“This would be a beautiful place to measure the thickness of the section,” Anita said. “It’s completely exposed. It’s consistent. There are no faults. The thin green bands are where deposition was too rapid for oxidation to take place.” Evidence of geologists was everywhere. They had painted numbers and letters on the rock. They had removed countless paleomagnetic plugs. The bedding, seen close, was not monotonously even, as rock would be that formed in still water. Instead, it was full of the migrating channels, feathery crossbedding, natural levees, and overbank deposits of its thoroughly commemorated river. There were little maroon mud flakes. They were plucked off flats in a storm. We went back a few miles and slowly reviewed the rock. When again we approached the huge roadcut, Anita said, “In Illinois, this would be a state park.”
The bedding planes of the Holy Toledo cut, as I would ever after refer to those enormous walls of red stone, were dipping to co-working space rotterdam the east. Over the past few miles, the rock of the country had been folded ninety degrees. To the immediate west, therefore, we would be goiilg down in time and predictably would descend in space to a Cambra-Ordovician carbonate valley, which is what happened, as the road fell away bending left and down into Nittany Valley, where ribs of dolomite protruded here and there among rich-looking pastures turning green, gentle streamcourses, white farms. “Penn State sits on Nittany dolomite,” Anita said. “Ifs twenty miles down this valley.” Some remnant Cambrian sandstone formed a blister in the valley. The interstate drifted around it in a westerly way and toward the foot of still another endless mountain-Bald Eagle, the last ridge of the deformed Appalachians. After the co-working space amsterdam Cambrian sandstone, the Ordovician dolomite, there was Silurian quartzite in the gap that broke through the mountain. Its strata dipped steeply west.
There were, to be sure, certain anomalies, which suggested further study. If the Brevard Zone was the suture, how come it was so short? It was evident for a hundred miles, dubious for a few hundred more, and nonexistent after that. If the Taconic, Acadian, and Alleghenian orogenies were subdivisional impacts of a single intercontinental collision, how come they took so long? In plate-tectonic theory, plates move at differing speeds, the average being two inches a year. The successive orogenic pulses that resulted in what we know as the Appalachian Mountains occurred across a period of about two hundred and fifty million years. In two hundred and conference room rotterdam fifty million years, at two inches a year, you can move landmasses a third of the way around the world. Geologists ordinarily require vast stretches of time to account for their theories. In this case, they have too much time. They have two continents in the act of collision for two hundred and fifty million years. In i972, scarcely four years after the lithospheric plates had first been identified and the theory that described them had become news in the world, Anita and two co-authors published a set of papers offering strong evidence of plate tectonics in action, apparent proof that Sweden, or something like it, had once been in Pennsylvania. It was an inference drawn from conodont paleontology. The papers were widely cited for their support of plate-tectonic theory, and are cited still. North of Reading, in the Great Valley of the Appalachians, Anita had found early Ordovician conodonts of a type previously unknown in North America but virtually identical with early Ordovician conodonts from the rock of Scandinavia. All over conference room amsterdam North America were early Ordovician conodonts from tropical and subtropical seas. Their counterparts in Scandinavia were from cooler water, and so were these strangers Anita found in Pennsylvania. She found them in what is known as an exotic block, embedded in a fartravelled thrust sheet.
American whites in eastern cities formed societies in his name, and called him St. Tammany, the nation’s patron saint. Penn’s fondness for tl1e Lenape was the product of his admiration. Getting along with the Lenape was not difficult. They were accommodating, intelligent, and peaceful. The Indians revered Penn as well. He kept his promises, paid his way, and was fair. Under the elms of Shakamaxon, the pledge was made that Pennsylvania and the Lenape would be friends “as long as the sun will shine and the rivers flow with water.” Penn outlined his needs for land. It was agreed that he should have some country west of the co-working space rotterdam Lenape River. The tracts were to be defined by the distance a man could walk in a prescribed time-typically one day, or twoat an easygoing pace, stopping for lunch, for the odd smoke, as was the Lenape manner. In camaraderie, the Penn party and the Indians gave it up somewhere in Bucks County. Penn went home to England. He died in i718. About fifteen years later, Penn’s son Thomas, a businessman who had a lawyer’s grasp of grasping, appeared from England with a copy of a deed he said his father had transacted, exten4ing his lands to the no1th by a day and a halfs walk. He made it known to a new generation of Lenape, who had never heard of it, and demanded that they acquiesce in the completion of-as it came to be called-the Walking Purchase. With his brothers, John and Richard, he advertised for participants. He offered five hundred acres of land for the fleetest feet in Pennsylvania. In effect, he hired three marathon runners. When the day came-September ig, i737-the Lenape complained. They could not keep up. But they co-working space amsterdam followed. Their forebears had made a bargain. The white men “walked” sixtyfive miles, well into the Poconos. Even so blatant an affront might in time have been accepted by the compliant tribe. But now the brothers made an explosive mistake. Their new terrain logically required a northern boundary.
She thought at first there was something wrong with her samples, but her adviser told her that in all likelihood the blackness was merely the result of pressures attendant when the limestone or dolomite was being deformed. He did not encourage her to make a formal study of the matter, and she returned to her absorptions with conodont biostratigraphy. On one of her trips east, she crossed New York State, collecting dolomite and limestone all the way. From Lake Erie to the Catskills, New York State is a cake of Devonian rock, lying flat in a swath sixty miles wide. You can travel across it chipping off rock of the same approximate age, and not just any old Devonian samples-for the Devonian period covers forty-six million yearsbut, say, limestone flexplek huren rotterdam and dolomite from the Gedinnian age, which is seven million years of early Devonian, or even from the Helderbergian stage of middle Gedinnian time. For as much as a hundred and fifty miles, you could follow a line of time no broader than three million years. You could cut it that fine. Anita did something of the sort, and crushed the rocks at Ohio State. She noticed that the conodonts were amber in Erie County, tan in Schuyler and Steuben. They were cordovan in Tioga and Broome. In Albany County, they were dark as pitch. She wondered what the colors might be suggesting about the geologic history of the region. Nothing much, her adviser assured her. The colors were the results of tectonic pressures. It had been just a passing thought. She let it go, and went back to work on her thesis, which would be titled “Stratigraphy and Conodont Paleontology of Upper Silurian and Lower Devonian Rocks of New Jersey, Southeastern New York, and Eastern Pennsylvania.” She was documenting subtle evolutionary differences in conodonts close to the Silurian-Devonian boundary, a point in time just over four hundred million years ago. And, arranging her microfossils in chronicle form, she was differentiating and cataloguing in time the units of rock from which they had flexplek huren amsterdam been removed. This in turn would help her to understand the structure of the country in which she had picked up the rock. Conodont colors faded in her mind. By ig66, having completed their course work at Ohio State, Anita and Jack Epstein had returned to work for the Geological Survey-he to concentrate on northern-Appalachian geology and she to take what she could get, which was a map-editing job in Washington. She would have preferred to work on conodonts, but the federal budget at that time covered only one conodont worker, and someone else had the job. Before long, she had become general editor of all geologic mapping taking place east of the Mississippi River. She dealt with hundreds of geologists.
“This would be a good place for a golf course,” Anita remarked, and scarcely had she uttered the words than-after driving two thousand yards on down the road with a dogleg to the left-we were running parallel to the fairways of a clonic Gleneagles, a duplicated Dumfries, a faxed Blairgowrie, four thousand miles from Dumfriesshire and Perthshire, but with natural bunkers and traps of glacial sand, with hummocky roughs and undulating fairways, with kettle depressions, kettle lakes, and other chaotic hazards. “If you want a golf course, go to a glacier” is the message according to Anita Harris. “Golf was invented on the moraines, the eskers, the pitted outwash plains-the glacial topography-of Scotland,” she explained. “All over the world, when people make golf courses they are copying glacial landscapes. They are trying to make countryside that looks like this. I’ve seen bulldozers copying Scottish moraines in flexplek huren zwolle places like Louisiana. It’s laughable.” On warm afternoons in summer, the meltwater rivers that pour from modem glaciers become ferocious and unfordable, like the Suiattle, in Washington, coming down from Glacier Peak, like the
Yentna, in Alaska, falling in tumult from the McKinley massif. Off the big ice sheets of the Pleistocene have come many hundreds of Suiattles and Yentnas, most of which are gone now, leaving their works behind. The rivers have built outwash plains beyond the glacial fronts, sorting and smoothing miscellaneous sizes of rock-moving cobbles farther than boulders, and gravels farther than cobbles, and sands farther than gravels, and silt grains farther than sandsthen gradually losing power, and filling up interstices with groutings of clay. Enormous chunks of ice frequently broke off the retreating glaciers and were left behind. The rivers built around them containments of gravel and clay. Like big, buried Easter eggs, the ice sat there and slowly melted. When it was gone, depressions were left in the ground, pitting the outwash plains. The flexplek huren arnhem depressions have the shapes of kettles, or at least have been so described, and “kettle” is a term in geology. All kettles contained water for a time, and some contain water still. Rivers that developed under glaciers ran in sinuous grooves. Rocks and boulders coming out of the ice fell into the rivers, building thick beds contained between walls of ice. When the glacier was gone, the riverbeds were left as winding hills. The early Irish called them eskers, meaning pathways, because they used them as means of travel above detentive bogs.
The seafloor goes down four hundred miles after it goes into the trenches. On the way down, some of it melts, loses density, and-white-hot and turbulent-rises toward the surface of the earth, where it emerges as volcanoes, or stops below as stocks and batholiths, laccoliths and sills. Most of the volcanoes of the world are lined up behind the ocean trenches. Almost all earthquakes are movements of the boundaries of plates -shallow earthquakes at the trailing edges, where the plates are separating and new material is coming in, shallow earthquakes along the sides, where one plate is ruggedly sliding past another (the San Andreas Fault), and earthquakes of any depth down to four hundred miles below and flexplek huren rotterdam beyond the trenches where plates are consumed (Japan, i923; Chile, i960; Alaska, i964; Mexico, i985). A seismologist discovered that deep earthquakes under a trench had occurred on a plane that was inclined forty-five degrees into the earth. As ocean floors reach trenches and move on down into the depths to be consumed, the average angle is something like that. Take a knife and cut into an orange at forty-five degrees. To cut straight down would be to produce a straight incision in the orange. If the blade is tilted forty-five degrees, the incision becomes an arc on the surface of the orange. If the knife blade melts inside, little volcanoes will come up through the pores of the skin, and together they will form arcs, island arcs-Japan, New Zealand, the Philippines, the New Hebrides, the flexplek huren amsterdam Lesser Antilles, the Kurils, the Aleutians. Where a trench happens to run along the edge of a continent and subducting seafloor dives under the land, the marginal terrain will rise. The two plates, pressing, will create mountains, and volcanoes will appear as well. The Peru-Chile Trench is right up against the west coast of South America.
It was dawn at the summit. We had been awake for hours and had eaten a roadhouse breakfast sitting by a window in which the interior of the room was reflected against the black of the morning outside while a television mounted on a wall behind us resounded with the hoofbeats of the great horse Silver. The Lone Ranger. Five A.M. CBS’s good morning to Nevada. Waiting for bacon and eggs, I put two nickels in a slot machine and got two nickels back. The result was a certain radiance of mood. Deffeyes, for his part, was thinking today in troy ounces. It would take a whole lot more than two nickels to produce a similar effect on him. Out for silver, he was zakelijke energie heading into the hills, but first, in his curiosity, he walked the interstate roadcut, now and again kicking a can. The November air was in frost. He seemed to be smoking his breath. He remarked that the mean distance between beer cans across the United States along I-80 seemed to be about one metre. Westward, tens of hundreds of square miles were etched out by the early light: basins, ranges, and-below us in the deep foreground-Paradise Valley, the village Golconda, sinuous stands of cottonwood at once marking and concealing the Humboldt. The whole country seemed to be steaming, vapors rising from warm ponds and hot springs. The roadcut was long, high, and benched. It was sandstone, for the most part, but at its lower, westernmost end the blasting had exposed a dark shale that had been much deformed and somewhat metamorphosed, the once even bedding now wiinkled and mashed-rock folded up like wet laundry. “You can spend hours doping out one of these shattered places, just milling around trying to find out what’s going on,” Deffeyes said cautiously, but he was fairly sure he knew what had happened, for the sandstone that lay above contained many volcanic fragments and was full of zakelijke energie vergelijken sharp-edged grains of chert and quartz, highly varied in texture, implying to him a volcanic source and swift deposition into the sea (almost no opportunity for streams to have rounded off the grains), implying, therefore, an island arc standing in deep water on a continental margin-an Aleutian chain, a Bismarck Archipelago, a Lesser Antilles, a New Zealand, a Japan, thrust upon and overlapping the established continent, a piece of which was that mashed-up shale.
Hutton’s perseverance, though, was more than equal to the irksome vegetation. Near Jedburgh, in the border country, he found his first very good example of an angular unconformity. He was roaming about the region on a visit to a friend when he came upon a stream cutbank where high water had laid bare the flat-lying sandstone and, below it, beds of schistus that were standing zakelijke energie straight on end. His friend John Clerk later went out and sketched for Hutton this clear conjunction of three worlds-the oldest at the bottom, its remains tilted upward, the intermediate one a flat collection of indurated sand, and the youngest a landscape full of fences and trees with a phaeton-and-two on a road above the rivercut, driver whipping the steeds, rushing through a moment in the there and then. “I was soon satisfied with regard to this phenomenon,” Hutton wrote later, “and rejoiced at my good fortune in stumbling upon an object so interesting to the natural history of the earth, and which I had been long looking for in vain.” What was of interest to the natural history of the earth was that, for all the time they represented, these two unconforming formations, these two levels of history, were neighboring steps on a ladder of uncountable rungs. Alive in a world that thought of itself as six thousand years old, a society which had placed in that number the outer limits of its grasp of time, Hutton had no way of lmowing that there were seventy million years just in the line that separated the two kinds of rock, and many millions more in the story of each formation-but he sensed something like it, sensed the awesome truth, and as he stood there staring at the riverbank he was seeing it for all humankind. To confirm what he had observed and to involve further witnesses, he got into a boat the following spring and went along the coast of Berwickshire with John Playfair and young James Hall, of Dunglass. Hutton had surmised from the regional geology that they would come to a place among the terminal cliffs of the Lammermuir Hills where the zakelijke energie vergelijken same formations would touch. They touched, as it turned out, in a headland called Siccar Point, where the strata of the lower formation had been upturned to become vertical columns, on which rested the Old Red Sandstone, like the top of a weatherbeaten table. Hutton, when he eventually described the scene, was both gratified and succinct-“a beautiful picture …w ashed bare by the sea.” Playfair was lyrical:
I have seen the salt lake incredibly beautiful [in winter dusk under snow-streamer curtains of cloud moving fast through the sky, with the wall of the Wasatch a deep rose and the lake islands rising from what seemed to be rippled slate. All of that was now implied by the mysterious shapes in the foreshortening snow. I didn’t mind the snow. One June day, moreover, with Karen Kleinspehn-on her way west for summer field work-I stopped in the1 Wasatch for a picnic of fruit and cheese beside a clear Pyrenean stream rushing white .over cobbles of quartzite and zakelijke energie sandstone through a green upland meadow-cattle in the meadow, cottonwoods llong the banks of this clear, fresh, suggestively confident, vitally ignorant river, talking so profusely on its way to its fate, which was to move among paradisal mountain landscapes until, through a termihal canyon, the Great Basin drew it in. No outlet. Three such rivers feed the Great Salt Lake. It does indeed consume them. Descending, we ourselves went through a canyon so narrow that the Union Pacific Railroad was in the median of the interstate and on into an even steeper canyon laid out as if for skiing in a hypnotizing rhythm of christiania turns under high walls of rose-brick Nugget sandstone and brittle shattered marine limestone covered with scrub oaks. “Good God, we are dropping out of the sky,” said Kleinspehn, hands on the wheel, plunging through the big sheer roadcuts, one of which suddenly opened to distance, presented the Basin and Range. ” ‘This is the place.’ ” “You can imagine how he felt.” In the foreground was the alabaster city, with its expensive neighborhoods strung out along the Wasatch Fault, getting ready to jump fifteen feet. In the distance were the Oquirrhs, the Stansburys, the lake. Sunday afternoon and the Mormons were out on the flats by the water in folding chairs at collapsible tables, end to end like refectory tables, twenty people down to dinner, with acres of beachflat all to zakelijke energie vergelijken themselves and seagulls around them like sacred cows. To go swimming, we had to walk first-several hundred yards straight out, until the water was ankle-deep. Then we lay down on our backs and floated. I have never been able to float. When I took the Red Cross tests, age nine to fifteen, my feet went down and I hung in the water with my chin wrenched up like something off Owl Creek Bridge. I kicked, slyly kicked to push my mouth above the surface and breathe. I could not truly float. Now I tried a backstroke and, like some sort of hydrofoil, went a couple of thousand feet on out over the lake.
All over the world, so much carbon was buried in Pennsylvanian time that the oxygen pressure in the atmosphere quite possibly doubled. There is more speculation than hypothesis in this, but what could the oxygen do? Where could it go? After carbon, the one other thing it could oxidize in great quantity was iron-abundant, pale-green ferrous iron, which exists everywhere, in fully five per cent of crustal rock; and when ferrous iron takes on oxygen, it turns a ferric red. That may have been what happened-in time that followed the Pennsylvanian. Permian rock is generally red. Red beds on an epic scale are the signs of the Triassic, when the earth in its zakelijke energie vergelijken rutilance may have outdone Mars. As you come off the red flats to cross western Utah, two hundred and ten million years before the present, you travel in the dark, there being not one grain of evidence to suggest its Triassic appearance, no paleoenvironmental clue. Ahead, though, in eastern Nevada, is a line of mountains that are much of an age with the peaks of New Jersey-a little rounded, beginning to show age-and after you climb them and go down off their western slopes you discern before you the white summits of alpine fresh terrain, of new rough mountains rammed into thin air, with snow banners flying off the matterhorns, iidges, crests, and spurs. You are in central Nevada, about four hundred miles east of San Francisco, and after you have climbed these mountains you look out upon (as it appears in present theory) open sea. You drop swiftly to the coast, and then move on across moderately profound water full of pelagic squid, water that is quietly accumulating the sediments which-ages in the future-will become the roof rock of tlrn iising Sierra. Tall volcanoes are standing in the sea. Then, at roughly the point where the Sierran foothills will end and the Great Valley will begin-at Auburn, Californiayou move beyond the shelf and over deep ocean. There are probably zakelijke energie some islands out there somewhere, but fundamentally you are
Book 1: Basin and Range crossing above ocean crustal floor that reaches to the China Sea. Below you there is no hint of North America, no hint of the valley or the hills where Sacramento and San Francisco will be.