Basin and Range

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Basin and Range also includes the long set piece on time. The time scale we more or less take for granted did not exist in the early nineteenth century. In fifty years or so, it was gradually assembled by amateurs (often medical doctors) who pieced this to that, saw which came earlier, and gave names to distinctive zones of time. As you try to follow the changing face of the earth, the role of time is of course all-important, and time in its quantity is very hard to sense. Pages 69-gg. In college, I majored in English. In college and in high school, I took various introductory courses in physics, chemistry, biology, and geology, but only out of idle interest or to discharge distributional requirements. Like all writing, writing about geology is zakelijke energie masochistic, mind-fracturing self-enslaved labor-a description that intensifies when the medium is rock. What then could explain such behavior? Why would someone out of one culture try to make prose out of the other? Why would someone who majored in English choose to write about rocks? Why would a person who works for something called a Humanities Council and teaches a university course called Humanistic Studies 440 undertake to write about geology? I believe those questions are answered in one paragraph from Basin and Range. Pages 31-32. With brief exceptions, I have lived all my life in Princeton, New Jersey, where I was educated in the public schools and at the university. When I was seventeen, I went off to Deerfield Academy, in Massachusetts, where a geologist named Frank Conklin presented his subject in a first-rate full-year course. Even then, I was an English-major designate, but in the decades of writing that followed-highly varied non-fiction writing, often involving natural scenes-the geology lay there to be tapped. Sooner or later in many of my projects, geology would be touched upon in one way or another, and I would ask the geologists of the Princeton faculty to help me get it right. There were some geological passages in books like The Pine Barrens and Encounters with the Archdruid, for example, and there were more in Coming into the Country, arising from a question I had long meant to ask. Obviously, the placer gold in the drainages of the Yukon was there because weather had broken up mountains and bestrewn the gold in the gravels of streams. That I thought I understood. But I wondered what had put the gold in the mountains in the first place. I called the Geology Department and  zakelijke energie vergelijken talked with a professor who said he could not begin to answer the question. He had a preoccupying interest in Jurassic leaves. “Call Ken Deffeyes,” he said. “Deffeyes knows, or thinks he knows.” For me, Deffeyes put the gold in the mountains.