An old acquaintance of mine- Mark Lichtenstein- an EVAPORITIC GEOLOGIST, was obsessed with the notion that he could discern properties of ROCKS with the SALIVA TEST. He would orient himself toward PRECIPITATES of all kinds- limestones, gypsums, rock salt (halite), tufa, nahcolite, trona, sylvite, and Epsom salts, borax among others. Using his lick methodology, he professed to be able to identify the history of the EARTH.
Sure enough, he moved to the great southwestern USA- where he was surrounded by ALKALI- the ultimate of dryness. You could see him daily, with his hatband encrusted with the sweat of his brow, swinging his pick into evaporates and pseudomorphs- hoping to add yet another strain to his repertoire of saline subtleties.
Yelling with enthusiasm, he announced bitterness, fishy, sweetness, brackish, sanguine, bilious, tequila, quinine, and licorice as the most obvious (among many others with more subtlety, such as juniper, cinchona, muscatel, and POLECAT).
His intrepid blue jeans were always white to dull grey, especially at the knee caps, due to prayer-like kneeling before the throne of EVAPORATION! He announced to all who would listen, that the cycles of GEOLOGY could be understood with a few SLOBBERS over CRYSTALS. Wet spells were succeeded by belching of VOLCANOES- which introduced sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium into the BASINS of the Earth. All GEOLOGIC TIME consisted of increasing ARIDITY.
His epitaph, composed by his wife Lot’te, restates his contribution:
Here lies Mark- a great BELIEVER
In salty tales (by a daily weaver);
He convinced the Source- ‘ol Sol, the Sun
His BONES are dried, and he has WON!
Mark passed on, after a brief BOUT with LIP CANCER
Harold L. Overton