The lifeblood of our nation

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They disappeared to the north, still shooting. This was boom country now, however temporarily-another world of pickups painted with flames. It had been described in journals as “the hottest oil-and-gas province in North America”-a phrase in which Love found bemusement and irony, because for threequarters of a century the hottest oil-and-gas province in North America had been lying there neglected. “This region was written up in i907 as containing possible oil fields,” Love said. “They’re ‘finding’ them now. That i907 paper, by A. C. Veatch, of the U.S.G.S., was simply zakelijke energie vergelijken ignored. Until i975, people said there was no oil in the thrust belt. Now it’s the hot area. Veatch did his work in the part of the thrust belt that straddles I-80. He said oil should be there, and he said where. His paper is a classic. That it was ignored shows the myopia of oil companies, and of geologists in general. The La Barge oil field, in the Green River Basin off the edge of the thrust belt, was discovered in i92+ Twenty years later it became evident that the La Barge field was producing more oil than the structure could contain. The oil was migrating into it from the thrust belt. The evidence was there before us, and we didn’t see it. We talked about it. We wondered why. Now the margins of basins have become new frontiers for oil. Anywhere that mountains have overridden a basin, there are likely to be Cretaceous and Paleocene rocks below, quite possibly with oil and gas. The Moncrief oil company drilled through nine thousand feet of granite at Arminto and into Cretaceous rocks and got the god-damnedest field you ever saw.” On I -So to the end of Wyoming, we moved among the drilling rigs and pump jacks of some of the most productive fields you ever saw. Love said, “These rigs are not damaging the landscape very much. It isn’t all or nothing. It doesn’t have to be.” I remembered a time when we had gazed down into the Precambrian metasediments of a taconite mine off the southern tip of the Wind River Range. It was an open pit, square, more than a mile on a side. I asked him how he felt about a thing like that, and he said, “They’ve only ruined one side of the mountain. Behind the pit, the zakelijke energie range top is covered with snow. I can live with this. This is a part of the lifeblood of our nation.” I recalled also that when the Beartooth Highway was built, ascending the wall of a Swiss-like valley to subsummit meadows of unique beauty, Love defended the project, saying that people who could not get around so well would be enabled to see those scenes.

Charles Darwin

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Cape Verde was where Charles Darwin first got off the Beagle with Charles Lyell’ s Principles of Geology in his hand, and quickly developed such admiration for Lyell’s presentation of the science. Had Lyell told him that the Cape Verde Islands had also been on a voyage-that in a deep geophysical sense they had come from New England-Darwin might have thrown the book overboard. Even on the best-defined tracks, not everything falls patly into place. There is zakelijke energie some granite in New Hampshire that is two hundred million years old-still too young to be part of the Appalachian orogenic story but too old to be explained in terms of the two passing hot spots that left other granites. Possibly the two-hundred-millionyear-old rock has something to do with magmas that came up at that time as the crust tore apart to admit the Atlantic. When Great Meteor arrived at the edge of the Canadian Shield, under the present site of Montreal, it presumably made the Monteregian hills, for one of which the city is named. The Monteregian hills are volcanic, but their potassium-argon age disagrees by twenty million years with the date when, by all other calculations, Montreal was over the hot spot-an exception that probes the tl1eory. Morgan attributes the inconsistency to “random things you can’t explain” and mentions the possibility of faulty dating. He also says, quite equably, “If the Monteregian hills really don’t Rt the model, you have to come up with another model.” The hot-spot hypothesis was put forward in the early nineteensixties by J. Tuzo Wilson, of the University of Toronto, as a consequence of a stopover in Hawaii and one look at the islands. The situation seemed obvious. James Hutton, on whose eighteenthcentury Theory of the Earth the science of geology has been built, understood in a general way that great heat from deep sources stirs the actions of the earth (”There has been exerted an extreme degree of heat below the strata formed at the bottom of the sea”), but no one to this day knows exactly how it works. Heat rising from hot spots zakelijke energie vergelijken apparently lubricates the asthenosphere-the layer on which the plates slide. According to theory, the plates would stop moving if the hot spots were not there. Why the hot spots are there in the first place is a question that seeks its own Hutton. For the moment, all Jason Morgan can offer is another shrug and smile. “I don’t know,” he says. “It must have something to do with the way heat gets out of the lower mantle.”

The epochs in the history

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He measured them, and they were two miles thick. Just above them in time, he found coal. In red and salmon rock nearby were the small tracks and tiny bones of dinosaurs. Larger ones, too. There were beds of marine phosphate. He collected cherty black shales, pure dolomites, dark dolomites, the massive sandstones of an ocean beach. He went into blue-gray caves in beautiful marine limestone. He found mud-crack-bearing shales. He saw mounds resembling anthills, which had been built by blue-green algae. Chipping with his hammer, he bagged folded and fractured schist, amphibolite, and banded gneiss-and granite that had come welling up as magma, intruding these older rocks at a time when they were far below the earth’s surface, a time that was eventually determined by potassium-argon dating. The time was 2.5 billion years before zakelijke energie vergelijken the present. Therefore, the rock that the granite invaded was a good deal older, but it had been metamorphosed, and there was no telling how long it had existed before it was changed -how far it reached back toward the age of the oldest dated rock on earth: a number approaching four billion years. In these lithic archives-randomly assembled, subsequently arranged and filed-was a completeness in every way proportionate to the valley’s unexceedable beauty. From three thousand million years ago to the tectonically restless present, a very high percentage of the epochs in the history of the earth were represented. It was no wonder that a geologist would especially be drawn to this valley. As he moved from panorama to panorama and outcrop to outcrop -relating this rock type to that mountain, this formation to that river-David gradually began to form a tentative regional picture, and after thirty years or so had placed in zakelijke energie sequential narrative the history of the valley. When new evidence and insight came along, what had once seemed logical sometimes fell into discard. When plate tectonics arrived, he embraced its revelations, or accommodated them, but by no means readily accepted them.

The bull

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The bull broke into the high granary. Our only, and small, supply of horse and chicken feed was there. Foolishly, I went in after him and drove him out down the step. Cows began to die, one here, one there. Every morning some were unable to rise. By day, one walking would fall suddenly, as if it had no more life than a paper animal, blown over by a gust of wind.
The bull actually charged her in the granary and came close to crushing her against the back wall. She confused it, sweeping its eyes with a broom. It would probably have killed her, though, had zakelijke energie vergelijken it not stepped on a weak plank, which snapped. The animal panicked and turned for the door. (In decades to follow, John Love never fixed the plank.)
Snow hissed around the buildings, wind blew some snow into every room of the closed house, down the chimney, between window sashes, even in a straight shaft through a keyhole. The wood pile was buried in snow. The small heap of coal was frozen into an almost sohd chunk of coal and ice. In the numbing cold, it took me five hours a day to bring in fuel, to carry water and feed to the chickens, to put out hay and cottonseed cake for the cattle and horses.
John began to complain, a favorable sign. Why was I outside so much? Why didn’t I stay with him? To try to make up to him for being gone so long, I sat on the bed at night, wrapped in a blanket, reading to him by lamphght.
Somewhere among her possessions was a letter written to her zakelijke energie by a Wellesley friend asking, ‘What do you do with your spare time?” Where the stage route from Casper to Fort Washakie had crossed a tributary of Muskrat Creek, the banks were so high and the drop to the creekbed so precipitous that the site was littered with split wagon reaches and broken wheels.

The old-timers

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At the Wyoming Information Center, beside Interstate 80 just south of Cheyenne, eleven picnic tables are enclosed in brick silos, and each silo has a picture window, so that visitors to Wyoming can picnic more or less al fresco and not be blown home. On the range, virtually every house has a shelter belt of trees-and for the most part the houses are of one story. Used tires cover the tops of mobile homes. Otherwise, wind tears off the roofs. Mary Kraus, a sedimentologist from the University of Colorado, got out of her car one day in north-central Wyoming and went to work on an outcrop. The wind zakelijke energie blew the car off a cliff A propeller-drawn airplane that serves Wyoming is known as the Vomit Comet. When people step off it, they look like spotted slate. “Most people today don’t realize the power of wind and sand,” Love s3id. “Roads are paved. But in the first fifty years of the Lincoln Highway you didn’t like to travel west in the afternoon. You’d lose the finish on your car. Your windshield became so pitted you could hardly see out.” The Highway Department has not yet paved the wind. On I-80, wind will capsize tractor-trailers. When snow falls on Wyoming, its travels are only beginning. Snow snows again, from the ground up, moves along the surface in ground blizzards that can blind whole counties. Ground blizzards bury houses. In roadcuts, they make drifts fifty feet deep. The wind may return ahead of the plows and take the snow away. The old-timers used to say, “Snow doesn’t melt here; it just wears out.” Interstate 80 has been closed by snow in Wyoming in every month but August-sometimes closed for days. Before Amtrak dropped its Wyoming passenger service, people stranded on I-80 used to abandon their cars and make their escape by train. The most inclement stretch of 80 is east of Rawlins where it skirts the tip of the Medicine Bows, where anemometers set on guardrails beside the highway frequently zakelijke energie vergelijken catch the wind exceeding the speed limit. Now, looking from mountains to mountains west over the Laramie Plains-his gaze bridging fifty miles of what had fairly recently been solid ground-Love said he thought the role of the wind had been much greater than hitherto suspected in the Exhumation of the Rockies. Water, of course, was the obvious agent for the digging and removal of the basin fill, as a look at the Mississippi Delta would tend to confirm. Many miles off the coast there, you could drill down into the muck and after fifteen thousand feet the bit would still be in the Miocene.

Mr. Love

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Mr. Love is a Scotchman about thirty-five years old. At first sight he made me think of a hired man, as he lounged stiffly on the couch, in overalls, his feet covered with enormous red and black striped stockings that reached to his knees, and were edged with blue around the top. He seemed to wear them instead of house shoes. His face was kindly, with shrewd blue twinkling eyes. A moustache grew over his mouth, like willows bending over a brook. But his voice was most peculiar and characteristic … . A little Scotch dialect, a little slow drawl, a little nasal quality, a bit of falsetto once in a while, and a zakelijke energie vergelijken tone as if he were speaking out of doors. There is a kind of twinkle in his voice as well as his eyes, and he is full of quaint turns of speech, and unusual expressions.
Mr. Love travelled eleven hours on these journeys, each way. He did not suffer from the tedium, in part because he frequently rode in a little buggy and, after telling his horses his destination, would lie on the seat and sleep. He may have been from Edinburgh, but he had adapted to the range as much as anyone from anywhere. He had slept out, in one stretch, under no shelter for seven years. On horseback, he was fit for his best horses: he had stamina for long distances at sustained high speed. When he used a gun, he hit what he was shooting at. In i897, he had begun homesteading on Muskrat Creek, quite near the geographical center of Wyoming, and he had since proved up. One way and another, he had acquired a number of thousands of acres, but acreage was not what mattered most in a country of dry and open range. Water rights mattered most, and the area over which John Love controlled the water amounted to a thousand square miles-about one per cent of Wyoming. He had come into the country walking, in i891, and now, in i905, he had many horses, a couple of hundred cattle, and several thousand sheep. Miss Waxham, in her journal, called him a “muttonaire.” He was a mirthful Scot-in abiding contrast to zakelijke energie the more prevalent kind. He was a wicked mimic, a connoisseur of the absurd. If he seemed to know everyone in the high country, he knew even better the conditions it imposed. After one of her conversations with him, Miss Waxham wrote in her journal:

New England landscape

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And then we went off the lakebed and up into roadcuts of vetch-covered till among the kettles, kames, and drumlins, the Wabash Moraine, the New England landscape of glacial Indiana. “This would be a good place for a golf course,” Anita remarked. “If you want a golf course, go to a glacier.” We left the interstate for a time, the better to inspect the rough country. “I grew up in topography like this-in Brooklyn,” Anita said. “I didn’t know what bedrock meant. You could plot the limit of glaciation in New York City by the subway system. Where it’s underground, it’s behind the glaciation. Where it’s in the moraine and the outwash plain, it’s either elevated or in cuts in the ground.” Back on I-So-and running now on a pitted outwash plain, now on a moraine-we crossed the St. Joseph River. Anita’s thoughts were still in Brooklyn. “My father died twenty years ago,” she said. “When he was a little boy, his mother told him that if he ever ate food with his yarmulke off he would be struck dead. When kantoor huren per uur haarlem she wasn’t looking, he lifted his yarmulke and ate a spoonful of cereal. He didn’t die. He quit believing. His faith was shaken.” There was a gold dome on our left-like an egg resting in a bed of new green canopy leaves. It was the supreme roof of the University of Notre Dame. “They’re on outwash,” Anita said in passing, and returned to her reminiscences. “Religious prejudice in any form is despicable,” she went on. “In Brooklyn, when the Jehovah’s Witnesses tried to sell me The Watchtower I’d say, Tm illiterate.’ If they kantoor huren per uur breda persisted, I’d say, ‘Let me tell you about my God.’ ” Again the St. Joseph River intersected the highway, and we ran on through grass-covered roadcuts of a kame complex, and soon through others in a recessional moraine, locally called the Valparaiso Moraine. A road sign suggested the proximity of Valparaiso. ‘Where do they get a name like that in a lacklustre place like Indiana?” Anita said, and we swung out an exit for the Indiana Dunes.

Second World War

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Always, it was found in seeps. Even until a few years after the Second World War, all Iranian oil fields were associated with surface seeps. The first well in Texas-1865-was drilled near a seep. A well in Ontario had been drilled six years earlier, and in the same summer the first commercial oil well in the United States was drilled in Pennsylvania by Colonel Edwin Drake-less than a hundred steps from Oil Creek. Colonel Drake had no record of co-working space haarlem military service. He was a sick railroad conductor-forty years old but debilitated, too fragile to remain upright in the lurching aisles of the New York & New Haven. To the Pennsylvania Rock Oil Company of Connecticut, which had bought farmland and timberland along Oil Creek, he had committed his life savings. Drake was not a geologist. He did not know that petroleum is primarily the remains of marine algae that pile up dead on the floors of shallow seas in situations that prevent oxidation. He did not know that the algal corpses slowly stew for millions of years at temperatures just high enough to crack them into crude. He did not know that oil forms in one kind of rock and moves into another-forms in, say, the lagoonal muds of epicontinental seas, and moves later into the sandstones that were once the barrier beaches between the lagoons and the open sea. He did not know that Oil Creek had cut down through Pennsylvanian and Mississippian formations and on into a Devonian coast. Drake knew none of this in i859, and neither did the science of geology. What Drake did know was that there was negotiability in the stuff that was dripping into Oil Creek. It was even used as medicine. Fleets of red wagons co-working space breda had been all over eastern America selling seepage as a health-enhancing drink. “Kier’s Genuine Petroleum! Or Rock Oil! A natural remedy . . . possessing wonderful curative powers in diseases of the Chest, Windpipe and Lungs, also for the care of Diarrhea, Cholera, Piles, Rheumatism, Gout, Asthma, Bronchitis, Scrofula, or King’s Evil; Burns and Scalds, Neuralgia, Tetter, Ringworm, obstinate eruptions of the skin, Blotches and Pimples on the face, biles, deafness, chronic sore eyes, erysipelas …”

Plate tectonics

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The experience was cautionary, to say the least. It did not close her mind to plate tectonics, but it opened a line of suspicion and made her skeptical of the theory’s insistent universality. Her discomfort varies with distance from the mobile ocean floors. She likes to describe herself as a “protester.” The protest is not so much against the theory itself as against excesses of its application-up on the dry land. “A number of these people took very interesting ideas that apply to ocean floors and tried to apply them to everything,” she remarked. “They tried to extrapolate plate tectonics through all geologic time. I don’t know that that holds. My husband has blown some of their ideas apart.” Leonard Harris, sometimes co-working space tilburg known as Appalachian Harris, was very much a protester, too. Tragically, he died in i982, a relatively early victim of cancer and related trouble. He was a genial and softspoken, almost laconic man with a lean figure that had walked long distances without the help of trails. He liked to build ideas on studied rock, and was not easily charmed by megapictures global in their sweep. He referred to the long deep time before the Appalachian orogenies as “the good old days.” With regard to plate tectonics, he looked upon himself as a missionary of contrary opinion-not flat and rigid but selective, where he had knowledge to contribute. His wife has compared him to Martin Luther, nailing theses to the door of the castle church. For some years he assisted oil companies in the training of geologists and geophysicists in southern-Appalachian geology, and in return the companies made available to him their proprietary data from seismic investigations of the Appalachian crust. Later on, these data were supplemented by the seismic thumpings of the U.S.G.S. and co-working space groningen several university consortiums, whose big trucks go out with devices that literally shake the earth while vibration sensors record wave patterns reflected off the rock deep below. The technique is like computed axial tomography-the medical CAT scan. The patterns reveal structure. They reveal folds, faults, laminations, magmatic bodies both active and cooled. They report the top of the mantle.

Pennsylvanian time

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There were so many such cycles at close intervals in Pennsylvanian time that Pennsylvanian rock sequences are often striped like regimental ties-the signature of glaciers half the world away. They existed three hundred million years ago, and glacial patterns of that kind have not been repeated until now, when the measure of our own brief visit to the earth is being recorded as a paper-thin stripe in time. On both sides of the interstate, above the silhouettes of co-working space haarlem screening trees, we saw the tops of draglines-the necks and heads of industrial giraffes. They and predecessor machines had been working for fifty years, altering the topography, stripping the coal beds of Pennsylvania-in all, a mineral deposit worth a great deal more than the diamond mines of Kimberley and the goldfields of the Klondike. Coal was in the roadcuts now and would continue to be for many tens of miles-in layers that were not the dull deep gray of the Allegheny shale but truly black and shining. Layered light and dark, the roadcuts looked like Hungarian tortes. Reading up from the bottom, there was sandstone, siltstone, shale, coal, sandstone, siltstone, shale, coal. We would see limestones farther on, capping the coal where sea had covered the swamps. The present sequence was built behind a coastline-as is happening now, for example, in the bayous of the Mississippi Delta-by rivers meandering to and fro, covering with sand the matted vegetation. “These roadcuts are a textbook on the making of coal,” Anita said. Buried and co-working space groningen compressed, vegetal debris first becomes peat-a melange of spores, seed coats, wood, bark, leaves, and roots which looks like chewing tobacco and burns about as well. Peat bears much the same relation to coal that snow does to glacier ice. As snow is ever more buried and compacter!, it recrystallizes and becomes ice-on the average ten times as dense as the original snow. As peat is buried, compacted, subjected to geothermal heat, it gradually gives up much of its oxygen, hydrogen, and nitrogen, and concentrates its content of carbon. The American Geological Institute’s Glossary of Geology defines coal as “a readily combustible rock.”