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On My Island

April 20, 2009

 

Striding across one of the quartzite ridges that formed islands in the Ordovician sea: L-R are Norm Aime, me, and Ed Dobrzanski (photo © David Rudkin, Royal Ontario Museum)

Striding across one of the quartzite ridges that formed islands in the Ordovician sea: L-R are Norm Aime, me, and Ed Dobrzanski. (photo © David Rudkin, Royal Ontario Museum)

Sometimes, standing on top of the quartzite ridge, even with the arctic lichens and stunted spruce all around, I can easily imagine that I am at the pinnacle of a tall, narrow island, a few hundred metres across and a couple of kilometers long – because that is where I am in my time machine.  Facing north, where I can see the icy waters of Hudson Bay, it is easy to imagine a warm sea, although it is often harder to picture a hot equatorial sun directly overhead.  Behind me to the south, the low landscape of railway, muskeg, estuary, and boreal forest stretching to the horizon is a continuation of that broad sea.  

 

 

West of the Churchill River, one can stand on top of one quartzite ridge and look across to the next one.  In the Late Ordovician Period, this low area was a channel between tropical islands.

West of the Churchill River, one can stand on top of one quartzite ridge and look across to the next ridge. In the Late Ordovician Period, this low area was a channel between tropical islands.

The quartzite ridges extending past the giant grain elevator on my left, and on my right all the way to the old rocket range far past the airport, are a sinuous archipelago of small islands like my own, the only land standing above the sea surface for hundreds of kilometres in any direction.

 

From a helicopter it is easy to see the outlines of the islands that existed 445 million years ago.

From a helicopter it is easy to see the outlines of islands that existed here 445 million years ago.

Churchill may be a unique, lonely place today, but on my Ordovician island it is far lonelier – for it is silent except for the waves lapping on the shore. The silence is occasionally disturbed by tropical thunder, and rarely by giant hurricanes driving monstrous waves and huge boulders against the shore.  There are no gull cries, but the smells may not be all that different – no doubt there is rotting seaweed on the Ordovician shores, too.  

And what about tastes?  There are no fish to catch in the Churchill area, no land animals on the shore, but giant trilobite probably tastes a lot like lobster.  Every time machine should be stocked with nutcrackers, bibs, and  a supply of melted butter.   

 

 

... tastes like ...

... tastes like ...

 

 

... perhaps?

... perhaps?

5 Comments leave one →
  1. lockwooddewitt permalink
    June 11, 2009 3:24 pm

    Just found your blog via another geoblogger’s posting. We have an Accretionary Wedge posting coming up soon. If you’re not familiar with it, The Accretionary Wedge is the geoblogosphere’s (mostly) monthly carnival, where participants write up a post on a pre-chosen theme. This month’s theme is “Let’s Do A Time Warp”; participants are asked to pick a time and place they’d most like to visit first hand in a time machine. This post is a perfect bit to include. I would take an excerpt, a sentence or few, maybe link a picture, and then link to your blog and this specific post. So you would probably get a bit more traffic and exposure. Take a look at the first link to get a better sense of what the community of geobloggers is up to. My own blog, where the second link is posted, is a mishmash of lots of stuff, not just geology. Most geobloggers pretty much stick to that topic. I guess I’ll just put in an abbreviated link unless I hear back from you; I don’t want to pull a quote or picture without permission. I’m subscribed to comments now, so I’m hoping to hear back from you.

    • Graham permalink*
      June 11, 2009 4:26 pm

      Many thanks for your notes. And yes, I would be delighted if you want to post a link and picture!

  2. lockwooddewitt permalink
    June 14, 2009 8:19 pm

    Graham- the Accretionary Wedge is up. If you haven’t yet, you should also check out the AW’s home page, and the “Who’s Hosting the Next AW?” welcomes any geoblogger that has an idea for another AW. I think you’ll find these self-explanatory, but don’t hesitate to leave questions there, or on my blog if they arise.

    • Graham permalink*
      June 14, 2009 8:22 pm

      Thank you. I will look at it right after I send this!

Trackbacks

  1. Accretionary Wedge: Time Warp! « The Accretionary Wedge

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