Exotic terranes

A schedule of arrivals of incoming exotic terranes will account-as a simple continent-to-continent collision cannot do-for the long spreads of time between one and another of the Appalachian mountain-building pulses. As someone once compacted it for me, “you sweep the New Zealands and Madagascars out of the ocean and then you close it with the […]

The scientist

The scientist has something to do, and is almost certain to do it, if he lingers there for any considerable period. He may not have quite decided how Niagara comes to be where it iswhether it was originally in the same place, or down at the mouth of the St. Lawrence; but he will find […]

The morning shadow

It stands in the morning shadow of the Annieopsquotch Mountains, of the Green Mountains, of the New Jersey Highlands, of the Berkshire, Catoctin, and Great Smoky Mountains, which are fraternal in structure and composition and are all of Precambrian age. The lookoff where we stood was a part of that Appalachian complex. It was crystalline […]

Ocean Parkway

North over the outwash plain we followed Ocean Parkway five miles-broad, tree-lined Ocean Parkway, with neat houses in trim neighborhoods, reaching into shaded streets. Ahead, all the while, loomed the terminal moraine, suggesting, from a distance, an escarpment, but actually just a fairly steep hill. Eastern Parkway defines its summit, two hundred feet high. Two […]

Uinta Mountains

I asked him if he thought the Uinta Mountains could be explained in terms of plate theory. The Uintas are a range in the Rockies, seven hundred miles from the sea, and they run east-west, unlike virtually all other ranges for thousands of miles around them. If the Western cordilleras were raised by colliding plates, […]

The little stream

The little stream was a jumble of boulders, testimony of the floods, with phreatophytes around the boulders like implanted spears. Deffeyes obviously was happy and without a fear in the world. When a swift-rising wind blew dust in his face, he mooed. Working in cold sunshine with his orange-and-black conical cap on his head, he […]

A paragraph in literature

Ignoring its geology, I guess I don’t know a paragraph in literature that I prefer to the one Joseph Conrad begins by saying, “Going up that river was like travelling back to the earliest beginnings of the world, when vegetation rioted on the earth and the big trees were kings.” He says, moments later, “This […]

The blind men and the elephant

The blind men and the elephant are kept close at hand mainly to slow down what some graduate students refer to as “arm waving” -the delivery, with pumping elbows, of hypotheses so breathtakingly original that the science seems for the moment more imaginative than descriptive. Where it is solid, it is imaginative enough. Geologists are […]

Geology Department

Deffeyes became excited as we approached Hook Mountain. The interstate had blasted into one toe of the former peninsula, exposing its interior to view. Deffeyes said, “Maybe someone will have left some zeolites here. I want them so bad I can taste them.” He jumped the curb with his high-slung Geology Department vehicle, got out […]

The Williamsburg section of Brooklyn

Anita Harris grew up in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn and frankly went into geology in order to get out of the city. Within the profile of her is a profile of New York City geology (157-67). Her international reputation is mainly the result of paleontol9gical discoveries that have enhanced the search for oil. I […]