Students and professors

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In June, every year, students and professors from eastern colleges-with their hydrochloric-acid phials and their hammers and their Brunton compasses-head west. To be sure, there is plenty of absorbing geology under the shag of eastern America, galvanic conundrums in Appalachian structure and intricate puzzles in history and stratigraphy. In no manner would one wish to mitigate the importance of the eastern scene. Undeniably, though, the West is where the rocks are-the vastnesses of exposed rock-and of zakelijke energie eastern geologists who do any kind of summer field work about seventyfive per cent go west. They carry state geological maps and the regional geological highway maps that are published by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists-maps as prodigally colored as drip paintings and equally formless in their worm-trailand-paramecium depictions of the country’s uppermost rock. The maps give two dimensions but more than suggest the third. They tell the general age and story of the banks of the asphalt stream. Kleinspehn has been doing this for some years, getting into her Minibago, old and overloaded, a two-door Ford, heavy-duty springs, with odd pieces of the Rockies under the front seat and a mountain tent in the gear behind, to cross the Triassic lowlands and the Border Fault and to rise into the Ridge and Valley Province, the foldedand-faulted, deformed Appalachians-the beginnings of a journey that zakelijke energie vergelijken above all else is physiographic, a journey that tends to mock the idea of a nation, of a political state, as an unnatural subdivision of the globe, as a metaphor of the human ego sketched on paper and framed in straight lines and in riparian boundaries between unalterable coasts. The United States: really a quartering of a continent, a drawer in North America. Pull it out and prairie dogs would spill off one side, alligators off the other-a terrain crisscrossed with geological boundaries, mammalian boundaries, amphibian boundaries: the limits of the world of the river frog, the extent of the Nugget formation, the range of the mountain cougar. The range of the cougar is the cougar’s natural state, overlying segments of tens of thousands of other states, a few of them proclaimed a nation. The United States of America, with its capital city on the Atlantic Coastal Plain.

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