Friday, February 19, 2010

Getic Basin, Romania

The Getic basin, also known as the Southern Carpathians foredeep, is a geologic province located in south-central Romania, between the crystalline belt of the Southern Carpathians and the Moesian Platform.
© RomaniaRocks

Pictures from Salatruc,  Topolog River valley, Curtea de Arges, Corbi village, give a feel for how this part of Romania looks like.

The basin formed during Late Cretaceous time (more than 70 million years ago) by flexure of the lithosphere in response to thrusting and crustal thickening in the adjacent mountain belt. During Early Tertiary time (or about 60 million years ago), the Getic basin was an elongated and asymmetrical foredeep, with an axis oriented parallel to the Southern Carpathians orogenic belt, a steeply dipping flank on the orogen side, and a gently dipping flank overlying the platform.
Thrusting in the Southern Carpathians resulted from the interaction between two plate fragments, the Rhodopian and Moesian fragments.
© RomaniaRocks

This interaction had important consequences for the development of the Getic basin and was characterized by continental collision and subduction during the Late Cretaceous, and compression with a component of dextral wrenching during the Paleogene.
The Paleogene-Lower Miocene basin fill consists of siliciclastic, continental to shallow marine rocks in the northern part of the basin, grading basinward (southward) into deep marine deposits. The sediment source area was the Southern Carpathians orogenic belt.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

What geology taught me about time

For a geologist the concept of time has a dual character: the time on the human scale, measured in years, months, hours, seconds, and the time on the geologic scale, measured in millions of years.   The beauty of this for me is that I do not completely partition the two scales; instead, because I deal with the time at the geologic scale as part of my profession, I am able to place the human scale in a different perspective.

The planet is about 4.6 billions year old, give or take; the first Homo Sapiens appeared only two (yes, that is 2!) millions year ago.  The recorded human history started only about 10,000 years ago.

If the age of our planet is scaled to the human scale, that would make the Earth ... let's say 80 years old (by using the average life span for people in the developed countries).  That means that the recorded human history started only about 2.5 hours ago, Homo Sapiens is almost 13 days old, and the dinosaurs became extinct only about a year ago (409 days).  (You can build your own geologic time scale metaphors here).

Placing events in a broader perspective is what geology taught me most.  Especially in a time when instant gratification is the norm, I know that focusing on the long term with a constant effort is what has the most impact.
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