By Ager D.V.
Read or Download The nature of stratigraphical record. New York: John Wiley and Sons. 114 pp PDF
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Extra info for The nature of stratigraphical record. New York: John Wiley and Sons. 114 pp
The hurricane, the flood or the tsunami may do more in an hour or a day than the ordinary processes of nature have achieved in a thousand years. Given all the millennia we have to play with in the stratigraphical record, we can expect our periodic catastrophes to do all the work we want of them. It is particularly instructive to look at the stratigraphical record of our kindred science of archaeology. This is close enough to us in time to qualify for the ‘present’ end of the uniformitarian doc trine.
In 1792, a similar rock-fall into Shimbara Bay, on the Japanese island of Kyushu, caused three surges which drowned 15 000 people. Most countries of the world have their records of great natural catastrophes which changed the local face of the earth. One thinks of the change in the course of the Hwang-ho River in China, which in less than eighty years moved its mouth some 250 miles from way to the south of Shantung on the Yellow Sea up nearly to Tientsin on the Gulf of Pohai. Alec Smith has told me of his studies on the bottom sediment of Lake Windemere in north-west England.
Bretz. Although this has been argued over for fifty years, the size of this ancient catastrophe now seems incontrovertible. What is more, it is close enough to the present day to be regarded as an illustration of the present-day processes by means of which we interpret the past. Bretz’s latest paper on the subject sums it up in vivid terms : ‘Although paleo-Tndians probably were already in North America, no human ear heard the crashing tumxilt when the Lake Missoula glacial dam .. burst and the nearly 2000 foot head of impounded water was free to escape from the Clark Fork River valley system of western Montana and across northern Idaho.