By hydrologic standards, the Potomac River is nothing particularly impressive. However insignificant it may be in size, it nevertheless holds a core place in American lore… Besides ornamenting one of the most powerful cities in the history of the world, it has had a profound role in shaping human and geologic history: a conduit, a chasm, and a corrosive.
A quick glance at a political map of Kansas belies the interesting contours of the state. Whether derided as flat, scorned as a square, misunderstood in the middle, or reminisced in quaint nostalgia as Dorothy’s “home on the range”, the reputation of this state does not generally match the history and geology it has to offer.
Beyond helping others, volunteering provides specific benefits to young professionals aiming to increase their professional profile, can help to lengthen and broaden experience, and gives you the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than yourself.
20,000 feet under the present-day trees of the Shawnee National Forest, an ancient sea of magma frothed and bubbled, but eventually settled into an uneasy rest. As the eons passed, the tumultuous history of Illinois was hidden beneath a sea of sediment, exiled to the depths, quietly changing among the changes. As North America develops geologically, the Precambrian in Illinois has become forgotten, discarded as dull craton. Even the few attempting to read the writing in its rocks cannot glimpse much. But beneath the layered disinterest, the Precambrian in Illinois is very much alive and shaping the surface, supporting geologic reservoirs and sometimes participating in a terrible dance of trembling fury. Submerged in a sea of stone and sediment, it is quiet, but by no means has it been stilled. In geology, the past seldom stays in the past.
…A distant explosion…Millions of miles away, two kernels of space dust begin to circle around an empty point in space in a tight gravitational dance triggered by the shockwaves from the supernova. As the two specks circle, a third joins. Then four…five…six thousand, seven million, eight billion particles are drawn in by the movement. Nine trillion and counting. The momentum of 10 quadrillion particles continues to snowball around what had been empty space. This ripple effect will slowly create a disk reaching more than 8 billion miles wide (the distance light travels in half of a current earth-day). The spinning becomes frantic at the center of this enormous disk. The particles near the axis spin at such terrifying traffic and speed, a collision is inevitable. Then, it happens: two small atoms collide at nearly the speed of light, triggering an explosion of nuclear fusion. A helium atom is born in the fire.
And there was morning, the first day.
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