1082: Geology

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Jump to: navigation, search
That's a gneiss butte.
Title text: That's a gneiss butte.

[edit] Explanation

Here we have Cueball and Megan discussing geology and the words they use are ripe with puns and double entendres which also have sexual meanings. In the end they just decide to get it on.

Specifically, the suggestive terms are "bedding," "spreading," "friction," "cleavage," "deeper in the rift," "orogeny," (perhaps a portmanteau of orgy and erogenous), "huge," and "thrust."

In the title text, gneiss (pronounced "nice") is a type of rock, and butte (rhymes with "cute") is a conspicuous isolated hill with steep, often vertical sides and a small, relatively flat top. "Gneiss butte" is a play on "nice butt".

[edit] Definitions

The division of usually sedimentary rocks into distinct layers.
A process in which two geological regions are moving apart, and potentially allowing for magma to rise up between them. Spreading occurs in mid-ocean ridges and in rift valleys.
Friction breccia
Breccia is a rock made of broken fragments of other rocks. When these fragments can be formed from the rubbing between rocks in a fault, it is a friction breccia.
Flow cleavage
The crystals in a rock can be aligned by the plastic flow of a rock when it is hot. This causes the rock to split (cleave) along particular planes.
A result of spreading is that rocks break, forming vertical faults, and allowing regions to sink and form valleys.
A period of mountain forming.
Thrust fault
a sloping crack in the rocks at which one region of rocks is pushing another up.

So it seems that Megan tells Cueball to ignore the layers in the rock, as there is evidence that valley they are in is in fact a recent rift valley. It was formed in cracking following the lifting up of the surrounding rocks.

[edit] Transcript

[Two people are doing a geological survey.]
Megan: Forget the bedding - we were wrong about the whole valley.
Cueball: The spreading is recent.
Megan: See the friction breccia?
Cueball: Oh - flow cleavage!
Cueball: Deeper in the rift.
Megan: Deeper.
[An idea pops into Megan's head.]
[The same idea pops into Cueball's head.]
Megan: This orogeny
Cueball: is driven by a
Megan: huge
Cueball: thrust fault
[They both drop to the ground in a fit of passion.]
Geology: Surprisingly erotic.

comment.png add a comment! ⋅ comment.png add a topic (use sparingly)! ⋅ Icons-mini-action refresh blue.gif refresh comments!


Actually, in the UK "gneiss" is pronounced exactly "nice", so it fits even better there.

If Wikipedia's phonetic guide is any authority, it's also said that way in the US (hover-text: 'n' as in 'nigh', long 'i' in 'bide', 's' as in 'sigh')... it doesn't make any distinctions between regions. -- IronyChef (talk) 04:51, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
Indeed. American geologists also pronounce it "nice" lcarsos (talk) 18:06, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
According to my geologist father, 'gneiss' is pronounced as "nice" and 'butte' as "beaut." He also says that buttes are almost never gneiss: gneiss is a metamorphic rock, and buttes are almost always formed from sedimentary rocks. (Gneiss can form bornhardts, which are also bumps of rock, but form by a different process and don't look very similar.) Variables won't, constants aren't. (Osborn's Law) (talk) 00:58, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
Your father is kind of a buzzkill. 16:42, 29 January 2014 (UTC)

A gniess hardt bone? Umm... 22:33, 20 September 2015 (UTC)

Rather impressive to see an erotic geology joke that doesn't even need to bring up cleavage, lol. One of my favourites. -- BruceJohnJennerLawso (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Oops, my mistake, they did mention cleavage, but still not bad anyways. -- BruceJohnJennerLawso (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Another gneiss butte interpretation, that Randall can't possibly have intended because of his politics, is a small hill- much like pregnancy.Seebert (talk) 12:54, 30 June 2014 (UTC)

What are you talking about? How does any political position preclude punning about pregnancy? 19:46, 7 September 2015 (UTC) This makes a odd sort of sense, but right there!?!?.... Why?! (It's not even sanitary

Personal tools


It seems you are using noscript, which is stopping our project wonderful ads from working. Explain xkcd uses ads to pay for bandwidth, and we manually approve all our advertisers, and our ads are restricted to unobtrusive images and slow animated GIFs. If you found this site helpful, please consider whitelisting us.

Want to advertise with us, or donate to us with Paypal?