The turnabout

Gerelateerde afbeelding

The turnabout was at hand, however. Charles Lyell, the most outstanding British geologist of the nineteenth century, closely read the Etudes sur les Glaciers and found himself enlightened. “Lyell has adopted your theory in toto!!!” a friend wrote to Agassiz. “On my showing him a beautiful cluster of moraines, within two miles of his father’s house, he instantly accepted it, as solving a host of difficulties that have all his life embarrassed him.” Charles Darwin hurried out into the countryside to see for himself if there were “marks left by extinct glaciers.” He wrote to a friend, “I assure you, an extinct volcano could hardly leave more evident traces of its activity and vast powers ….T he valley about here and the site of the inn at which I am now writing must once have been covered by at least eight hundred or a thousand feet in co-working space rotterdam thickness of solid ice! Eleven years ago I spent a whole day in tl1e valley where yesterday everything but the ice of the glaciers was palpably clear to me, and I then saw nothing but plain water and bare rock.” The scientific dons of Cambridge continued stubborn, but-as would happen witl1 the theory of plate tectonics in the years following the revelations of the nineteen-sixties-geologists in expanding numbers accepted the glacial picture, and before long tlrnre was a low percentage that did not entlmsiastically subscribe. Delivering an address in i862 to the Geological Society of London, Sir Roderick Murchison declared without shame that he, too, now saw the picture. He sent a copy of his address to Agassiz witl1 a note that said, “I have had the sincerest pleasure in avowing that I was wrong inĀ opposing as I did your grand and original idea of my native co-working space almere mountains. Yes! I am now convinced that glaciers did descend from the mountains to the plains as they do now in Greenland.”
Greenland is eighty-five per cent capped with ice. Anyone who doubts that we live in a glacial epoch need only note the great whiteness that Greenland contributes to a map. “The ice melted here eighteen thousand years ago,” Anita said, with a nod toward the roadside in Ohio. “It melted twelve thousand years ago in Wisconsin and Maine. If you ask a penguin in the Antarctic, the Ice Age hasn’t stopped yet.”

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