Thursday, July 10, 2008

Big Earth

No great adventures appeared on my plate this past week, but then no episodes of stark terror grabbed my throat either. I'll slam the door on a deal like that.

I took some interesting pics, though. Take a look at this one (all these should expand if you double click on them):


If you were riding along in the footless halls of air and you happened to get bored with the movie that day—trust me, you would have—you might have looked down on western Nebraska and seen this strange colossal spider web.

Then, being the scientifically savvy individual you are, you would have thought, “Hey I know what that is!” Then you would look up, and see this:

What a sight! The atmosphere was alive with carbon footprints of a colossal nature. In actuality though, contrails are not carbon but water vapor. They form when hot engines pass through a cold humid atmosphere. Some years ago a conspiracy theory surfaced that alleged that contrails were actually caused by military flights spraying a chemical that made people sterile in order to reduce population growth. Ridiculous! But maybe we should keep the idea on the back burner.

I also snapped this photo of Ship Rock Mountain in northern New Mexico. It was so named by early pioneers who thought it looked like a square rigger. The Navajos considered it sacred. Geologically, it’s a volcanic neck, which is basically a volcano that wasn’t. It cooled before ever reaching the surface. Being the scientifically minded person you are, you would immediately know that the softer rocks around it eroded away to leave it sticking up 1,700 feet above the desert basin. The dike-like structures radiating out are exactly that, in geological terms, dikes: volcanic rock that found its way up through cracks caused by the main neck.
 
A geologist friend of mine, Rusty Ward, said it was a “rod flung through the crankcase of the world.” Perfect description! In addition to being a superb geologist Ward is also a master of the metaphor.

I just finished a mighty good page-turner: Palace Cobra, by Ed Rasimus. Want to know what it’s like to ride a Phantom to Hanoi? Read Rassimus. He won't dazzle you with what a hero he is; he'll just tell an important story that happened on his watch and he will do it with metapohors and color that Rusty Ward would nod approval at.

1 comment:

bradcockrell said...

This post felt sorta like an episode of "How It's Made." Good stuff!