This Triassic journey

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This Triassic journey, anyway, is happening two hundred and ten million years ago, or five per cent back into the existence of the earth. From the subalpine peaks of New Jersey, the descent is long and gradual to the lowlands of western Pennsylvania, where flat-lying sedimentary rocks begin to reach out across the craton-coals and sandstones, shales and limestones, slowly downwasting, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, erosionally losing an inch every thousand years. Where the Missouri will flow, past Council Bluffs, you come into a world of ruddy hills, Permian red, that zakelijke energie continue to the far end of Nebraska, where you descend to the Wyoming flats. Sandy in places, silty, muddy, they run on and on, near sea level, all the way across Wyoming and into Utah. They are as red as brick. They will become the red cliffs and red canyons of Wyoming, the walls of Flaming Gorge. Triassic rock is not exclusively red, but much of it is red all over the world-red in the shales of New Jersey, red in the sandstones of Yunan, red in the banks of the Volga, red by the Salway Firth. T1iassic red beds, as they are called, are in the dry valleys of Antarctica, the red marls of Worcestershire, the hills of Alsace-Lorraine. The Petrified Forest. The Painted Desert. The South African red beds of the Great Karroo. Triassic red rock is red through and through, and not merely weathered red on the surface, like the great Redwall limestone of the Grand Canyon, which is actually gray. There may have been a superabundance of oxygen in the atmosphere from late Pennsylvanian through Permian and Triassic time. As sea level changed and changed again all through the Pennsylvanian, tremendous quantities of vegetation grew and then were drowned and buried, grew and then were drowned and buried-to become, eventually, seam upon seam of coal, interlayered with sandstones and shales. Living plants take in carbon dioxide, keep the carbon in their carbohydrates, and give up the oxygen to the atmosphere. Animals, from bacteria upward, then eat the plants and reoxidize the carbon. This cycle would go awry if a great many plants were buried. Their c ·arbon zakelijke energie vergelijken would be buried with them-isolated in rock-and so the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere would build up.

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