When a geologist finds oolites embedded in rock-in, say, some Cambrian \outcrop in the Lehigh Valley-the Bahamas come to mind, and the Great Salt Lake, and, by inference, a shallow, lime-rich Cambrian sea. Our sample bag was like a ten-pound sack of sugar. I rolled over on my back, set it on my stomach, and, floating a little lower, kicked in to shore. On the firm flat beach of the Great Salt Lake were many hundreds of thousands of brine flies-broad dark patche of them hopping and buzzing a steady collective electrical hum. A sacred gull
made short bursts through the brine flies, its bill clapping. Three years before gulls ate crickets and saved the Mormons, Kit Carson shot gulls to feed the starving emigrants. Gulls, though, and brine flies are natural survivors. Now, at the end of spring runoff, dead creatures were everywhere. Osmotic shock had killed shrimp outnumbering the flies. Corpses, a couple of centimetres each, lay in hydrogen-sulphide decaying stink. Interlayered with the oolites on the bottom of the lake was a kind of galantine of brine shrimp, the greasy black muck of trillions dead. Salt crystals clung like snow to our hair, and were spread on our faces like powder. In man-made ponds near the shore, the sun was making Morton’s salt. Spaced zakelijke energie along the beach were water towers, courtesy of the State of Utah. You pulled a rope and took a shower. And now in the autumn snow, Deffeyes and I could see shoreline terraces of Lake Bonneville a thousand feet above us on mountain slopes. That a lake so deep had been brought down to a present average depth of thirteen feet was food for melancholia. Still shrinking, it had long since become the world’s second-deadest body of water. In a couple of hundred years, it could match the Dead Sea. “Mother of God, that’s nice,” said Deffeyes suddenly, braking down the pickup on the shoulder of the road. The tip of the nose of the Stansbury Mountains had been sliced off by the interstate to reveal a sheer and massive section of handsome blue rock, thinly bedded, evenly zakelijke energie vergelijken bedded, forty metres high. Its parallel planes were tilting, dipping, gently to the east, with the exception of some confused and crumpled material that suggested a snowball splatted against glass, or a broken-down doorway in an otherwise undamaged wall.