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-Stage 5.3-


Geology Through The Radio


Where popular music is used to help explain geological concepts.


Geology Through The Radio


       So sitting and listening to the radio, one song in particular has gotten my attention as containing some interesting geological concepts, Horse With No Name by America. So I figure I would do like I have done for literature and make a creative exercise based on this. And we will see to how far this expands.


Available Work Packets -

Jimmy Buffett's Volcano

America's Horse with No Name

Using Jimmy Buffett's Volcano




There are few “popular” songs that talk about geological events. One of those is Volcano by Jimmy Buffet which talks about a volcanic eruption. Here are some questions using the song lyrics to understand volcanoes and if what he is talking about is possible.


1. “Ground she’s movin under me” refers to what? (Specifically harmonic or tectonic in this instance)


2. What is the typical source of “tidal waves” and is the scenario so far conducive to tidal wave production?


3. Based on the clues in the song, what is the environment (and what are those environmental indicators)?


4. What kind of volcanoes would you expect in this type of environment?


5. Would you expect “sulphur smoke” and “soft and hot” lava from this type of volcano?


6. Would this type of volcano “blow”? Enough to launch people into space (metaphorically speaking)?


7. Why would you see your “skin aglow” at Three Mile Island?


 Click below for the Jimmy Buffett's Volcano directions in pdf format



Answers can be obtained by directly emailing me at

Using America’s Horse With No Name




            There are instances when you can listen to the radio and the words that come back to you can mean other things than what the artist initially intended them to. Whenever I listen to America’s Horse With No Name, I hear geological concepts being mentioned. So, that is what you are going to do here. You are going to take what is being said in the song, and use it to understand some geological concepts.


  1. What are the environments mentioned in the song?

  1. What types of conditions does the song use to define these environments?

  1. Does this match what is geologically used to define the environments?

  1. What did he find on the 3rd day? And do you think you could see this feature in the desert? Find a picture of one if you think one exists.

  1. What is the geological term for the change in environment described in the song (“desert had turned to the sea”)

  1. What are the two (tectonic) possibilities to explain how this could happen?

  1. The song states that “after 9 days…the desert had turned to the sea”. Assuming a really fast time period for this to happen is 100,000 yrs. How much faster is this event that America described?

  1. “The ocean is a desert with its life underground”. Now assuming he meant underwater, do you agree with this statement? Why or why not?

  1. Bonus Question: Why does the horse have no name?

 Click below for the Horse With No Name directions in pdf format



Answers can be obtained by directly emailing me at