GEOQUEST, by Christina Neuwirth

GEOQUEST, Geosciences, Photo by Dong Ning DengPhotos by Dong Ning Deng.

On Friday afternoon, 19 teams of 2 sit behind wooden desks in the Ashworth lab lecture theatre at King‘s Buildings. The suspense is thick in the air. Gandalf is nodding along to saxophone music on the overhead screens, and the team who organised the event are handing out bags of sweets. GeoQuest!

Out of all my assignments this week, this one is the one I‘m the most nervous about. My geological knowledge is atrocious, and I‘m not very competitive. Before I have time to rethink any of my life decisions, the first question is upon us: What is the mass of the moon in kg? My partner and I laugh nervously and guess 20 million kilos, but that‘s miles away from the actual answer, 7.34767309 × 1022. After a few other cool moon facts are revealed (did you know it‘s moving away from us an inch and a half every year?), more questions rain down on those who qualified for the buzzer rounds.

After an hour, the three final teams answer questions on pahoehoe, igneous bodies and tea production, and Team Blurred Fault Lines come in third place, after Team C and Team Lewis and Jamie. Congrats!

GEOQUEST, Geosciences, Photo by Dong Ning DengThe amount of work and care the team behind GeoQuest put into this event is apparent: The slideshow runs smoothly and is very entertaining, the questions are varied in difficulty and field of knowledge, and the colourful buzzers make fun noises.  I can feel my brain soaking up knowledge, like what ungulates are (a group of mammals with hooves, inexplicably including whales and dolphins) and what Dwayne Johnson‘s stage name is (The Rock, duh). And did you know that Kansas has been scientifically proven to be flatter than a pancake? Learning, made fun and competitive. GeoQuest!

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