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万物简史(MP3+中英字幕) 第320期:美丽而危险(3)

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Imagine a pile of TNT about the size of Rhode Island and reaching eight miles into the sky, to about the height of the highest cirrus clouds, and you have some idea of what visitors to Yellowstone are shuffling around on top of. The pressure that such a pool of magma exerts on the crust above has lifted Yellowstone and about three hundred miles of surrounding territory about 1,700 feet higher than they would otherwise be. If it blew, the cataclysm is pretty well beyond imagining. According to Professor Bill McGuire of University College London, "you wouldn't be able to get within a thousand kilometers of it" while it was erupting. The consequences that followed would be even worse.
想像一下,有一堆TNT,面积相当于英国的一个郡,伸向13公里高的天空,达到了最高的卷云的高度,你就会大体知道黄石公园的游客们是在什么东西上面漫步。这样的一池岩浆对上面的地壳所产生的压力,已经把黄石公园及其周围地区顶了起来,使其比本来所处的位置高出大约半公里。要是发生爆炸,这场灾难简直是难以想像的。伦敦大学院的比尔·麦圭尔说,一旦爆发,“你无法走到离它1000公里以内的地方”。造成的结果也许更加糟糕。
Yellowstone national parkSuperplumes of the type on which Yellowstone sits are rather like martini glasses—thin on the way up, but spreading out as they near the surface to create vast bowls of unstable magma. Some of these bowls can be up to 1,200 miles across. According to theories, they don't always erupt explosively but sometimes burst forth in a vast, continuous outpouring—a flood—of molten rock, such as with the Deccan Traps in India sixty-five million years ago. These covered an area of 200,000 square miles and probably contributed to the demise of the dinosaurs—they certainly didn't help—with their noxious outgassings. Superplumes may also be responsible for the rifts that cause continents to break up.
黄石公园所在的几处超级热柱,很像马提尼酒杯,越往上越细,但到了接近地面的地方就向外张开,变成盛着不稳定岩浆的许多“大碗”。有的“大碗”的直径可达1900公里。根据目前的理论,超级热柱并不总是猛烈爆发,有时候只是源源不断地喷出大量熔岩,就像6500万年前发生在印度德干暗色岩区的情况。超级热柱占地50万平方公里,喷出的毒气很可能对恐龙的灭绝起了作用——肯定不会起好作用。超级热柱也许还要对造成大陆破裂的裂缝负责。
重点单词   查看全部解释    
noxious ['nɔkʃəs]
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adj. 有害的,有毒的
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continuous [kən'tinjuəs]
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adj. 连续的,继续的,连绵不断的
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pressure ['preʃə]
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n. 压力,压强,压迫
v. 施压
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vast [vɑ:st]
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adj. 巨大的,广阔的
n. 浩瀚的太
 
unstable ['ʌn'steibl]
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adj. 不稳定的,易变的
 
demise [di'maiz]
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n. 死亡,转让房产,让位 vt. 让渡,遗赠,转让 v
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erupt [i'rʌpt]
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v. 爆发
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burst [bə:st]
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n. 破裂,阵,爆发
v. 爆裂,迸发
 
territory ['teritəri]
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n. 领土,版图,领域,范围
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