Wednesday, August 25, 2010
A Story Told in Rock
It doesn’t matter if a major storm comes only once a hundred years. Together they move more rock than a thousand bulldozers working a century. It takes the storms longer, but no matter, because time in on geology’s side. Time is how it cuts the earth.
Level layers figure nicely into stories of ancient seas, of rivers bringing silt to settle on their bottoms, of uplift along some fault that raises the land a few inches in each of a thousand earthquakes, of later erosion exposing for us to see the layers of an ancient sea.
Here the story takes a sinister turn, where layers bend and fold. And if we can believe for one more step into lurid past, these layers lay so deep, so long, under so much weight, that they got so hot and partly melted, and then were worked like taffy but not like soup. Finally they hardened and uplifted like the level ones, but what we are asked to believe is that these too were sediments on some ancient sea.