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万物简史(MP3+中英字幕) 第295期:地下的烈火(3)

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"The article called the site a ‘Pompeii of prehistoric animals,' " he told me, "which was unfortunate because just afterward we realized that the animals hadn't died suddenly at all. They were all suffering from something called hypertrophic pulmonary osteodystrophy, which is what you would get if you were breathing a lot of abrasive ash—and they must have been breathing a lot of it because the ash was feet thick for hundreds of miles." He picked up a chunk of grayish, claylike dirt and crumbled it into my hand. It was powdery but slightly gritty. "Nasty stuff to have to breathe," he went on, "because it's very fine but also quite sharp. So anyway they came here to this watering hole, presumably seeking relief, and died in some misery. The ash would have ruined everything. It would have buried all the grass and coated every leaf and turned the water into an undrinkable gray sludge. It couldn't have been very agreeable at all."
“文章把这个地方称之为‘史前动物的庞贝城’,”他对我说,“这是很不幸的,因为过不多久我们就发现动物们根本不是突然死去的。它们都患了一种名叫‘肺骨营养不良’的毛病。吸入大量有腐蚀作用的灰末,就会得这种毛病──它们肯定吸入了大量的这类灰末,因为几米厚的灰末绵延数公里。”他拾起一团灰白色的、黏土似的泥土,研碎了放到我的手里。土是粉末状的,但有点儿像砂。“吸入这玩意儿是很难受的,”他接着说,“它又细又很锋利。反正它们来到这个水坑,很可能是想要歇息片刻,结果在痛苦中死去。这种灰末能毁灭一切。它会淹没野草,牢牢地粘在叶子上,把水变成一种不宜饮用的灰色稀泥。喝了肯定是会很不舒服的。”
陨石坑The BBC documentary had suggested that the existence of so much ash in Nebraska was a surprise. In fact, Nebraska's huge ash deposits had been known about for a long time. For almost a century they had been mined to make household cleaning powders like Comet and Ajax. But curiously no one had ever thought to wonder where all the ash came from.
那部《地平线》记录片指出,在内布拉斯加存在这么多的灰末是一件想不到的事。实际上,很久以来,人们就知道内布拉斯加沉积着大量的灰末。差不多有一个世纪时间,灰末被开采出来用做原料,制造像彗星牌和埃阿斯牌这样的家用去污粉。但是,有意思的是,谁也没有想到去考虑一下这么多的灰末是从哪里来的。
"I'm a little embarrassed to tell you," Voorhies said, smiling briefly, "that the first I thought about it was when an editor at the National Geographic asked me the source of all the ash and I had to confess that I didn't know. Nobody knew."
“说来有点难为情,”沃里斯微微一笑说,“倒是《国家地理杂志》的一位编辑问我,这么多的灰末是从哪儿来的?我不得不承认,我不知道。也没有人知道。这时候,我才想到了这个问题。”
重点单词   查看全部解释    
undrinkable
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adj. 不能喝的;不能饮用的
 
comet ['kɔmit]
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n. 慧星
 
agreeable [ə'gri:əbəl]
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adj. 愉快的,和蔼可亲的,欣然同意的,一致的
联想记忆
source [sɔ:s]
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n. 发源地,来源,原始资料
 
misery ['mizəri]
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n. 痛苦,悲惨的境遇,苦难
 
abrasive [ə'breisiv]
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n. 磨料 adj. 磨损的,生硬粗暴的,恼人的
联想记忆
unfortunate [ʌn'fɔ:tʃənit]
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adj. 不幸的,令人遗憾的,不成功的
n.
联想记忆
documentary [.dɔkju'mentəri]
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adj. 文献的
n. 纪录片
 
relief [ri'li:f]
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n. 减轻,解除,救济(品), 安慰,浮雕,对比
联想记忆
confess [kən'fes]
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v. 承认,告白,忏悔
联想记忆
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