May 31, 2016

At the Hitting-the-Wall Café...


... what were you doing 500 million years ago?



Meade said...

Cousin Carbon.

MadisonMan said...

Is that Parfrey's Glen?

(Memo to self: Go Hiking there).

Or is it that State Park in western Dane Co that I'm forgetting the name of?

Paddy O said...

I was the thunder in the storms.
The dust of the moon.
The fusion in stars.
The rumble of the earth.
I was the stone in the avalanche.
The water in the rapids.
The tree in the forest.
The tornado on the plains.

MadisonMan said...

(Apologies to Gov Dodge in Iowa Co for forgetting the name and for misplacing it)

Karen of Texas said...

Nice, Paddy O.

Really enjoy your camera work, Professor. I'm partial to photos depicting nature in this way. I also love your "blooming" shots.

tim maguire said...

500 million years ago today I was a mollusk. 500 million years ago tomorrow, I got eaten by a Tylosaurus.

Etienne said...

Have you gone to concerts recently? Even in the park? What are these idiots holding up their cell phones??

I'm trying to enjoy the show and 50 people all have their cell phones in a Nazi salute.

"I paid for my ticket, so I can do whatever I want!" she said.

Well OK then... Sieg Heil!

effinayright said...

"Flower in the crannied wall,
I pluck you out of the crannies,
I hold you here, root and all, in my hand,
Little flower—but if I could understand
What you are, root and all, all in all,
I should know what God and man is."


Original Mike said...

The sandstone blocks I used to build walls in my garden are of Cambrian age (500 Mya) from a quarry in central Wisconsin. Several of the blocks have ripples on them from the near-shore environment in which they were deposited. Way cool.

Meade said...

MadisonMan, it's much closer to your house than Iowa County or Devil's Lake. Go out your front door. Now go 1 block north, 3 blocks west, 4 blocks north, 1 block west. Look to your left, see all those weeds and wildflowers? — go in there, keep going, careful, careful, STOP, look up, don't run into those rocks and bump your head! You're there.

Meade said...

Original Mike, I believe, can get there by hiking about the same distances but reverse directions.

Original Mike said...

Meade - Quarry Park?

Etienne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Char Char Binks, Esq. said...


I'll probably see that when I go to the Madison Opera concert Opera in the Park this July at Garner Park.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

From what I can tell from the (muted) screen in my office's elevator CNN appears to be going hard at Trump over his stated charity fundraising for veterans organizations. My thought: does the Left/Clinton campaign/Media really want to make non-profit fundraising a significant issue in this election? Clinton Global Initiative? Really?!

Meade said...

Original Mike, close but no carapace. I hesitate to give the exact location for fear that hordes of subterranean homesick arthropods will reverse-navigate their way to MadisonMan's front door chanting, "Hey, Mr. Tambourine Weatherman, which way DOES the wind blow?"

Rusty said...

I was evolving. Why? What have you heard?

traditionalguy said...

Trump donated his promised million dollar gift check late, or sort of late, maybe. And that makes him into a corrupt person finally being nailed by investigative journalists.


Original Mike said...

Hoyt Park? Which if true would not provide a roadmap to MadisonMan haters, given its size.

MadisonMan said...

Plus you have to substitute one of the directions with its opposite to get to my house, and change the number of blocks too!

But you'd be within a mile, give or take.

If it's not Hoyt, it could be region just south of Whole Foods between Barlow and Bluff and the Starbucks and Bagels Forever ;)

Meade said...

Hoyt it is. Just off Bluff St. I guess all the drift was removed by quarriers?

Original Mike said...

Two blocks from my house. Probably Cambrian sandstone, though we're right at the edge of Ordovician dolomite (Prairie du Chien Group). I'll have to go take a look.

Per the drift, we're right at the edge of the driftless area and the elevation of the near-west side is locally kind of high, so there may not have been much deposited. I've never known whether to blame all the clay in my backyard on the glacier or the homebuilder.

Captain Drano said...

I dream of building one of these someday--especially one similar to the 3500 B.C. dry stone wall in pic #4.

Hagar said...

I am beginning to wonder about the motivation of some of our politician "NeverTrumpers." Is it about principles or livelihood? Do they figure they can survive 4 years of the cesspool of corruption that a Hillary! presidency would be, and then continue more or less as things have been for the last several decades, whereas a Trump presidency would be moving into uncharted territory with strange new people coming to the fore and new and old issues being tackled in odd and unfamiliar ways?

Fernandinande said...

500 million years ago we had to use the internet by candlelight.

Hagar said...

and their wit and wisdom would not be marketable any more?

Original Mike said...

The overlook on Owen Parkway wasn't excavated. It's naturally exposed bedrock.

Original Mike said...

@Meeeea - I love dry walls. On the South Island of New Zealand they build dry walls from the local Haast schist. I wish I could post some of my pics, because we saw some spectacular examples.

Captain Drano said...

@ Original Mike, yes too bad you cannot post them, I'd love to see them! Must be the Irish in me--I've always been fascinated by stone buildings and walls.
For now, I'm going to have to start small:
But someday I will build a yuge dry stone wall.

Captain Drano said...

@Hagar, I saved this comment (but forgot from what blog!) as it may explain some of the nose-in-the-air #nevertrumps:

"Constitutional Insurgent said...
"And there you's no wonder you support Trump. You're of like intellect."

Not supporting Trump doesn't make you smart. It doesn't make you smarter than me. It is the last bastion of vanity for people who want to signal how smart they are. There are 2 groups of "smarter" people. The NRO crowd and the bitter Cruz supporters.

NRO and all of the smart people wont support Trump. You can be like them! Maybe they will let me on their Cruise so you can lick their boots. Maybe you can go to CPAC and hang out with all of the other wine drinking sots in DC. The parasite attached to Maryland sucking the life out of the country has a bunch of "conservatives" who just had their rice bowl kicked over.

Or maybe you are a despondent Cruz supporter. I started the campaign supporting Cruz. But it became clear he was a poor candidate very early on. Right ideas, sure loser.

The point is I understand these paradigms. I am not going to pigeon hole you into one yet but you have all of the hallmarks of a bitter Cruz supporter. Now Trump is championing all of the ideas you like and it is galling and his supporters are so... american. Look at all those... people out there. And Trump talks like one of them. He isn't erudite or smooth on the stump. He doesn't use a teleprompter and carefully plot out every word he says. They aren't true conservatives. You are a TRUE conservative. You are so conservative you can't possibly believe that Trump actually likes these ideas and will fight for them. Only an idiot would support this.

Most people think they are smarter than you actually are. Yes that includes me."

Original Mike said...

Meade - You might be interested in The Physical Geography of Wisconsin, Lawrence Martin, 3rd ed., p 221-5 for the geological formations in Madison. The terminology is archaic but that doesn't detract.

Original Mike said...

Thanks for the pics, Meeeea. Spectacular.

Meade said...

Thanks Mike. Very interested.

Original Mike said...

The Geology Library must have it.

Big Mike said...

... what were you doing 500 million years ago?

500 MYA was the Cambrian explosion, when most forms of animal life suddenly turn up in the fossil record. Hence the odds are that I was something preying upon something smaller than I. Perhaps I was an algae eater, but based upon what I was taught the entire plant family was limited to algae so that's not saying much. I'd like to think I was a chordate, but who knows?

Original Mike said...

Ooh, check this out re: Hoyt Park geology

Original Mike said...

And this.

Ann Althouse said...


By Langdon Smith (1858-1908)

When you were a tadpole and I was a fish
In the Paleozoic time,
And side by side on the ebbing tide
We sprawled through the ooze and slime,
Or skittered with many a caudal flip
Through the depths of the Cambrian fen,
My heart was rife with the joy of life,
For I loved you even then.

Mindless we lived and mindless we loved
And mindless at last we died;
And deep in the rift of the Caradoc drift
We slumbered side by side.
The world turned on in the lathe of time,
The hot lands heaved amain,
Till we caught our breath from the womb of death
And crept into life again.

We were amphibians, scaled and tailed,
And drab as a dead man's hand;
We coiled at ease 'neath the dripping trees
Or trailed through the mud and sand.
Croaking and blind, with our three-clawed feet
Writing a language dumb,
With never a spark in the empty dark
To hint at a life to come.

Yet happy we lived and happy we loved,
And happy we died once more;
Our forms were rolled in the clinging mold
Of a Neocomian shore.
The eons came and the eons fled
And the sleep that wrapped us fast
Was riven away in a newer day
And the night of death was passed.

Then light and swift through the jungle trees
We swung in our airy flights,
Or breathed in the balms of the fronded palms
In the hush of the moonless nights;
And oh! what beautiful years were there
When our hearts clung each to each;
When life was filled and our senses thrilled
In the first faint dawn of speech.

Thus life by life and love by love
We passed through the cycles strange,
And breath by breath and death by death
We followed the chain of change.
Till there came a time in the law of life
When over the nursing sod
The shadows broke and the soul awoke
In a strange, dim dream of God.

I was thewed like an Auroch bull
And tusked like the great cave bear;
And you, my sweet, from head to feet
Were gowned in your glorious hair.
Deep in the gloom of a fireless cave,
When the night fell o'er the plain
And the moon hung red o'er the river bed
We mumbled the bones of the slain.

I flaked a flint to a cutting edge
And shaped it with brutish craft;
I broke a shank from the woodland lank
And fitted it, head and haft;
Than I hid me close to the reedy tarn,
Where the mammoth came to drink;
Through the brawn and bone I drove the stone
And slew him upon the brink.

Loud I howled through the moonlit wastes,
Loud answered our kith and kin;
From west to east to the crimson feast
The clan came tramping in.
O'er joint and gristle and padded hoof
We fought and clawed and tore,
And cheek by jowl with many a growl
We talked the marvel o'er.

I carved that fight on a reindeer bone
With rude and hairy hand;
I pictured his fall on the cavern wall
That men might understand.
For we lived by blood and the right of might
Ere human laws were drawn,
And the age of sin did not begin
Til our brutal tusks were gone.

And that was a million years ago
In a time that no man knows;
Yet here tonight in the mellow light
We sit at Delmonico's.
Your eyes are deep as the Devon springs,
Your hair is dark as jet,
Your years are few, your life is new,
Your soul untried, and yet --

Our trail is on the Kimmeridge clay
And the scarp of the Purbeck flags;
We have left our bones in the Bagshot stones
And deep in the Coralline crags;
Our love is old, our lives are old,
And death shall come amain;
Should it come today, what man may say
We shall not live again?

God wrought our souls from the Tremadoc beds
And furnish’d them wings to fly;
He sowed our spawn in the world's dim dawn,
And I know that it shall not die,
Though cities have sprung above the graves
Where the crook-bone men made war
And the ox-wain creaks o'er the buried caves
Where the mummied mammoths are.

Then as we linger at luncheon here
O'er many a dainty dish,
Let us drink anew to the time when you
Were a tadpole and I was a fish.

Original Mike said...

Langdon Smith, the one-poem poet.

Meade said...

Nice finds, Mike. Your second link led me to the a Rock Elm meteorite:


Original Mike said...

Geology of Sauk County, Wisconsin

Have you ever been to Hemlock Draw? Lots of geology, including sea stacks composed of the Devil's Lake quartzite.

Meade said...

Hemlock Draw. Cool! We're going!

Original Mike said...

One of my favorite spots in southern Wisconsin. Great spring wildflowers (little late for that). Relic flora from the period following the glacier's retreat.

Original Mike said...

One more before going to bed. Geologic outcrops in Wisconsin: