The new and reversed eastern rivers

Gerelateerde afbeelding

The new and reversed eastern rivers differentially eroded the Appalachian structures. Where they got into the shales and the carbonates, they dug deep and wide. Where they found quartzite and other metamorphic rock, they encountered tough resistance. Sometimes, working down into the country, they came to the arching quonset roofs of anticlines, and slicing their way through quartzite found limestones within. It was like slicing into the foil around a potato and finding the soft interior. The water would remove the top of the arch, dig a valley far down inside, and leave quartzite stubs to either side as ridges flanking the carbonate valley. Streams eroding headward ate up the hillsides back into the mountainsides, digging grooves toward the nearest divide. On the other side was another stream, doing the same. Working into the mountain, the two streams drew closer to each other until the divide between them broke down and they were now confluent, one stream co-working spce rotterdam changing direction, captured. In this manner, some thousands of streams-consequent streams, pirate streams, beheaded streams, defeated streams-formed and re-formed, shifting valleys, making hundreds of water gaps with the general and simple objective of finding in the newly tilted landscape the shortest possible journey to the sea. A gap abandoned by its streams is called a wind gap. In the regional context, the water gap of the Delaware River is a little less phenomenal than it once appeared to be. Until about i970, the picture in vogue of the early Cenozoic American East was of a vast peneplain, a flat world of scant relief, with oxbowed meandering rivers heading almost nowhere. The assault of water on the ancestral mountains was thought to have worn down the whole topography close to sea level. The peneplain then rose up, according to the hypothesis, and rivers dissected it, flushing out the soft rock and leaving hard co-working space utrecht rock high, in the form of remarkably level ridges-as flat as the peneplain, of which they were thought to be remnants. Where the rivers of the peneplain had flowed across the tops of buried ridges, they cut down through them as the ridges came up-making gaps. That was the history as it was taught for three-quarters of a century. It was known as the hypothesis of the Schooley Peneplain, after Schooley Mountain, in New Jersey, which looks like an aircraft carrier. The Schooley Peneplain is out of vogue. It is an emeritus idea. It has been replaced by a story out of steady-state physics having to do with the relationship of level ridgelines to certain degrees of slope. A graduate student once remarked to me that old hypotheses never really die. He said they’re like dormant volcanoes.

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