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Home > Category Index for Science Quotations > Category Index S > Category: Stratification

Stratification Quotes (2 quotes)

Nature could not err, but knew exactly and infallibly. Our function was to ask her questions, to listen patiently to the answers, and to understand them correctly.
And to this end we went out into the field, time and time again. Often at brief intervals we returned to the same outcrop where our Pythia, nature, opened her mouth from time to time to utter her equivocal oracles. Time and again we studied the same stratification, or the same interpenetration of rocks, and yet each time advanced one step further, because of what we had learned on the last visit, because the previous impression had had time to settle, or because this time our eyes were a little keener and now observed what hitherto had escaped them.
In Hans Cloos, Ernst Cloos (ed.) and Curt Dietz (ed.), Conversation With the Earth (1953, 1959), 28, as translated by E.B. Garside from the original German edition, Gespräch mit der Erde (1947).
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The primary rocks, ... I regard as the deposits of a period in which the earth's crust had sufficiently cooled down to permit the existence of a sea, with the necessary denuding agencies,—waves and currents,—and, in consequence, of deposition also; but in which the internal heat acted so near the surface, that whatever was deposited came, matter of course, to be metamorphosed into semi-plutonic forms, that retained only the stratification. I dare not speak of the scenery of the period. We may imagine, however, a dark atmosphere of steam and vapour, which for age after age conceals the face of the sun, and through which the light of moon or star never penetrates; oceans of thermal water heated in a thousand centres to the boiling point; low, half-molten islands, dim through the log, and scarce more fixed than the waves themselves, that heave and tremble under the impulsions of the igneous agencies; roaring geysers, that ever and anon throw up their intermittent jets of boiling fluid, vapour, and thick steam, from these tremulous lands; and, in the dim outskirts of the scene, the red gleam of fire, shot forth from yawning cracks and deep chasms, and that bears aloft fragments of molten rock and clouds of ashes. But should we continue to linger amid a scene so featureless and wild, or venture adown some yawning opening into the abyss beneath, where all is fiery and yet dark,—a solitary hell, without suffering or sin,—we would do well to commit ourselves to the guidance of a living poet of the true faculty,—Thomas Aird and see with his eyes.
Lecture Sixth, collected in Popular Geology: A Series of Lectures Read Before the Philosophical Institution of Edinburgh, with Descriptive Sketches from a Geologist's Portfolio (1859), 297-298.
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Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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