2015 is the Year of Mud

Ildar Sagdejev, Wikimedia Commons // CC-BY-SA 4.0
Ildar Sagdejev, Wikimedia Commons // CC-BY-SA 4.0 / Ildar Sagdejev, Wikimedia Commons // CC-BY-SA 4.0

We take a lot for granted, but England’s Geological Society is here to make sure that mud isn’t one of them. The society declared 2015 the Year of Mud, says the website, to celebrate “a resurgence of interest in that most common of materials.”

There’s more to mud than most people realize. According to the Geological Society’s website

Mud represents both an end and a beginning—the end of the cycle of erosion and transport, and the beginning of the generation (through burial and transformation) of new materials of great value to society.

Mud may begin as wet dirt, but it ends up in all kinds of useful places. Its texture and malleability make it a favorite building material of people all over the world. Liquid mud, or slip, is an essential component of pottery. Sedimentary rocks like shale are actually made of mud. Tourists and spa visitors pay good money to be plastered with therapeutic mud. And millions of creatures, great and small, make their homes in mud puddles, banks, and riverbeds.

To celebrate and raise public awareness of mud and mud science, the Geological Society scheduled a year’s worth of lectures, conferences, and activities. During Mud Monster week, the Society invited nursery school classes to adventure into the “Mud Monster Swamp” for a half-day of monster-building and geological education.

If you’re just finding out about the Year of Mud now, don’t fret: There are still a few months left to celebrate. UK citizens can attend the remaining events in person, and the rest of the world can catch up on lectures like The Glories of Mud via the Geological Society’s YouTube channel.

It’s a good day to take a good look at the ground beneath your feet. Earth Science Week is October 11 to 17. In an unrelated move, the United Nations General Assembly has also declared 2015 the International Year of Soils