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万物简史(MP3+中英字幕) 第264期:大地在移动(18)

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The outline of Gondwana, a once-mighty continent connecting Australia, Africa, Antarctica, and South America, was based in large part on the distribution of a genus of ancient tongue fern called Glossopteris, which was found in all the right places. However, much later Glossopteris was also discovered in parts of the world that had no known connection to Gondwana. This troubling discrepancy was—and continues to be—mostly ignored. Similarly a Triassic reptile called Lystrosaurus has been found from Antarctica all the way to Asia, supporting the idea of a former connection between those continents, but it has never turned up in South America or Australia, which are believed to have been part of the same continent at the same time.
冈瓦纳大陆一度是一块很大的陆块,连接澳大利亚、非洲、南极洲和南美洲。它的版图在很大程度上是根据古代一种名叫石苇的舌羊齿属植物的分布确定的。石苇在该发现的地方都有发现。然而,很久以后,世界的其他地方也发现了舌羊齿属植物,那些地方跟冈瓦纳大陆并不相连。在很大程度上,这个令人不安的矛盾过去──现在仍然──很大程度上被忽略了。同样,一种名叫水龙兽的三叠纪爬行动物从南极洲到亚洲都有发现,但据认为这两个地方在同一时间曾经属于同一大陆。
Earth mapThere are also many surface features that tectonics can't explain. Take Denver. It is, as everyone knows, a mile high, but that rise is comparatively recent. When dinosaurs roamed the Earth, Denver was part of an ocean bottom, many thousands of feet lower. Yet the rocks on which Denver sits are not fractured or deformed in the way they would be if Denver had been pushed up by colliding plates, and anyway Denver was too far from the plate edges to be susceptible to their actions. It would be as if you pushed against the edge of a rug hoping to raise a ruck at the opposite end. Mysteriously and over millions of years, it appears that Denver has been rising, like baking bread. So, too, has much of southern Africa; a portion of it a thousand miles across has risen nearly a mile in 100 million years without any known associated tectonic activity.
还有许多地面特征构造地质学无法解释。以美国科罗拉多州丹佛为例。大家知道,这个地方海拔1500米,但那个高度是近来才有的事。在恐龙漫步地球的年代,丹佛还是海底的组成部分,在几千米深的海水底下。然而,丹佛底下的岩石没有磨损,没有变形。要是丹佛是被互相撞击的板块托起来的话,情况不该是这样。无论如何,丹佛离板块的边缘很远,不可能受到它们的作用。这就好比你推一下地毯边缘,希望在对面的一端产生一个褶皱。在几百万年时间里,丹佛好像一直在神秘地上升,就像烤面包那样。非洲南部的许多地区也是这样。其中有一片1600公里宽的地方,在1000万年里隆起了大约1.5公里,而据知没有任何有关的构造活动。
重点单词   查看全部解释    
portion ['pɔ:ʃən]
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n. 部分,份,命运,分担的责任
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comparatively [kəm'pærətivli]
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adv. 比较地,相对地
 
distribution [.distri'bju:ʃən]
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n. 分发,分配,散布,分布
联想记忆
fern [fə:n]
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n. 羊齿植物,蕨
 
outline ['əutlain]
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n. 轮廓,大纲
vt. 概述,画出轮廓
联想记忆
susceptible [sə'septəbl]
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adj. 易受外界影响的,易受感染的
联想记忆
rug [rʌg]
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n. 毯子,地毯,旅行毯
 
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