Flower of the Day (FOTD) Challenge: Hydrangeas

Summer means hydrangeas. Self has some large ones on her porch.

Thank you to Cee Neuner for hosting this fun challenge.

The Six-Mile Wide Asteroid

It “arrived from the southeast, traveling at a low angle relative to the earth, so that it came in not so much from above as from the side, like a plane losing altitude. When it slammed into the Yucatan Peninsula, it was moving at something like forty-five thousand miles per hour and, due to its trajectory, North America was particularly hard-hit . . . “Basically, if you were a triceratops in Alberta, you had about two minutes before you got vaporized,” is how one geologist put it to me.

— p. 86, The Sixth Extinction

The Late Cretaceous in Suburban New Jersey

Chapter IV is about Ammonites, Discoscaphites jerseyensis

Kolbert meets a geologist from Brooklyn College in a parking lot next to a baseball field. They strike out through the underbrush to a shallow creek.

Its banks were covered in rust-colored slime. Brambles hung over the water. Fluttering from these were tattered banners of debris: lost plastic bags, scraps of newspaper, the rings from ancient six-packs.

In the “creek bed, a few inches above the water line,” was an exposed iridium layer, evidence of the six-mile wide asteroid that hit the earth in the late Cretaceous, wiping out the dinosaurs. A scientist digs out a piece of ammonite.

Kolbert goes on to describe the prevalence of ammonites: “Pliny the Elder, who died in the eruption that buried Pompeii, was already familiar with them . . . “

That mention of Pliny the Elder dying at Pompeii . . . This Sunday, self is going to see the exhibit Last Supper at Pompeii at the Legion of Honor. The exhibit traveled from the Ashmolean, where self first saw it in November 2019. It was a fantastic exhibit, she wanted to see it again but ran out of time. She didn’t think she’d have another chance, but here it is, in her own backyard!

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Darwin’s On the Origin of Species

Darwin “observes that animals inevitably become rare before they become extinct.”

The Sixth Extinction, Chapter III: The Original Penguin, Pinguinus impennis

Chapter III charts the extinction of a sea bird, the great auk, that once numbered in the millions. Where have you been all self’s life, Elizabeth Kolbert.

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