Twenty thousand years

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This Eocene time line, drawn from either end of the continent, would have converged in western Wyoming in something comparable to the Sea of Azov. A hundred and fifty miles long, a hundred miles wide, it was larger by far than Erie, larger than Lake Tanganyika, larger than Great Bear. It was two hundred times Lake Maggiore. It had no name until a century ago, when a geologist called it Lake Gosiute. Lakes are so ephemeral that they are seldom developed in the geologic record. They are places where rivers bulge, as a temporary consequence of topography. Lakes fill in, drain themselves, or just evaporate and disappear. They don’t last. The Great Lakes are less than twenty thousand years old. The Great Salt Lake is less than twenty thousand years old. When Lake Gosiute took in the finishing touch of sediment that ended its life, it was eight million years old. West of Rock Springs, we came to an escarpment known as White Mountain, standing a thousand feet above the valley of Killpecker Creek. In no tectonic sense was this a true mountain-a folded-andfaulted, volcanic, or overthrust mountain. This was just a Catskill, a Pocono, a water-sliced segment of layered flat rock, a geological piece of cake. In fact, it was the bed of Lake Gosiute, and contained almost all of the eight million years. Apparently, the initial freshwater lake eventually shrank, became bitter and saline, and intermittently zakelijke energie may have gone dry. Later, as the climate remoistened, water again filled tl1e basin, and the lake reached its greatest size. As we looked at White Mountain, we could see these phases. It was the dry, salt-lake interval in the middle-straw and hay pastels so pale they were nearly white-that had given the bluff its name. The streams tl1at had opened it to view were lying at its base. Killpecker Creek (full of saltpeter) flowed into Bitter Creek, and that soon joined the Green River. Down the road a couple of miles was a pair of tunnels-snake eyes in the lakebed. They were one of the three sets of tunnels on Interstate So between New York and San Francisco, and they had to be there in the nose of White Mountain, or the interstate, flexing left, would destroy the town of Green River. Tower sandstone stood on the zakelijke energie vergelijken ridgeline in castellated buttes. With each mile, they increased in number, like buildings o”n the outskirts of a city. Off to the left was the island from which the geologist John Wesley Powell-seven years before the battle of the Little Bighorn-set off in a flotilla of dinghies to follow the Green River into its master stream, and to survive the preeminent rapids of North America on the first known voyage through the Grand Canyon. A huge sandstone broch stood in brown shale above the tunnels, which penetrated the lakebed’s saline phase.

Saint and sinner

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The ash-consisting of very small shards of glass-had travelled about two hundred miles downwind from its volcanic source. Two hundred miles downwind from Mt. St. Helens, in the state of Washington, the amount of ash that has accumulated as a result of Mt. St. Helens’ recent eruptions is three inches. The ash here at the Continental Divide was sixty feet thick. A hundred and more miles northwest are remnants of the same fallout, suggesting the dimensions of the great regional blanket of six hundred thousand years ago, now almost wholly lost to erosion. Love said cryptically, ‘We have to assume it fell on saint and sinner alike.” It had not been milled around by streams. It was a pure ash, distinctly wind-borne, containing no sand, no clay. He said that some woolly-mammoth bones had been found not far away, and witl1 them as a minor exception this ash marked the only firm Pleistocene date in an area of twenty thousand square miles. After settling, it had zakelijke energie vergelijken not consolidated-as volcanic ash sometimes will, forming welded tuff. (The Vesuvian air-fall ash that settled on Pompeii also flew too high to weld. Rising rapidly like smoke, it actually pooled up against the stratosphere. Pliny said it looked like a flattopped Italian pine. The geologic term for such an event is “Plinian eruption.”) A couple of hundred miles northwest of us were the paint pots and fumaroles, the geysers and calderas of Yellowstone. Love said that this Lava Creek ash represented one of the great outpourings in Yellowstone history. The hail now was pelting us. It collected like roe on the brim of his Stetson. Love seemed to regard it as a form of light rain, as something that would not last even for six hundred thousand nanoseconds and was therefore beneath notice. Most zakelijke energie volcanoes and related phenomena-most manifestations of the sort represented by the surface history of Yellowstone-are lined up along boundaries of the twenty-odd plates that collectively compose the earth’s outer shell. The plates, which are something like a sixtieth of the earth’s radius, slide around on a layer of the mantle hot enough to be lubricious. Where plates spread apart (the Red Sea, the mid-Atlantic), fresh magma wells up to fill the gap. Where plates slide by one another (San Francisco, Jericho), the ground is tom and walls collapse.

A travelling salesman

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Their first child was a little white-haired kid named Frances, who arrived in Centralia, Illinois, where her father was based while he worked for Shell. Centralia was as rough as a frontier town, but “gone sour.” Much of what happened there offended David’s sense of fair play. In his words: “It was a boomtown, full of run-out seed. There hadn’t been a fair killing there since i823.” There was union trouble. The hod carriers were trying to organize the oil drillers. The drillers resisted, and had no intention of paying what they regarded as tribute. The hod carriers attacked. They scalped a driller with a hunting knife and then broke his bones with hammers. “That was macho stuff, to them,” David comments. “They played rough. They were a mean bunch of bastards.” In some of the towns he visited were signs that said “No DOGS OR OILMEN.” He posed as a travelling salesman. In Tennessee, he was sometimes mistaken zakelijke energie vergelijken for a revenue agent, which could have led to an unpleasant fate. And on one occasion he was taken for a railroad detective by some fugitives from the law. Jane happened to be vvith him, and as they made their way along the tracks, pausing like detectives to examine the rock, the fugitives-who had dumped into a railroad cut a corpse that had needed killing-were watching from the woods. They drew beads with their rifles but held their fire. They didn’t want to include Jane. Eventually, David learned all this from the fugitives themselves, and he asked them if they were not made uneasy by the discovery that they might have killed an innocent man. They gave him a jug of sorghum. In the evening in Centralia, David zakelijke energie could read his newspaper by the light of gas flares over the oil fields. The company was burning off the gas because, at the time, it lacked economic value. This impinged his Scottish temper. “I don’t consider that good stewardship,” he explains. “We’re stewards here-of land and resources. If you gut the irreplaceable resources, you’re not doing your job. There were thousands of flares in Centralia. You could see them for a hundred miles.” He was troubled as well by the secrecy of the oil company, which was otherwise an agreeable employer. As a scientist, he believed in the open publication of research, and meanwhile his work was being locked in a safe for the benefit of one commercial interest. Moreover, he moved around so much that in the first two years of his daughter’s life she had been in thirteen states, while he was “looking for oil for some damn fool to bum up on the road.” With Jane, he reached an obvious conclusion: “There has to be more to life than this.”

The cowboys

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We always watched the killing with horror and curiosity, although we were never permitted to participate at that age. It seemed so sad and so irrevocable to see the gushing blood when throats were cut, the desperate gasps for breath through severed windpipes, the struggle for and the rapid ebbing of life, the dimming and glazing of wide terrified eyes. We realized and accepted the fact that this was one of the procedures that were a part of our life on the range and that other lives had to be sacrificed to feed us. Throat-cutting, however, became a symbol of immediate death in our young minds, the ultimate horror, so zakelijke energie dreadful that we tried not to use the word “throat.”
He has written a recollection of the cowboys, no less frank in its bequested fact, and quite evidently the work of the son of his mother.
The cowboys and horse runners who drifted in to the ranch in everincreasing numbers as the spring advanced were lean, very strong, hard
muscled, taciturn bachelors, nearly all in their twenties and early thirties. They had been born poor,· had only rudimentary education, and accepted their lot without resentment. They worked days that knew no hour limitations but only daylight and dark, and weeks that had no holidays. . . . Most were homely, with prematurely lined faces but with lively eyes that missed little. None wore glasses; people with glasses went into other kinds of work. Many were already stooped from chronic saddle-weariness, bowlegged, hip-sprung, with unrepaired hernias that required trusses, and spinal injuries that zakelijke energie vergelijken required a “hanging pole” in the bunkhouse. This was a horizontal bar from which the cowboys would hang by their hands for 5-10 minutes to relieve pressure on ruptured spinal disks that came from too much bronc-fighting. Some wore eight-inch-wide heavy leather belts to keep their kidneys in place during prolonged hard rides.
When in a sense it was truly church time-when cowboys were badly injured and in need of help-they had long since learned where to go. David vividly remembers a moment in his education which was truncated when a cowboy rode up holding a bleeding hand. He had been roping a wild horse, and one of his fingers had become caught between the lariat and the saddle horn. The finger was still a part of his hand but was hanging by two tendons. His mother boiled water, sterilized a pair of surgical scissors, and scrubbed her hands and arms. With magisterial nonchalance, she “snipped the tendons, dropped the finger into the hot coals of the fire box, sewed a flap of skin over the stump, smiled sweetly, and said: ‘Joe, in a month you’ll never lmow the difference.'”

Excavation

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To the north and south of it, excavation has been deep and wide, and the mountain front is of formidable demeanor. Yet this one piece of the Great Plains-extremely narrow but still intact-extends like a finger and, as ever, touches the mountain core: the pink deroofed Precambrian granite, the top of the range. At this place, as nowhere else, you can step off the Great Plains directly onto a Rocky Mountain summit. It is known to geologists as the gangplank. Now the Bronco began to rise through the snow, and Love remarked that we were on the gangplank. The land fell away on either side, and in the low visibility we seemed indeed to be on a plank going up into the sky. As we continued to climb, the strip of earth became narrower and narrower. We pulled over onto the shoulder, shut off the motor, and squinted. We appeared to be on a bridge-built of disassembled Rockies and travelled ash-crossing a great excavation through Rapping veils of snow. “There are twelve inches of precipitation per annum here, and it’s mostly snow,” he said. “The mean zakelijke energie vergelijken temperature is thirty-eight degrees. The growing season is less than ninety days. Conditions are about the same in this part of Wyoming as at the Arctic Circle.” With that, we gave up the geology and crawled off to his home in Laramie, defeated by the snow. We went back to the gangplank in clear weather. It was half a mile long. To the north and south, the land fell away along the mountain front in profound excavation of the sediments that once had been there. The excavation had exposed the broken, upturned ends of Pennsylvanian sandstones, dipping steeply eastward and leaning on the mountains. They rested there like lumber stood against a barn. These red sandstones lean against the Laramie Range on both sides. By themselves, they tell the story of the Laramide Orogeny, for they are a part of what was deroofed. They are a part of the zakelijke energie Paleozoic package that once rested Rat on the deep Precambrian granite. They are thought by some to have been Pennsylvanian beach sands. Whatever they may have been, they were indubitably horizontal, and for roughly two hundred and fifty million years remained horizontal while layer after layer of sediment accumulated above them, finally including the floors of the Cretaceous seas.

The “chiffonier”

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The “chiffonier” in her room was a stack of boxes covered with muslin curtains. There was “a washstand for private individual use.” There was a mirror a foot square. On her walls were Sargent and Gainsborough prints, and pictures of Ethel Barrymore and Psyche.
In the western outskirts of Rawlins, David Love pulled over onto the shoulder of the interstate, the better to fix the scene, although his purpose in doing so was not at all apparent. Rawlins reposed among low hills and prairie flats, and nothing in its setting would ever lift the stock of Eastman Kodak. In those western outskirts, we may have been scarcely a mile from the county courthouse, but we were very much back on the range-a dispassionate world of bare rock, brown grass, drab green patches of greasewood, and scattered colonies of sage. The interstate had lithified in i965 as white concrete but was kantoor per uur almere now dark with the remains of ocean algae, cremated and sprayed on the road. To the south were badlands-gullies and gulches, erosional debris. To the north were some ridgelines that ended sharply, like breaking waves, but the Rawlins Uplift had miserably fallen short in its bid to be counted among the Rocky Mountains. So why was David Love, who had the geologic map of Wyoming in his head, stopping here? The rock that outcropped around Rawlins, he said, contained a greater spread of time than any other suite of exposed rocks along Interstate So between New York and San Francisco. We were looking at many moments in well over half the existence of the earth, and we were seeing-as it happened-a good deal more time than one sees in the walls of the Grand Canyon, where the kantoor per uur amsterdam clock stops at the rimrock, aged two hundred and fifty million years. The rock before us here at Rawlins reached back into the Archean Eon and up to the Miocene epoch. Any spendthrift with a camera could aim it into that scene and-in a two-hundred-and-fiftieth of a second at f/16-capture twenty-six hundred million years. The most arresting thing in the picture, however, would be Rawlins’ municipal standpipe-that white, squat water-storage tank over there on the hill. The hill, though, was Archean granite and Cambrian sandstone and Mississippian limestone. If you could have taken pictures when they were forming, the collection would be something to see. There would be a deep and uncontinented ocean sluggish with amorphous scums (above cooling invisible magmas).

Hyperion

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They would meet, like as not, at “Parker’s” in Boston, in a room looking out on City Hall. “Agassiz always sat at the head of the table by native right of his large good-fellowship and intense enjoyment of the scene,” his friend Sam Ward eventually recalled. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow generally sat at the other end, with Oliver Wendell Holmes on his right. Holmes preferred his windowlight over the shoulder. On around the table were James Russell Lowell, John Greenleaf Whittier, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Henry Dana, Jr., Ebenezer Hoar, Benjamin Peirce, Charles Eliot Norton, and James co-working space almere Elliot Cabot, among others. Agassiz, with a glass of wine at his elbow, would sometimes conduct the conversation with two lighted cigars, one in each hand. Holmes said of him that he had “the laugh of a big giant.” Longfellow was relieved and pleased when Agassiz told him he liked the description of the glacier in “Hyperion.” Emerson in his journal described Agassiz as “a broad-featured unctuous man, fat and plenteous.” Sir Charles Lyell was invited, on his visits to America. United States Senator Charles Sumner was occasionally present as well. Agassiz was indifferent to him, because Sumner showed too much interest in politics. The group was co-working space amsterdam known as Agassiz’s Club, more officially as the Saturday Club. One summer, when the club went off to the Adirondacks on a camping trip, Longfellow refused to go, because Emerson was taking a gun.

The direction

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The direction of the structure lies across the direction of scrubbing. In the Paleozoic era, when the tectonic washboard was made and repeatedly lifted from the east, falling rainwater, gathering in streams, found its way westward across the ribs. With the coming of the Atlantic-the Mesozoic split-the principal drainages of the American East at first continued to flow toward the Midwest. A part of the plate-tectonic story is that a great deal of heat accompanies tectonic rifting and the heat lifts the two sides of the rift like trapdoors facing each other. The shores of the Red Sea look like that. On both sides are mountains, nine, ten, twelve thousand feet high. Extremely short steep rivers fall into the Red Sea. Principal drainages-the intermittent rivers of Arabia-run co-working space almere eastward almost from the east shore many hundreds of miles, and from near the west shore Egyptian rivers run west to the Nile. The world’s mid-ocean ridges-the spreading centers of plate tectonics -are configured like the rift of the Red Sea. Typically, the two sides are of gentle pitch, and gradually rise six thousand feet higher than the flanking abyssal plains. Groovelike down the ridgelines run submarine rift valleys. Into the rift valleys of eastern Africa pour extremely short steep rivers, while long ones, like the Congo, rise close to the rift but flow away westward a thousand miles to the sea. It was the discovery and confirmation of spreading centers that opened the story of plate tectonics-and this is still the aspect of the theory that provokes the least debate. Eastern America, in Jurassic time, gradually subsided. The present explanation would be that as the ocean grew wider and the heat of the spreading center became more co-working space rotterdam distant, the region cooled like a collapsing souffle, while the weight of water and accumulating sediments also pressed down on the continental shelf. In any case, the broad package of land that had tilted northwestward for approximately three hundred million years now seesawed and began again to tilt the other way. Rivers turned around, pooled temporarily against the ribs of the washboard, and ran over them, seeking weaknesses in the rock. Anew, the running water began to etch out the country. It was a process analogous to photoengraving, wherein acid differentially eats pictures into treated sheets of metal.

In the South

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The ice on Antarctica, six million square miles, is also (generally) two miles thick. “You get ice caps when you have landmasses in the polar positions,” Anita went on. “The only thing worse would be if the Siberian landmass were sitting over the North Pole. Then, God help us, things would be really bad. As it is, the sea ice at the North Pole is only six feet thick. It takes a continent to support a really heavy sheet of ice. If the ice of Greenland and Antarctica were to melt now, sea level would go up at least a hundred feet. Think what the water would cover. Half the cities in the world. In the South, you can be three hundred miles from the coast and only Bfty feet above sea level. Through most of co-working space almere time, the earth has been without ice caps. Twenty thousand years ago, when there was much more ice than there is now, the sea was three hundred feet lower. The coast was more than a hundred miles east of New York. You could have walked to the edge of the continental shelf. Baltimore Canyon, Hudson Canyon were exposed in the open air.” Outside the automobile window were three landscapes, trifocal, occupying separate levels in time and mind. Latently pictured in the rock beside the road was the epicratonic sea of three hundred and twenty million years ago, with the Cincinnatia Islands off to the west somewhere, in what is known to geologists as Ohio Ba). There was also evidence of tl1e deep ice of co-working space amsterdam twenty thousand years ago, with its lobate front some distance to the south, near Canton, Massillon, and Wooster. And there was, of course, the slightly rumpled surface of the modern state of Ohio, looking like a bedspread on which some, one had taken a nap, Not nearly as flat as the rock below was the undulating interstate, where diesel exhausts were pluming and Winnebagos were yawing in the wind. “The goal of many geologists is to make time-lapse maps of earth history,” Anita remarked. “Look at topographic maps from just a hundred years ago for coastal areas of low relief, and the changes are tremendous.” We went through a ten-metre roadcut of massive sandstone so rich in iron it had rusted the road. Being tough by comparison with its neighboring rock, it stood high and formed a hill, and hence it had been blasted to convenience the interstate. “That is one hell of a sandstone,” Anita said with enthusiasm, seeing in it something I could not discern.

Sledgehammer

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She swung full force with her sledgehammer. The stone did not crack. “This profession is very physical,” she complained, and belted the outcrop again. Her knees sometimes turn black-and-blue when she carries samples down from mountains. She once handed a suitcase to a Greyhound bus driver who said, “What have you got in here, baby -rocks?” She was content to have them ride in the baggage compartment. A geologist I know in California would be unnerved by that. When conference room almere he travels home from far parts of the world, he buys two airline seats-one for himself and one for his rocks. We passed Limestoneville. We crossed Limestone Run and the West Branch of the Susquehanna, and now the road was running in a deep crease, a V with sides of about twelve hundred vertical feet: White Deer Ridge and Nittany Mountain-quartzites of early Silurian age, shed west from the Taconic Orogeny. There were quartzite boulders all through the steep woods but a notable absence of outcrops, of roadcuts, of exposures of any kind. In fact, with the exception of the limestones she had collected, we were not seeing much rock to write home about, and Anita was becoming impatient. “No wonder I never did geology in this part of Pennsylvania,” she said. “There are no exposures-just conference room amsterdam colluvium lying in the woods.” Multiple ridges were squeezed in close here. Characteristically, the interstate would yield to the country, to the southwestward sweep of the corrugated mountains, as it ran in a valley under a flanking ridge, biding its time for a gap. One would soon appear-not a national landmark with a history of landscape painters and lovestruck Indians, but a water gap, nonetheless-sliced clean through the ridge. Like a fullback finding a hole in the line, the road would cut right and go through. On the far side, it would break into the clear again, veering southwestward in another valley, gradually moving over toward the next long ridge. There would be another gap. Small streams had cut countless gaps. All within twenty miles of one another, for example, were Bear Gap in Buffalo Mountain, Green Gap in Nittany Mountain, Fryingpan Gap in Naked Mountain, Fourth Gap in White Deer Ridge, Third Gap, Second Gap, First Gap, Schwenks Gap, Spruce Gap, Stony Gap, Lyman Gap, Black Gap, McMurrin Gap, Frederick Gap, Bull Run Gap, and Glen Cabin Gap-among others.