Deep Past : Intro.






This is an introduction to my 'Deep Past' Series. 

The task I have set myself is to produce a jargon-free summary of the origin and nature of the features of the landscape of this area, in a brief enough form to be readable on a mobile phone. 

This involves many compromises. I don't wish to try your patience dear reader and that, together with a lack of screen space, means that this will be thin gruel. I cannot pose as an expert so you will just have to trust that I have done some homework, mainly relying on brevity trying and sticking to mainstream explanations. If you can tell me how to improve this stuff without lengthening it, please do. 

The general idea is that this series will cover the general features of the area. I will leave all finer detail to locally specific posts, most often the suggested cycling routes.

The problem was always where to start. The fact is that nearly everything we can see is the result of relatively chapters in Earth's eventful history. I like the analogy of a room in which you see a carpet. If you want you can lift it to see floorboards or even the foundations underneath. Let's do that. 

Of course, you might have your own view of how it all started. Your very own creation myth.  Me, I believe in Terry Pratchett's version. The idea that we are swanning (!) around on the back of a giant turtle is also found in Hinduism, mainly because the idea also crops up in Indian, Chinese and Native American religions. That cannot be a coincidence can it?  

The Great A'Tuin

He even foresaw the subsequent management issues: 

"Some people” – and here the creator looked sharply at the unformed matter still streaming past – “think it’s enough to install a few basic physical formulas and then take the money and run.  A billion years later you got leaks all over the sky, black holes the size of your head, and when you pray up to complain there’s just a girl on the counter who says she don’t know where the boss is." 

Top scientists now believe that Terry's take on this isn't entirely supported by the evidence. Turtles steer a steady course but the Earth doesn't. It's its axis isn't vertical and it's orbit around the Sun isn't round so it's distance so it wanders and wobbles. Hence the seasons but also some massive longer term changes in the climate. As it stands, if we left the planet to its own devices and hadn't turned the heaters on, we should be welcoming the glaciers back in 50,000 years or so.

And that isn't the only agent of long-term radical change in our environment. The planet and its surface are themselves restless and change is the only constant, as I will explain in the next post in this series: 



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