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万物简史(MP3+中英字幕) 第293期:地下的烈火(1)

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14 The Fire Below
第十四章 地下的烈火
In the summer of 1971, a young geologist named Mike Voorhies was scouting around on some grassy farmland in eastern Nebraska, not far from the little town of Orchard, where he had grown up. Passing through a steep-sided gully, he spotted a curious glint in the brush above and clambered up to have a look. What he had seen was the perfectly preserved skull of a young rhinoceros, which had been washed out by recent heavy rains.
1971年夏,一位名叫迈克·沃里斯的年轻地质学家在内布拉斯加州东部一片草木丛生的农田里考察,就在离果园小镇不远的地方。他是在那里长大的。在经过一处陡峭的隘口的时候,他发现上面的树丛里射出一道古怪的闪光,就爬上去看个明白。他发现原来是一块保存完好的小犀牛头骨。它是被最近下的大雨冲到外面的。
陨石坑A few yards beyond, it turned out, was one of the most extraordinary fossil beds ever discovered in North America, a dried-up water hole that had served as a mass grave for scores of animals—rhinoceroses, zebra-like horses, saber-toothed deer, camels, turtles. All had died from some mysterious cataclysm just under twelve million years ago in the time known to geology as the Miocene. In those days Nebraska stood on a vast, hot plain very like the Serengeti of Africa today. The animals had been found buried under volcanic ash up to ten feet deep. The puzzle of it was that there were not, and never had been, any volcanoes in Nebraska.
原来,几米以外有个北美有史以来发现的最不寻常的化石床:一个已经干涸的水洞,它成为几十头动物的集体坟墓──其中有犀牛,斑马似的野马,长着剑齿的鹿、骆驼、乌龟。它们都在不到1200万年之前死于一次神秘的大灾难。那个时代在地质学上被称之为中新世。当时,内布拉斯加位于一片广阔而又炎热的平原,就如今天非洲的塞伦盖蒂平原。动物被发现埋在深达3米的火山灰底下。令人费解的是,内布拉斯加当时没有过也从来没有过火山。
Today, the site of Voorhies's discovery is called Ashfall Fossil Beds State Park, and it has a stylish new visitors' center and museum, with thoughtful displays on the geology of Nebraska and the history of the fossil beds. The center incorporates a lab with a glass wall through which visitors can watch paleontologists cleaning bones.
今天,沃里斯的发现现场被称之为州立阿什福尔化石床公园。这里新盖了一个漂亮的游客中心和博物馆,里面很有创见地陈列着内布拉斯加的地质发现和化石床历史。中心有个实验室,游客通过玻璃墙看得见古生物学家们在清理骨头。
重点单词   查看全部解释    
stylish ['stailiʃ]
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adj. 现代风格的,流行的,潇洒的
 
preserved [pri'zə:vd]
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adj. 保藏的;腌制的;[美俚]喝醉的
 
curious ['kjuəriəs]
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adj. 好奇的,奇特的
联想记忆
mysterious [mis'tiəriəs]
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adj. 神秘的,不可思议的
联想记忆
thoughtful ['θɔ:tful]
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adj. 深思的,体贴的
 
mass [mæs]
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n. 块,大量,众多
adj. 群众的,大规模
 
grave [greiv]
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n. 坟墓,墓穴
adj. 严肃的,严重的,庄
 
extraordinary [iks'trɔ:dnri]
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adj. 非凡的,特别的,特派的
联想记忆
skull [skʌl]
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n. 头骨,骷髅头
vt. 击打头部
 
orchard ['ɔ:tʃəd]
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n. 果园
 
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