Dispatches from District 48
The footprints are cool. But what really had an effect on me is how vividly this picture portrays the power of geologic forces (combined with time). This wall of rock was obviously once horizontal.
More pictures here.
Is this the new Devo album cover?
That's what they want you to think...
Most people have no concept whatsoever of the time taken to deform rocks. It is literally beyond most people's imaginations.
I dunno -- it seems to me there are pretty easy ways to conceptualize large numbers. Take pixels on a computer screen. You can see one with you naked eye (a 'stuck pixel' on a defective screen is easily visible). There are a little less than 2000 pixels in a row on an HD screen and a little over a 1000 rows. Still easy to grasp. OK -- that's about 2 million pixels. Consider an office building with 50 computer screens in it. That's 100 million pixels -- which is how many years you have to go back to get to the middle of the Cretaceous period.
Here in California it just takes a million years or so to turn mountains on their side. The transverse range is being chopped, pushed up, rotated, and tilted like an onion on a butcher's block. As a geologist the weird stuff is the flat lying Archean rocks in Australia.
If you want to see impressive -- this collision takes the cake in terms of preserved events: http://news.agu.org/press-release/scientists-reconstruct-ancient-impact-that-dwarfs-dinosaur-extinction-blast/
It dropped a foot of ejecta debris around the globe, incinerated any life not buried meters deep, boiled oceans. . . .