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 stillness of life did not in the least resemble a peace. It was the stillness of an implacable force brooding over an inscrutable intention. It looked at you with a vengeful aspect. I got used to it afterwards; I did not see it anymore; I had no time. I had to keep guessing at the channel; I had to discern, mostly by inspiration, the signs of hidden banks; I watched for sunken stones.” Metaphorically, he travelled back to the Carboniferous, when the vegetal riot occurred, but scarcely was that the beginning of the world. The first zakelijke energie plants to appear on land, ever, appeared in the Silurian. Through the Ordovician and the Cambrian, there had been no terrestrial vegetation at all. And in the deep shadow below the Camb1ian were seven years for every one in all subsequent time. There were four billion years back there-since the earliest beginnings of the world. There were scant to nonexistent fossils. There were the cores of tl1e cratons, the rock of the continental shields, the rock of the surface of the moon. There were the reefs of the Witwatersrand. There was the rock that would become the Adirondack Mountains, the Wind River summits, the Seward Peninsula, Manhattan Island. But so little is known of this seveneighths of all history that in a typical two-pound geological textbook there are fourteen pages on Precambrian time. The Precambrian has attracted geologists of exceptional imagination, who see families of mountains in folded schists. Uranium-lead, rubidium-strontium, and potassium-argon radiometric dating have helped them to sort out their Kenoran, Hudsonian, Grenvillean orogenies, their Aphebian, Hadrynian, Paleohelikian time. Isolating the first . two billion years of the life of the earth, they called it the Archean Eon. In the middle zakelijke energie vergelijken Archean, photosynthesis began. Much later in the Precambrian, somewhere in Helikian or Hadrynian time, aerobic life appeared. There is no younger rock in the United States than the travertine that is forming in Thermopolis, Wyoming. A 2.7-billionyear-old outcrop of the core of the continent is at the head of Wind River Canyon, twenty miles away. Precambrian-4,560 to 544 million years before the present.