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Chinese mainland

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Taiwan, at this writing, is evidently on its way to the Chinese mainland. Taiwan is the vanguard of a lithospheric microplate and consists of pieces of island arc preceded by an accretionary wedge of materials coming off the Eurasian Plate and materials shedding forward from the island’s rising mountains. As the plate edges buckle before it, the island has plowed up so much stuff that it has filled in all the space between the accretionary wedge and the volcanic arc, and thus its components make an integral island. It is in motion northwest. For the mainland government in Beijing to be wooing the Taiwanese to join the People’s Republic of China is the ultimate inscrutable irony. Not only will Taiwan inexorably become one with Red China. It will hit into China like a fist in a belly. It will knock up big mountains conference room amsterdam from Hong Kong to Shanghai. It is only a question of time.  As an exotic terrane on the verge of collision with a continent, Taiwan is a model not only for the building of the American West but for the application of microplate-tectonic theory to the eastern orogenies and the closing of the proto-Atlantic. In this respect, a plane fare to Taiwan has been described as “a ticket to the Ordovician,” a time when something or other, beyond question, produced the Taconic Orogeny, and if it was not the slamming-in of a conference room leeuwarden continent against North America, then possibly it was the arrival of an exotic island like Taiwan. The analogy becomes wider. South of Taiwan are Luzon, Mindanao, Borneo, Celebes, New Guinea, Java, and hundreds of dozens of smaller islands from the Malay Peninsula to the Bismarck Archipelago. Coming up below them is Australia, palpably moving north, headed for collision with China, with a confusion of microplates lying between. According to microplate theory, as Europe, Africa, and South America closed in upon North America through Paleozoic time, there rode before them an ocean full of Javas, New Guineas, Borneos, Luzons, Taiwans, and maybe hundreds of dozens of smaller islands. The Avalon Peninsula of Newfoundland appears to have been a part of such an island, and the Carolina Slate Belt, and a piece of Rhode Island east of Providence, and Greater Boston.


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Anita put her fingers on fossil mud cracks, evidence not only of hours and seasons in the sun but of tranquillity in the environment in which the rock had formed. She also moved her fingers down the smooth friction streaks of slickensides (tectonic scars made by block sliding upon block, in the deforming turbulence of later times). In the Ecological epoch, the Backpackerhaus School ofp hotography will not so much as glance at anything within twenty-five miles of a railhead, let alone commit it to film, but in the eighteen-fifties George Inness came to the Water Gap and set up his easel in sight of the trains. The canvases would eventually hang in the Metropolitan Museum, the Tate Gallery, the National Gallery (London). Meanwhile, in i86o, Currier & Ives made a lithograph from one of them and published it far and wide. By i866, there were two hundred and fifty beds in Kittatinny House alone, notwithstanding that the manager had killed a huge and ferocious catamount not far from the lobby. That co-working space amsterdam scarcely mattered, for this was the New World, and out in the laurel there were also wolves and bears. The gap was on its way to becoming a first-class, busy summer resort. “Note the fining-upward cycles,” Anita said. ”Those are crossbedded sandstones with mud clasts at the base, rippled to unevenly bedded shaly siltstones and sandstones in the middle, and indistinctly mud-cracked bioturbated shaly siltstones with dolomite concretions at the top.” It was a lady visiting the Water Gap in the eighteen-sixties who made the once famous remark “What a most wonderful place would be the Delaware Water Gap if Niagara Falls were here.” The Aldine, in i875, presented three wood engravings of the Water Gap featuring in the foreground gentlemen with walking sticks and ladies with parasols, their long full dresses co-working space leeuwarden sweeping the quartzite. The accompanying text awarded the Delaware Water Gap an aesthetic edge over most of the alpine passes of Europe. The Aldine subtitled itself “The Art Journal of America” but was not shy to make dashes into other fields. “The mountains of Pennsylvania are far less known and visited than many of the American ranges at much greater distance, and even less than many of the European ranges, while they may be said to vie in beauty with any others upon earth, and to have, in inany sections, features of grandeur entitling them to eminent rank,” the magazine told its readers. “Not only the nature lover, by the way, has his scope for observation and thought in the Water Gap.

Interstate 80

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Anita Harris-beginning her trip west on Interstate 80 with her rock hammer, her sledgehammer, her hydrochloric acid, and mestopped at a lookoff near Allamuchy, New Jersey, about five miles west of Netcong. It was a cool April morning, the tint of the valley pastel green, and from our relatively high perspective, at an altitude of a thousand feet, the eye was drawn eighteen miles west across a gulf of air to the forested wall of Kittatinny Mountain, filling the skyline of two states, its apparently endless flat ridgeline broken only by one deep notch, which centered and arrested the view and was as sharply defined as a notch in flexplek huren amsterdam a gunsight: the Delaware Water Gap, where the big river comes obliquely through the mountain, like
Book 2: In Suspect Terrain a thief through a gap in a fence. There was a ridge or two near and below us, but the distance to the Water Gap was occupied largely by the woodlots, hedgerows, and striped fields of a broad terrairi as much as seven hundred feet lower than the spot on which we stood and of such breathtaking proportions and fetching appearance that it could be mentioned in a sentence with the Shenandoah Valley. The picture of New Jersey that most people hold in their minds does not include a Shenandoah Valley. Nevertheless, this New Jersey Appalachian landscape not only looked like the Shenandoah, it ac-. tually was the Shenandoah, in the sense that it was a fragment of a valley that runs south from New Jersey to Alabama and north from New Jersey into Canada-a single valley, one continuous geology, known to science as the Great Valley of the Appalachians and to flexplek huren leeuwarden local peoples here and there as Champlain, Shenandoah, Tennessee Valley, but in New Jersey by no special name. This integral, elongate, predominantly carbonate valley disappears and reappears through the far Northeast, until in pieces it presents itself in Newfoundland and then dives under the sea. Its marbles are minable in Vermont, in Tennessee. It was tl1e route of armies-the avenue to Antietam, the site of Chickamauga, Saratoga, Ticonderoga.

The ice wholly

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The ice wholly covered the Bronx and Manhattan, and its broad snout moved across Astoria, Maspeth, Williamsburg, and Bedford-Stuyvesant before sliding to a stop in Flatbush. Flatbush was the end of the line, the point of return for the Ice Age, the locus of the terminal moraine. Water poured in white tumult from the melting ice, carrying and sorting its freight of sands and gravels, building the outwash plain: Bensonhurst, Canarsie, the Flatlands, Coney Island. When Anita was a  flexplek huren schiphol child, she would ride the D train out to Coney Island, with an old window screen leaning against her knees. She sifted the beach sand for lost jewelry. In the beach sand now, she saw tens of thousands of garnets. There is a lot of iron in the Coney Island beach as well, which makes it tawny from oxidation, and not a lot of quartz, which would make it white. The straw-colored sand sparkled with black and silver micas-biotite, muscovite-from Fifth Avenue or thereabouts, broken out of Manhattan schist. A beach represents the rock it came from. Most of Coney Island is New Jersey diabase, Fordham gneiss, Inwood marble, Manhattan schist. Anita picked up some sand and looked at it through a hand lens. The individual grains are characteristically angular and sharp, she said, because the source rock was so recently crushed by the glacier. To make a well-rounded grain, you need a lot more time. Weather and waves had been working on this sand for fifteen thousand years. If the gneissic grains and garnets were erratics, so in their way flexplek huren leeuwarden were the Schenley bottles, the Pepsi-Cola cans, the Manhattan Schlitz, the sand-coated pickles and used paper plates. “Colonial as penguins, dirtier than mud daubers,” I observed of the creatures of the beach. “We rank with bats, starlings, and Pleistocene sloths as the great messmakers of the world,” said Anita, and we left Coney Island for Williamsburg.

The Russians

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The Russians broke out the vodka. A toast! Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin were walking around on the moon.
“In the old days we would have called this North America,” Deffeyes said, sinking another clear tube into the ground. “We now think of plates. The plate-tectonics revolution came as a surprise, with very little buildup to it. There was none of tlrnt cloud that precedes a political revolution. In the nineteen-fifties, when I was a graduate student, nearly all the faculty at Princeton thought continental drift was sheer baloney. A couple of years later, Harry Hess broke it open. I had thought I would go through my career without anything like it. Oil and mining seemed enough of a contribution to keep one going. But now something had flexplek huren amsterdam come along that was so profound that it took the whole science with it. We used to think that continents grew like onions around old rock. That was overturned by plate tectonics. And we could see now how amazingly fast you could put
up a mountain range. A continent-to-continent collision was a hell of an episode at a limited place. After the Appalachians and the Urals were recognized as continent-to-continent sutures, people said, ‘O.K., where’s the suture in California?’ Geologists kept jumping up and saying, ‘I’ve got the suture! I’ve got the suture!’ It turned out, of course, that there were at least three sutures. In each instance, a great island had closed up a sea and hit into America-just as India hit Tibet, just as Kodiak Island, which is a mini-India, is about to plow into Alaska. Fossils from the mid-Pacific have been found here in the West, and limestones that lithified a thousand miles south of the equator. Formations in flexplek huren leeuwarden California have alien fossils with cousins in the rock of New Guinea. For a while, people were going around naming a defunct ocean for eve1y suture. The first piece, coming in from the west, was the one that rode up onto North America about forty miles, not a trivial distance, in Mississippian time. That was the action that first tipped the rock in the Carlin unconformity. The old name for it was the Antler Orogeny. In the early Triassic, the second one arrived-the Golconda Thrust-and rode fifty miles over the trailing edge of the first one, and in the Jurassic the third one came in, sutured on somewhere near Sacramento, and more or less completed California. I have read that two geologists have found in Siberia a displaced terrane that was taken off of North America. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.” I mentioned that I had read in Geology that one out of eight geologists does not accept plate-tectonic theory. He said, “There are still a few people dragging their feet. They don’t want to come into the story.”

Square nails

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There were square nails in the timbers. An ore bucket was filled with square nails. “Good litter,” Deffe yes said, and we walked uphill past the mine and along a small stream into the cottonwoods. The stream was nearly dry. Under the cottonwoods were the outlines of cabins almost a century gone. Here at seven thousand feet in this narrow mountain draw had lived a hundred people, who had held their last election a hundred years earlier. They had a restaurant, a brewery, a bookstore. They had seven saloons. And now there was not so much as one dilapidated structure. There were only the old unhappy cottonwoods, looking alien and discontented over the moist bed of the creek. Sixteen stood there, twisted, surviving-most of them over four feet thick. “Those cottonwoods try an environmentalist’s soul,” Deffeyes said. “They transpire water like running fountains. If you were to cut them down, the creek would run. Cottonwoods drink the Humboldt. Some of the tension in this country is that miners need water. Getting rid of trees would preserve water. By the old brine-and-mercury method, it took zakelijke energie three tons of water to mill one ton of ore. There was nothing like that in this creek. They had to take the ore from here to a big enough stream, and that, as it happens, was a twelvemile journey using mules. They would have gone out of here with only the very best ore. There was probably a supergene enrichment here over a pretty good set of veins. They took what they took and were gone in six years.” We walked back down to the mine, below which the streamin flash flood once or twice a century over several million yearshad cut the deep sharp V of its remarkably plunging valley. A number of acres of one side had been used as a dump, and Deffeyes began to sample this unused ore. “They must have depended on what they could see in the rock,” he said. “If it was easy to see, they got it all. If it was complicated and gradational, they couldn’t differentiate as well, and I think they threw it here.” The material was crumbly, loose, weathered, unstable underfoot, a pyramid side of zakelijke energie vergelijken decomposing shards. Filling small canvas bags at intervals of six feet, he worked his way across it. With each step, he sank in above his ankles. He was about two hundred feet above the stream. Given the steepness of the ground and the proximity of all the loose material to the critical angle of repose, I had no trouble imagining that he was about to avalanche, and that he would end up in an algal pool of the trickling stream below us, buried under megatons of unextracted silver.

Cretaceous Extinction

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The Cenozoic era-coming just after the Cretaceous Extinction, and extending as it does to the latest tick of time-was subdivided in the eighteen-thirties according to percentages of molluscan species that have survived into the present. From the Eocene, for example, which ended some thirty-five million years ago, roughly three and a half per cent have survived. Eocene means “dawn of the recent.” The first horse appeared in the Eocene. Looking something like a toy collie, it stood three hands high. From the Miocene (“moderately recent”), some fifteen per cent of molluscan species survive; from the Pliocene (“more recent”), the number approaches half. As creatures go, mollusks have been zakelijke energie particularly hardy. Many species of mammals fell in the Pliocene as prairie grassland turned to tundra and ice advanced from the north. From the Pleistocene (“most recent”), more than ninety per cent of molluscan species live on. The Pleistocene has also been traditionally defined by four great glacial pulsations, spread across a million years-the Nebraskan ice sheet, the Kansan ice sheet, the Illinoian and Wisconsinan ice sheets. It now appears that these were the last of many glacial pulsations that have occurred in relatively recent epochs, beginning probably in the Miocene and reaching a climax in the ice sheets of Pleistocene time. The names of the Cenozoic epochs were proposed by Charles Lyell, whose Principles of Geology was the standard text through much of the nineteenth century. To settle problems here and there, the Oligocene (“but a little recent”) was inserted in the list, and the Paleocene (“old recent”) was zakelijke energie vergelijken sliced off the beginning. Paleocene, Eocene, Oligocene, Miocene, Pliocene, Pleistocene-sixty-five million to ten thousand years before the present. Divisions grew shorter in the Cenozoic-the epochs range from twenty-one million years to less than two million-because so much remains on earth of Cenozoic worlds.

The foremost problem

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On a scale of zero to five hundred, those samplings were bunched toward the extremes, with nothing representing the middle three hundred million years. That was just chance, though-just what the faults had happened to throw up-and farther down the road, at Golconda, would come a full-dress two-hundred-and-fifty-million-year-old Triassic show. Geologists mention at times something they call the Picture. In an absolutely unidiomatic way, they have often said to me, “You don’t get the Picture.” The oolites and dolomite-tuff and granite, the zakelijke energie Pequop siltstones and shales-are pieces of the Picture. The stories that go with them-the creatures and the chemistry, the motions of the crust, the paleoenvironmental scenes-may well, as stories, stand on their own, but all are fragments of the Picture. The foremost problem with the Picture is that ninety-nine per cent of it is missing-melted or dissolved, torn down, washed away, broken to bits, to become something else in the Picture. The geologist discovers lingering remains, and connects them with dotted lines. The Picture is enhanced by filling in the lines-in · many instances with stratigraphy: the rock types and ages of strata, the scenes at the times of deposition. The lines themselves to geologists represent structure-folds, faults, flat-lying planes. Ultimately, they will infer why, how, and zakelijke energie vergelijken when a structure came to be-for example, why, how, and when certain strata were folded-and that they call tectonics. Stratigraphy, structure, tectonics. “First you read ze Kafka,” I overheard someone say once in a library elevator. “Ond zen you read ze Turgenev. Ond zen ond only zen are-youready-for-ze Tolstoy.” And when you have memorized Tolstoy, you may be ready to take on the Picture. Multidimensional, worldwide [in scope and in motion through time, it is sometimes called the Big Picture. The Megapicture. You are cautioned not to worry if at first you do not wholly see it. Geologists don’t see it, either. Not all of it. The modest ones will sometimes scuff a boot and describe themselves and their colleagues as scientific versions of the characters in John Godfrey Saxe’ s version of the Hindu fable of the blind men and the elephant. ‘We are blind men feeling the elephant,” David Love, of the Geological Survey, has said to me at least fifty times. It is not unknown for a geological textbook to include snatches of the poem.

In abundance

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Nor was it known where they could be found in abundance. Deffeyes did imp01tant early work in the field. His doctoral dissertation, which dealt with two basins and two ranges in Nevada, included an appendix that started the zeolite industry. Certain zeolites (there are about thirty kinds) have become the predominant catalysts in use in oil refineries, doing a job that is otherwise assigned to platinum. Now, in Paterson, Deffeyes searched the roadcut vugs (as the minute caves are actually called) looking for zeolites. Some vugs were large enough to suggest the holes that lobsters hide in. They did indeed contain a number of white fibrous zeolite crystals-smooth and soapy, of a type that resembled talc or asbestos-but the cut had been almost entirely cleaned out by professional and amateur collectors, undeterred by the lethal traffic not many inches away. Nearly all the vugs were now as empty as they had been in zakelijke energie vergelijken their first hundred years. In the shale beyond the lava we saw the burrows of Triassic creatures. An ambulance from Totowa flew by with its siren wailing. We moved on a few miles into the Great Piece Meadows of the Passaic River Valley, flat as a lake floor, poorly drained land. A meadow in New Jersey is any wet spongy acreage where you don’t sink in above your chin. Great Piece Meadows, Troy Meadows, Black Meadows, the Great Swamp-Whippany, Parsippany, Madison, and Morristown are strewn among the reeds. The whole region, very evidently, was the bottom of a lake, for a lake itself is by definition a sign of poor drainage, an aneurysm in a river, a highly temporary feature on the land. Some lakes dry up. Others disappear after the outlet stream, deepening its valley and eroding headward into the outlet, empties the water. This one-Glacial Lake Passaic-vanished about ten thousand years ago, after the retreating glacier exposed what is now the Passaic Valley. The lake drained gradually into the new Passaic River, which fell a hundred feet into Glacial Lake Hackensack, and, en route, went over a waterfall that would one day in effect found the city of Paterson by turning its first mill wheel. At the time of its greatest extent, Lake Passaic was two hundred feet deep, thirty miles long, and ten miles wide, and seems to have been a scene of great beauty. Its zakelijke energie margins are still decorated with sand spits and offshore bars, wave-cut cliffs and stream deltas, set in suburban towns. The lake’s west shore was the worn-low escarpment of the Border Fault, and its most arresting feature was a hook-shaped basaltic peninsula that is now known to geologists as a part of the Third Watchung Lava Flow and to the people of New Jersey as Hook Mountain.

Transcontinental time lines

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Several transcontinental time lines are drawn at selected moments in the text-glimpses of paleogeography, sweeping pictures of the United States as it appeared at some far gone date in the former world. There is a late Triassic journey in Basin and Range (28-31), and time lines from the Mississippian and Pennsylvanian periods (92-95) are a part of the deep-time set piece. As a way of introducing the idea of time lines, Basin and Range first presents a rapid transcontinental traverse through the physiographic provinces of the here-and-now (25-28). In In Suspect Terrain, there’s a Cambrian and Ordovician pair (189-91), and a pair from the Silurian ( 199-201). The earliest plants to appear on land came after the first and before the second of those Silurian time lines. In Rising from the Plains, an Eocene time line (409-10) starts from both east and west and meets in a huge lake in what is now Wyoming. After Basin and Range deals with plate theory in presentational fashion, Anita Harris, of In Suspect Terrain, in several ways attacks it. In Suspect Terrain was constructed in four panels: i. the biography of Anita Harris; 2. the Delaware Water Gap as a fragment of the Appalachians (understand a zakelijke energie fragment and you’ll have gone a long way toward understanding the whole); 3. the Appalachians and plate tectonics; + the theory of continental glaciation (used here to contrast its lack of acceptance in the nineteenth century with the experience of plate theory in the twentieth). The four panels are not presented as such, but they are distinct for anyone who cares to notice: i. pages 147-82; 2. pages 182-209; 3. pages 209-44; +pages
254-75. Note the ga.p between 244 and 254. It contains short set pieces on coal and petroleum. The narrative, at that point, is in western Pennsylvania, and western Pennsylvania is a prime place to go into both of those subjects. The Delaware Water Gap panel is a freestanding experiment, a composition within a composition. Human history there (a few thousand years) is set in duet with the geologic history, to help make some sort of point. The ambition of the text relates closely to zakelijke energie vergelijken the George Inness painting on page 146. Tell me what made that scene and you will tell me what made the eastern United States. Look over the shoulder of the painter and see how it was done.