questionable mental state.  

Ocean’s Thirteen (2007) 

Con man Rusty Ryan, played by Brad Pitt, poses as a geologist to assist his associates with a plan to rob a casino. 

Geologists from movies 5 and 6

2012 (2009) 

Geologist Adrian Helmsley, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, discovers an alignment of the planets has caused a massive solar flare making Earth’s crust unstable. 

Prometheus (2012) 

Geologist Fifield, played by Sean Harris, serves as a spaceship crewmember searching for the origins of mankind and later becomes mentally unstable. 

Chart, bar chart

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In the interest of brevity, we’ll avoid discussing if these portrayals are accurate or not. Though I’m pretty sure anyone in our Exploration department would be open to a good debate.  

This awesome Earth Magazine article further analyzes the role of geologists in film, surmising that the inclusion of geologists in movies will trend upward as the public’s awareness of environmental changes and natural disasters increases. 

Check out their infographic analyzing geologists by character type, moral disposition, and if the geologist characters are more likely to live or die on the silver screen.  

Natalie Clarke

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