Saturday, 16 July 2011

The Razor's Edge

This photograph shows part of the Dachstein Mountain Range in the Austrian Alps. Notice how the mountains are mirrored by the trees in the foreground.

The highest point on the Dachstein mountains is 2,996 mtrs above sea-level. When it comes to the Austrian Alps sea-level is measured from a point in the Adriatic Sea near Trieste, Italy.

Sea-level can vary from one sea or ocean to another. This is something that Napoleon considered when he was thinking of building a canal to link the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea. The emperor's surveyors pointed out to him that the sea level was higher in the Red Sea than in the Mediterranean Sea.

Consider the Biblical account of conditions during the time of the flight from Egypt - the tsunami and the volcanic eruptions that occurred at that time. Was the difference measured by Napoleon's surveyors a consequence of the seismic events described or of more recent events?

Whatever the reason for the sea-levels being different on either side of the Africa land bridge Napoleon decided not to go ahead with the project. He was afraid that a great flood could result if the canal was built. Unlike the Pharaoh's Army in pursuit of the Israelites Napoleon erred on the side of caution.*
When I walked over these peaks a couple of years ago I was astounded to discover an abundance of seashells, or at least the fossils of seashells; they were plainly visible in the rocks between the snowdrifts and there were thousands of them. They were everywhere; and bright and clean, almost unworn, unscathed; as if they had appeared there comparatively recently.

These mountains were at one time in the sea and now they are more than 2 miles above the sea. How can this happen? The Japanese earthquake gives us a clue. But the planet Earth can be far more violent than the mere shrug of shoulder we saw in Japan. These mountains, a razor's edge of peaks, home to creatures from the ocean, bear silent witness. We may choose to ignore the evidence - and carry on regardless - at our peril.


*recent seismic activity in and around the Red Sea and Eastern Mediterranean includes earthquakes and volcanic eruptions in Yemen, Eritrea, Turkey, Greece, Malta, Ethiopia, and Sicily.

I have to confess that a plan to build a nuclear power station complex (3 short-listed bids currently on the table) in Jordan, a land blessed with unlimited sunshine, is beyond my limited powers of comprehension.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.