Happy National Bison Day! Our national mammal is a shaggy symbol of strength and resilience. Their thick coats and powerful necks allow them to bulldoze their way through deep snow and find food even in the dead of winter. Social animals, they gather in large herds – their collective grunting and breathing make quite a noise. Adult males can weigh over a ton while still being able to run 35 miles an hour and jump 6 feet in the air. Most impressive. Photo of a bison at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming by Jacob W. Frank, National Park Service.
man the Appalachian mountains really aren’t shit huh
The Rockies are new, young and virile and fresh from the Laramide orogeny, tall and lanky teenagers on the geological scale.
the Appalachian mountains are old, formed hundreds of millions of years ago before dinosaurs walked the Earth. They are ancients, elders, witnesses to half a billion years of life coming and going.
To be tall is not a virtue. To be small is not a sin. The Appalachians are eroding under the weight of time, slowly shrinking and returning to the Earth from which they sprang.
Appreciate them while they are still here.
I do want to say real quick again about the age of the Appalachians…
They said “before dinosaurs,” but we have a cave here that began forming between 450 million to 550 million years ago.
There are no bones in that cave. No fossils. No nothing.
That’s because this cave began forming before bones existed on land, and had only just started to exist in the ocean. Shellfish hadn’t evolved yet. Limestone, which forms many caves, was just starting to become a more prevalent rock.
The mountains aren’t older than dinosaurs. They are older than bones.
see that little lump up at the top of minnesota? the sawtooth mountains? so small most places would just call them hills?
those are over a billion years old.
that’s why they’re so small. they’re the last ancient remnants of a lava flow 5 miles thick. the lava didn’t kill any dinosaurs. or any fish. or any animals at all. because there were no animals. you know what there was?
those mountains were 5 miles tall when the most advanced life on earth was algae.
so i’m just gonna go ahead and keep calling them mountains, even though all you need to climb them is hiking shoes and a nice afternoon. because a place where you can crouch down and touch basalt that was lava before leaves were invented deserves some respect.
The earth is unfathomably ancient, and you garner no love from her when you insult her eldest children.