Best 75 of Geology quotes - MyQuotes
Lailah Gifty Akita
We can only predict the future ecological changes, by emergence of the past into the present.
The rock I'd seen in my life looked dull because in all ignorance I'd never thought to knock it open. People have cracked ordinary New England pegmatite - big, coarse granite - and laid bare clusters of red garnets, or topaz crystals, chrysoberyl, spodumene, emerald. They held in their hands crystals that had hung in a hole in the dark for a billion years unseen. I was all for it. I would lay about me right and left with a hammer, and bash the landscape to bits. I would crack the earth's crust like a piñata and spread to the light the vivid prizes in chunks within. Rock collecting was opening the mountains. It was like diving through my own interior blank blackness to remember the startling pieces of a dream: there was a blue lake, a witch, a lighthouse, a yellow path. It was like poking about in a grimy alley and finding an old, old coin. Nothing was at it seemed. The earth was like a shut eye. Mother's not dead, dear - she's only sleeping. Pry open the thin lid and find a crystalline intelligence inside, a rayed and sidereal beauty. Crystals grew inside rock like arithmetical flowers. They lengthened and spread, adding plane to plane in awed and perfect obedience to an absolute geometry that even the stones - maybe only the stones - understood.
The successive series of stratified formations are piled on one another, almost like courses of masonry.
When I break a rock open with my pick, I'm a prophet. I see the past. I see the future. I know where the world is going, and where it's been. And I always, always want to know more.
Thus identified with astronomy, in proclaiming truths supposed to be hostile to Scripture, Geology has been denounced as the enemy of religion. The twin sisters of terrestrial and celestial physics have thus been joint-heirs of intolerance and persecution—unresisting victims in the crusade which ignorance and fanaticism are ever waging against science. When great truths are driven to make an appeal to reason, knowledge becomes criminal, and philosophers martyrs. Truth, however, like all moral powers, can neither be checked nor extinguished. When compressed, it but reacts the more. It crushes where it cannot expand—it burns where it is not allowed to shine. Human when originally divulged, it becomes divine when finally established. At first, the breath of a rage—at last it is the edict of a god. Endowed with such vital energy, astronomical truth has cut its way through the thick darkness of superstitious times, and, cheered by its conquests, Geology will find the same open path when it has triumphed over the less formidable obstacles of a civilized age.
If I was to establish a system, it would be, that Mountains are produced by Volcanoes, and not Volcanoes by Mountains.
Father Nicholas Steno, is often identified as the father of geology.
The decline of geography in academia is easy to understand: we live in an age of ever-increasing specialization, and geography is a generalist's discipline. Imagine the poor geographer trying to explain to someone at a campus cocktail party (or even to an unsympathetic adminitrator) exactly what it is he or she studies. "Geography is Greek for 'writing about the earth.' We study the Earth." "Right, like geologists." "Well, yes, but we're interested in the whole world, not just the rocky bits. Geographers also study oceans, lakes, the water cycle..." "So, it's like oceanography or hydrology." "And the atmosphere." "Meteorology, climatology..." "It's broader than just physical geography. We're also interested in how humans relate to their planet." "How is that different from ecology or environmental science?" "Well, it encompasses them. Aspects of them. But we also study the social and economic and cultural and geopolitical sides of--" "Sociology, economics, cultural studies, poli sci." "Some geographers specialize in different world regions." "Ah, right, we have Asian and African and Latin American studies programs here. But I didn't know they were part of the geography department." "They're not." (Long pause.) "So, uh, what is it that do study then?
Nevada...a land that is geology by day and astronomy at night
Robert Green Ingersoll
This century will be called Darwin's century. He was one of the greatest men who ever touched this globe. He has explained more of the phenomena of life than all of the religious teachers. Write the name of Charles Darwin on the one hand and the name of every theologian who ever lived on the other, and from that name has come more light to the world than from all of those. His doctrine of evolution, his doctrine of the survival of the fittest, his doctrine of the origin of species, has removed in every thinking mind the last vestige of orthodox Christianity. He has not only stated, but he has demonstrated, that the inspired writer knew nothing of this world, nothing of the origin of man, nothing of geology, nothing of astronomy, nothing of nature; that the Bible is a book written by ignorance--at the instigation of fear. Think of the men who replied to him. Only a few years ago there was no person too ignorant to successfully answer Charles Darwin, and the more ignorant he was the more cheerfully he undertook the task. He was held up to the ridicule, the scorn and contempt of the Christian world, and yet when he died, England was proud to put his dust with that of her noblest and her grandest. Charles Darwin conquered the intellectual world, and his doctrines are now accepted facts. His light has broken in on some of the clergy, and the greatest man who to-day occupies the pulpit of one of the orthodox churches, Henry Ward Beecher, is a believer in the theories of Charles Darwin--a man of more genius than all the clergy of that entire church put together. ...The church teaches that man was created perfect, and that for six thousand years he has degenerated. Darwin demonstrated the falsity of this dogma. He shows that man has for thousands of ages steadily advanced; that the Garden of Eden is an ignorant myth; that the doctrine of original sin has no foundation in fact; that the atonement is an absurdity; that the serpent did not tempt, and that man did not 'fall.' Charles Darwin destroyed the foundation of orthodox Christianity. There is nothing left but faith in what we know could not and did not happen. Religion and science are enemies. One is a superstition; the other is a fact. One rests upon the false, the other upon the true. One is the result of fear and faith, the other of investigation and reason.
It is well known that stone can think, because the whole of electronics is based on that fact, but in some universes men spend ages looking for other intelligences in the sky without once looking under their feet. That is because they've got the time-span all wrong. From stone's point of view the universe is hardly created and mountain ranges are bouncing up and down like organ-stops while continents zip backward and forward in general high spirits, crashing into each other from the sheer joy of momentum and getting their rocks off. It is going to be quite some time before stone notices its disfiguring skin disease and starts to scratch, which is just as well.
The black rock was sharp-edged, hot, and hard as corundum; it seemed not merely alien but impervious to life. Yet on the southern face of almost every rock the lichens grew, yellow, rusty-brown, yellow-green, like patches of dirty paint daubed on the stone.
Even more difficult to explain, than the breaking-up of a single mass into fragments, and the drifting apart of these blocks to form the foundations of the present-day continents, is the explanation of the original production of the single mass, or PANGAEA, by the concentration of the former holosphere of granitic sial into a hemisphere of compressed and crushed gneisses and schists. Creep and the effects of compression, due to shrinking or other causes, have been appealed to but this is hardly a satisfactory explanation. The earth could no more shrug itself out of its outer rock-shell unaided, than an animal could shrug itself out of its hide, or a man wriggle out of his skin, or even out of his closely buttoned coat, without assistance either of his own hands or those of others.
Thomas Henry Huxley
An interesting contrast between the geology of the present day and that of half a century ago, is presented by the complete emancipation of the modern geologist from the controlling and perverting influence of theology, all-powerful at the earlier date. As the geologist of my young days wrote, he had one eye upon fact, and the other on Genesis; at present, he wisely keeps both eyes on fact, and ignores the pentateuchal mythology altogether. The publication of the 'Principles of Geology' brought upon its illustrious author a period of social ostracism; the instruction given to our children is based upon those principles. Whewell had the courage to attack Lyell's fundamental assumption (which surely is a dictate of common sense) that we ought to exhaust known causes before seeking for the explanation of geological phenomena in causes of which we have no experience.
That's the thing about rocks--they don't break easily. When I held them, I wanted to be like them-strong and steady, weathered but not broken.
A million years is a short time - the shortest worth messing with for most problems. You begin tuning your mind to a time scale that is the planet's time scale. For me, it is almost unconscious now and is a kind of companionship with the earth.
In 1988 the German oceanographer Hartmut Heinrich was the first to come up with the firm geological evidence for such a cataclysmic 'iceberg-calving' process during the last Ice Age. By examining deep-sea drill cores sampled at various points across the North Atlantic he demonstrated the existence of widely dispersed layers of 'ice-rafted detritus' -- millions of tonnes of rocks and rocky debris that had once stood on land, that had been clawed up by the ice-sheets and that had ultimately been carried out to sea frozen into huge icebergs: 'As they melted they released rock debris that was dropped into the fine-grained sediments of the ocean floor. Much of this ice-rafted debris consists of limestones similar to those exposed over large areas of eastern Canada today. The Heinrich layers as they have become known, extend 3000 kilometers across the North Atlantic, almost reaching Ireland.' The Heinrich layers record at least six separate discharges of 'stupendous flotillas of ice-bergs' into the North Atlantic -- discharges that are now known, obviously enough, as 'Heinrich Events' and that are thought to have unfolded in concentrated bursts of activity that may, in each case, have lasted less than a century. Because of the progressive thickening of the Heinrich layers towards the western side of the Atlantic and the continuation of this trend into the Labrador Sea in the direction of Hudson Bay, it is obvious to geologists that 'much of the floating ice was sourced from the Laurentide ice-sheet'. However, other debris has been found intermingled in some Heinrich layers that 'could only have come from separate ice-sheets covering not only Canada, but Greenland, Iceland, the British Isles and Scandinavia'. Likewise, research into southern hemisphere ice-caps in the Andes and New Zealand shows that these too 'grew and then collapsed synchronously with the ice-rafting pulses recorded in the North Atlantic'. The implication [...] is that some 'global rather than regional forcing of climate change' must have been at work.
Colorado and Wyoming are America’s highest states, averaging 6,800 feet and 6,700 feet above sea level. Utah comes in third at 6,100 feet, New Mexico, Nevada, and Idaho each break 5,000 feet, and the rest of the field is hardly worth mentioning. At 3,400 feet, Montana is only half as high as Colorado, and Alaska, despite having the highest peaks, is even further down the list at 1,900 feet. Colorado has more fourteeners than all the other U.S. states combined, and more than all of Canada too. Colorado’s lowest point (3,315 feet along the Kansas border) is higher than the highest point in twenty other states. Rivers begin here and flow away to all the points of the compass. Colorado receives no rivers from another state (unless you count the Green River’s’ brief in and out from Utah).Wyoming’s Wind River Range is the only mountain in North America that supplies water to all three master streams of the American West: Missouri, Colorado, and Columbia rivers.
We got a course in picknicking at the university," said Dr. Bourbon. "It's called Geology, but it's really picknicking.
Areas that are densely populated today, Chicago, New York, Manchester, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Berlin, Moscow -- in fact most of North America and northern Europe -- were absolutely uninhabitable due to the fact that they were covered by ice-caps several kilometers thick. Conversely, many areas that are uninhabitable today -- on account of being on the bottom of the sea, or in the middle of hostile deserts such as the Sahara (which bloomed for about 4000 years at the end of the last Ice Age) -- were once (and relatively recently) desirable places to live that were capable of supporting dense populations. Geologists calculate that nearly 5 per cent of the earth's surface -- an area of around 25 million square kilometers or 10 million square miles -- has been swallowed by rising sea-levels since the end of the Ice Age. That is roughly the equivalent to the combined areas of the United States and the whole of South America. It is an area almost three times as large as Canada and much larger than China and Europe combined. What adds greatly to the significance of these lost lands of the last Ice Age is not only their enormous area but also -- because they were coastal and in predominantly warm latitudes -- that they would have been among the very best lands available to humanity anywhere in the world at that time. Moreover, although they represent 5 per cent of the earth's surface today, it is worth reminding ourselves that humanity during the Ice Age was denied useful access to much of northern Europe and North America because of the ice-sheets. So the 25 million square kilometers that were lost to the rising seas add up to a great deal more than 5 per cent of the earth's useful and habitable landspace at that time.
How many times did the sun shine, how many times did the wind howl over the desolate tundras, over the bleak immensity of the Siberian taigas, over the brown deserts where the Earth’s salt shines, over the high peaks capped with silver, over the shivering jungles, over the undulating forests of the tropics! Day after day, through infinite time, the scenery has changed in imperceptible features. Let us smile at the illusion of eternity that appears in these things, and while so many temporary aspects fade away, let us listen to the ancient hymn, the spectacular song of the seas, that has saluted so many chains rising to the light.
In using the present in order to reveal the past, we assume that the forces in the world are essentially the same through all time; for these forces are based on the very nature of matter, and could not have changed. The ocean has always had its waves, and those waves have always acted in the same manner. Running water on the land has ever had the same power of wear and transportation and mathematical value to its force. The laws of chemistry, heat, electricity, and mechanics have been the same through time. The plan of living structures has been fundamentally one, for the whole series belongs to one system, as much almost as the parts of an animal to the one body; and the relations of life to light and heat, and to the atmosphere, have ever been the same as now.
Down here the layers of earth are comforting like blankets. The soil I think of as time. Below the caliche I sift through sediment from thousands of years. Though the sharp desert light above is another world, its pulse courses through me. When the mastodons and ground sloths roamed, its pulse coursed through me. When the Hohokam in the canyon ground my pods in the stone its pulse coursed through me. When the new gatherers of the desert learn again how to live here, its pulse will course through me. And I say, I will be ready if the drought comes. And I say, go deep into the Earth. And I say, go deep into yourself, go deep and be ready.
Push up some mountains. Cut them down. Drown the land under the sea. Push up some more mountains. Cut them down. Push up a third set of mountains, and let the river cut through them. “Unconformity” is the geologic term for an old, eroded land surface buried under younger rock layers. Put your outspread hand over the Carlin Canyon, Nevada unconformity and your fingers span roughly forty million years- the time that it took to bevel down the first set of mountains and deposit the younger layers on top. What is forty million years? Enough time for a small predatory dinosaur to evolve into a bird. Enough time for a four-legged, deer-like mammal to evolve into a whale. And far more than enough time to turn an ape-like creature in eastern Africa into a big-brained biped who can marvel at such things. The Grand Canyon’s Great Unconformity divides 1.7 billion-year-old rock from 550 million-year-old rock, a gap of more than one billion years. One billion years. I earn my salary studying the Earth and teaching its history, but I admit utter helplessness in comprehending such a span. A billion pages like those of this book would stack up more than forty miles. I had lived one bullion seconds a few days before my thirty-second birthday. A tape measure one billion inches long would stretch two-thirds of the way around the Earth. Such analogies hint at what deep time means- but they don’t get us there. “The human mind may not have evolved enough to be able to comprehend deep time," John McPhee once observed, “it may only be able to measure it.
Thomas Henry Huxley
Lyell and Poulett Scrope, in this country, resumed the work of the Italians and of Hutton; and the former, aided by a marvellous power of clear exposition, placed upon an irrefragable basis the truth that natural causes are competent to account for all events, which can be proved to have occurred, in the course of the secular changes which have taken place during the deposition of the stratified rocks. The publication of 'The Principles of Geology,' in 1830, constituted an epoch in geological science. But it also constituted an epoch in the modern history of the doctrines of evolution, by raising in the mind of every intelligent reader this question: If natural causation is competent to account for the not-living part of our globe, why should it not account for the living part?
Earth processes that seem trivially slow in human time can accomplish stunning work in geologic time. Let the Colorado River erode its bed by 1/100th of an inch each year (about the thickness of one of your fingernails.) Multiply it by six million years, and you’ve carved the Grand Canyon. Take the creeping pace of which the continents move (about two inches per year on average, or roughly as fast as your fingernails grow). Stretch that over thirty million years, and a continent will travel nearly 1,000 miles. Stretch that over a few billions years, and continents will have time to wander from the tropics to the poles and back, crunching together to assemble super-continents, break apart into new configurations- and do all of that again several times over. Deep time, it could be said, is Nature’s way of giving the Earth room for its history. The recognition of deep time might be geology’s paramount contribution to human knowledge.
Scientists still do not appear to understand sufficiently that all earth sciences must contribute evidence toward unveiling the state of our planet in earlier times, and that the truth of the matter can only be reached by combing all this evidence. ... It is only by combing the information furnished by all the earth sciences that we can hope to determine 'truth' here, that is to say, to find the picture that sets out all the known facts in the best arrangement and that therefore has the highest degree of probability. Further, we have to be prepared always for the possibility that each new discovery, no matter what science furnishes it, may modify the conclusions we draw.
As relates to life on Earth, the fine structure constant determines how solar radiation is absorbed in our atmosphere, and it also applies to how photosynthesis works in plants.
The ridge of the Lammer-muir hills... consists of primary micaceous schistus, and extends from St Abb's head westward... The sea-coast affords a transverse section of this alpine tract at its eastern extremity, and exhibits the change from the primary to the secondary strata... Dr HUTTON wished particularly to examine the latter of these, and on this occasion Sir JAMES HALL and I had the pleasure to accompany him. We sailed in a boat from Dunglass ... We made for a high rocky point or head-land, the SICCAR ... On landing at this point, we found that we actually trode [sic] on the primeval rock... It is here a micaceous schistus, in beds nearly vertical, highly indurated, and stretching from S.E. to N. W. The surface of this rock... has thin covering of red horizontal sandstone laid over it, ... Here, therefore, the immediate contact of the two rocks is not only visible, but is curiously dissected and laid open by the action of the waves... On us who saw these phenomena for the first time, the impression will not easily be forgotten. The palpable evidence presented to us, of one of the most extraordinary and important facts in the natural history of the earth, gave a reality and substance to those theoretical speculations, which, however probable had never till now been directly authenticated by the testimony of the senses... What clearer evidence could we have had of the different formation of these rocks, and of the long interval which separated their formation, had we actually seen them emerging from the bosom of the deep? ... The mind seemed to grow giddy by looking so far into the abyss of time; and while we listened with earnestness and admiration to the philosopher who was now unfolding to us the order and series of these wonderful events, we became sensible how much farther reason may sometimes go than imagination can venture to follow.
Look, I don't know what you are, but you're more than a geologist, if you are one at all. I've met lots of geologists on different projects like this, and they're all tiny sunburned men with fetishes for geodes. They wear floppy hats and carry baggies for soil samples around with them. ... And geologists don't make rocks disappear like you did the other night. They keep them and build little shrines to them.
The most important evidence for the age of the maps [...] is to be found in those showing the Antarctic, especially in the maps of Mercator, Piri Re'is, and Oronteus Finaeus. All of these maps appear to show the continent at a time when there was a temperate climate there. Some geological evidence, in the form of three sedimentary cores from the bottom of the Ross Sea, has been presented to suggest that such a warm period may indeed have existed there down to about 6,000 years ago.
Thomas Henry Huxley
The tendency to variation in living beings, which all admitted as a matter of fact; the selective influence of conditions, which no one could deny to be a matter of fact, when his attention was drawn to the evidence; and the occurrence of great geological changes which also was matter of fact; could be used as the only necessary postulates of a theory of the evolution of plants and animals which, even if not at once, competent to explain all the known facts of biological science, could not be shown to be inconsistent with any.
Eating Fruit at the Grand Canyon- A song to make death easy Since this great hole in earth is beyond My comprehension and I am hungry, I sit on the rim and eat fruit The colors of the stone i see, Strawberries of iron cliffs, sagebrush melons, white sand apple, grapes The barely purple of the stonewashed slopes, And every color I eat is in my vision, Colonized by my eye, by me and everyone I have known, so vast, so remote, That we can only gaze at ourselves, wondering At our reaches, eat fat fruit while we Grow calm if we can, our folded Rocky interiors pressed upwards through Our throats, side canyons seeming almost Accessible, the grand river of blood Carving us even as we sit, devouring Color that will blush on our skin Nourish us so that we may climb The walls of the interior, bewildered, Tremulous, but observant as we move Down in, one foot, another, careful not to fall, to fall, The fruit fueling us in subtle Surges of color in this vastly deep Where birds make shadow and echo And we have no idea Why we cannot comprehend ourselves, Each other, a place so deep and bright It has no needs and we wonder What we’re doing here on this fragment Of galactic dust, spinning, cradled, Awestruck, momentarily alive.
The green-house gas emission caused by us is the main ingredient in the poisonous cocktail of global warming which will eventually destroy your children.
Half a century ago Ostwald (1910) distinguished classicists and romanticists among the scientific investigators: the former being inclined to design schemes and to use consistently the deductions from working hypotheses; the latter being more fit for intuitive discoveries of functional relations between phenomena and therefore more able to open up new fields of study. Examples of both character types are Werner and Hutton. Werner was a real classicist. At the end of the eighteenth century he postulated the theory of “neptunism,” according to which all rocks including granites, were deposited in primeval seas. It was an artificial scheme, but, as a classification system, it worked quite satisfactorily at the time. Hutton, his contemporary and opponent, was more a romanticist. His concept of 'plutonism' supposed continually recurrent circuits of matter, which like gigantic paddle wheels raise material from various depths of the earth and carry it off again. This is a very flexible system which opens the mind to accept the possible occurrence in the course of time of a great variety of interrelated plutonic and tectonic processes.
The evidence claimed for an impact event includes a charred carbon-rich layer of soil that has been found at some 50 Clovis dated sites across the continent. The layer contains unusual materials (Nano diamonds, metallic micro spherules, carbon spherules, magnetic spherules, iridium, charcoal, soot, and fullerenes enriched in helium-3) interpreted as evidence of an impact event, at the very bottom of the black mat of organic material that marks the beginning of the Younger Dryas. The idea that Earth-based volcanism, or other natural processes, or human activity being responsible has been ruled out.
The earth is a dynamic place [...] with multiple different processes of deposition and erosion under way at all times. You can make guesses based on style and weathering, but fragments of worked stone that have been in the open for an unknown period can't be dated by their archaeological context, because there is none. Carbon-dating organic materials in the sediment in which they were found won't work, either, because they were never entombed and preserved in sediment. And in fact no other objective and widely accepted method of dating can tell us how old they are. For these reasons archaeologists have to discount artifacts found on the surface when coming to any conclusions about the age of a site, even though the artifacts themselves may obviously be ancient.
Unkar Delta at Mile 73 The layers of brick red sandstone, siltstone, and mudstone of the Dox formation deposited a billion years ago, erode easily, giving the landscape an open, rolling character very different that the narrow, limestone walled canyon upstream, both in lithology and color, fully fitting Van Dyke’s description of “raspberry-red color, tempered with a what-not of mauve, heliotrope, and violet.” Sediments flowing in from the west formed deltas, floodplains, and tidal flats, which indurated into these fine-grained sedimentary rocks thinly laid deposits of a restful sea, lined with shadows as precise as the staves of a musical score, ribboned layers, an elegant alteration of quiet siltings and delicious lappings, crinkled water compressed, solidified, lithified.
There is no thrill like the thrill of discovery; no life like the life of a mining camp in the days of its youth. Nevada had known them in full and overflowing measure. The salt of the sea in the blood of a sailor is but a weak and insipid condiment compared with the solution of cyanide, sage and silicate in the blood of the prospector.
Thomas Henry Huxley
Those who are ignorant of Geology, find no difficulty in believing that the world was made as it is; and the shepherd, untutored in history, sees no reason to regard the green mounds which indicate the site of a Roman camp, as aught but part and parcel of the primeval hill-side.
Stephen Jay Gould
Geology gave us the immensity of time and taught us how little of it our own species has occupied.
The Himalayas are the crowning achievement of the Indo-Australian plate. India in the Oligocene crashed head on into Tibet, hit so hard that it not only folded and buckled the plate boundaries but also plowed into the newly created Tibetan plateau and drove the Himalayas five and a half miles into the sky. The mountains are in some trouble. India has not stopped pushing them, and they are still going up. Their height and volume are already so great they are beginning to melt in their own self-generated radioactive heat. When the climbers in 1953 planted their flags on the highest mountain, they set them in snow over the skeletons of creatures that had lived in a warm clear ocean that India, moving north, blanked out. Possibly as much as 20,000 feet below the sea floor, the skeletal remains had turned into rock. This one fact is a treatise in itself on the movements of the surface of the earth. If by some fiat, I had to restrict all this writing to one sentence; this is the one I would choose: the summit of Mount Everest is marine limestone.
I emphasize that my job is not to challenge their personal beliefs but to teach the logic of geology (geo-logic?) - the methods and tools of the discipline that enables us not only to comprehend how the Earth works at present but also to document in detail its elaborate and awe-inspiring history.
Sunrise, Grand Canyon We stand on the edge, the fall Into depth, the ascent Of light revelatory, the canyon walls moving Up out of Shadow, lit Colors of the layers cutting Down through darkness, sunrise as it Passes a Precipitate of the river, its burnt tangerine Flare brief, jagged Bleeding above the far rim for a split Second I have imagined You here with me, watching day’s onslaught Standing in your bones-they seem Implied in the record almost By chance- fossil remains held In abundance in the walls, exposed By freeze and thaw, beautiful like a theory stating Who we are is Carried forward by the x Chromosome down the matrilineal line Recessive and riverine, you like Me aberrant and bittersweet... Riding the high Colorado Plateau as the opposing Continental plates force it over A mile upward without buckling, smooth Tensed, muscular fundament, your bones Yet to be wrapped around mine- This will come later, when I return To your place and time... The geologic cross section Of the canyon Dropping From where I stand, hundreds millions of shades of terra cotta, of copper Manganese and rust, the many varieties of stone- Silt, sand, and slate, even “green River rock...”my body voicing its immense Genetic imperatives, human geology falling away Into a Depth i am still unprepared for The canyon cutting down to The great unconformity, a layer So named by the lack Of any fossil evidence to hypothesize About and date such A remote time by, at last no possible Retrospective certainties... John Barton
Meteorology . . . is quite as “scientific” as geology and far more so than archaeology—it actually makes more use of scientific instruments, computers, and higher mathematics. . . . Yet we laugh at the weatherman every other day; we are not overawed by his impressive paraphernalia, because we can check up on him any time we feel like it: he makes his learned pronouncements—and then it rains or it doesn’t rain. No scientific conclusion is to be trusted without testing—to the extent to which exact sciences are exact they are also experimental sciences; it is in the laboratory that the oracle must be consulted. But the archaeologist is denied access to the oracle. For him there is no neat and definitive demonstration; he is doomed to plod along, everlastingly protesting and fumbling through a laborious, often rancorous running debate that never ends.
The scientific world of the time was in the midst of a terrible ferment, with discoveries and realizations coming at an unseemly rate. To many in the ranks of the conservative and the devout, the new theories of geology and biology were delivering a series of hammer blows to mankind's self-regard. Geologists in particular seemed to have gone berserk, to have thrown off all sense of proper obeisance to their Maker... Mankind, it seemed, was now suddenly rather – dare one say it? – insignificant. He may not have been, as he had eternally supposed, specially created.
That's Third Thoughts for you. When a huge rock is going to land on your head, they're the thoughts that think: Is that an igneous rock, such as granite, or is it sandstone?
A far cicada rings high and clear over the river’s heavy wash. Morning glory, a lone dandelion, cassia, orchids. So far from the nearest sea, I am taken aback by the sight of a purple land crab, like a relict of the ancient days when the Indian subcontinent, adrift on the earth’s mantle, moved northward to collide with the Asian landmass, driving these marine rocks, inch by inch, five miles into the skies. The rise of the Himalaya, begun in the Eocene, some fifty million years ago, is still continuing: an earthquake in 1959 caused mountains to fall into the rivers and changed the course of the great Brahmaputra, which comes down out of Tibet through northeastern India to join the Ganges near its delta at the Bay of Bengal.
Anglesey has two deserts, one made by Nature, the other made by Man: Newborough and Parys Mountain.
Sophisticated human beings were on hand to see this volcano's convulsions, they were able to investigate the event, and they were able to attempt to understand the processes that had caused such dreadful violence...their observations, painstaking and precise as science demanded, collided head-on with a most discomfiting reality: that while in 1883 the world was becoming ever more scientifically advanced, it was in part because of these same advances that its people found themselves in a strangely febrile and delicately balanced condition...