WHERE CONTINENTS DO NOT COLLIDE

Thrust faults along the Front Range of the Rockies.

TOPIC 65  DISTORTION  I am a very, very amateur geologist.  I love shells and rocks.  We had to dump ten  bags of rocks along the banks of a sometime stream in Van Cortland Park before we moved West from the Bronx.  Any future geologist will be hard put to explain the collection for they came from all over the US.  I brought three bags with us.  Just couldn’t let go of them.

Now I live facing the Rockies.  Geologists are hard put to explain how they formed.  Most mountains form when continents collide.  Not so the Rockies or so the latest theory goes.  You can read about it here.   Birth of the Rockies

Here are the two pertinent paragraphs:

Now, Jones and his team have proposed a new model, published in the February issue of Geosphere, that may unravel the mystery. Their theory centers on the fact that under Wyoming, the North American plate is thicker than elsewhere, protruding like the keel of a boat into the more fluid part of the mantle underneath. As the oceanic plate subducted (slid under it), the fluid layer flowed into the space between the two plates. As it tried to flow back out, it got cut off under the keel, creating a strong suction force. The suction flexed the crust downward and formed a basin in Colorado and southern Wyoming.

In a counterintuitive fashion, this depression then gave rise to the Rockies: The suction weakened the crust, so when the plate pressed in from the side—adding compressive forces to the mix—the force was great enough to fracture the crust and push up mountains. Jones uses an analogy of a sheet of molasses to explain it: “If you spooned out part [of the molasses], making a basin, the surrounding molasses would flow in, thickening the molasses in the hole,” he says. “Such thickening in the Earth causes thrust faults [where ground on one side of the fault moves up and over adjacent ground] like those that pushed up the Front Range or Wind Rivers.”

All that to explain my picture of thrust faults–what I ran across when I when searching through my photos for a picture that could be called a distortion.

I love thrust faults, they remind me that in Nature’s Eye I am smaller than the tiny ants I sometimes see scrabbling here and there.  I wonder if they think me a Goddess or why they deserved the death if that comes if I don’t see them and step on them. Or worse if they have crept into my kitchen and I annihilate them with a quick spray.   Perhaps ants think about such things. I cannot know that for certain. I know I do.

When I see the building of the world that is so incredibly clear along the Front Range, I am certain there is more than me. I just don’t know.  Nor do the scientists as their theories shift and then shift again.  Still, I am awed by it all.  And I am also grateful that in all that immensity there is me and the me that is knows it is part of worlds within worlds.

STAYING STRONG TIP  Step out of you as the center of the universe.  Step into the graduer that you are part of.  Also, when you think you know, your probably don’t, like scientists we all form our little theories.  I try to hold mine lightly.  Saves arguing.

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IMAGE BY ME

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