The Avalonian Orogeny

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The swelling up of mountains was described as an orogeny. Ontogeny, phylogeny, orogeny-accent syllable two. The Antler Orogeny, the Avalonian Orogeny, the Taconic, Acadian, Alleghenian orogenies. The Laramide Orogeny. The center of the United States had had a dull geologic history-nothing much being accumulated, nothing much being eroded away. It was just sitting there conservatively. The East had once been radical-had been unstable, reformist, revolutionary, in the Paleozoic pulses of zakelijke energie vergelijken three or four orogenies. Now, for the last hundred and fifty million years, the East had been stable and conservative. The far-out stuff was in the Far West of the country-wild, weirdsma, a leather-jacket geology in mirrored shades, with its welded tuffs and Franciscan melange (internally deformed, complex beyond analysis), its strikeslip faults and falling buildings, its boiling springs and fresh volcanics, its extensional disassembling of the earth. There was, to be sure, another side of the page-full of geological language of the sort that would have attracted Gilbert and Sullivan. Rock that stayed put was called autochthonous, and if it had moved it was allochthonous. “Normal” meant “at right angles.” “Normal” also meant a fault with a depressed hanging wall. There was a Green River Basin in Wyoming that was not to be confused with the Green River Basin in Wyoming. One was topographical and was on Wyoming. The other was structural and was under Wyoming. The Great Basin, which is centered in Utah and Nevada, was not to be confused with the Basin and Range, which is centered in Utah and Nevada. The Great Basin was topographical, and extraordinary in the world as a vastness of land that had no drainage to the sea. The Basin and Range was a realm of related mountains that coincided with the Great Basin, spilling zakelijke energie over slightly to the north and considerably to the south.

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