The Brevard Zone

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I remembered Leonard Harris-one day at their home in Laurel, Maryland-saying, “The Brevard Zone is the sort of fault you would see in any thrust belt. With the plate-tectonic model, anybody can write a history of an area without having been there. These people have no way to evaluate what they’re doing. They just make up stories.” “Plate-tectonic interpretations often start where data stop,” Anita had said. “These people will just float microplates around. If the West is made of microplates, where the hell was the landmass that produced the pieces?” “They want to be science-fiction writers,” Leonard said. “That’s what they want to do. They really look at it in a science-fiction mode. I have never been able to do that. If you don’t know what caused something, you don’t know; and that’s the way it is.” “Yeah, but it’s a much more romantic way to look at things,” she said. “And it certainly does tum students on.” “People love it.” “It allows them to play all kinds of games without the necessity and painstaking dogwork of gathering facts. It allows them to write papers conference room amsterdam without killing themselves getting data.”
People want the science-fiction story. It’s easier to believe that pieces of the world move than it is to see a sand grain move. The principal problem about interpreting the Appalachians is that there have been no available subsurface data in the Blue Ridge and Piedmont. All interpretations, up until i979, were based on what people thought was a rooted system. Their ideas were based on offshore data, where they had 3-D-you know, seismic data, magnetic data -and these data were more or less applied onshore. The concepts were developed from the ocean to the land. Now that we are beginning to get subsurface data on land, we are testing their concepts. A lot of what people have been saying is not hanging together. Some of what they have said has hung together.” I said to them, “One would gather from the seismic lines that for a continent-to-continent collision you’d have to go pretty far east to find the suture.” “I don’t think you can go far east enough,” Anita said. “The oceanic basin is out there.” “When you start working on the shore and you look offshore, you’ve got an immediate problem,” Leonard said. “They tell us that the oldest ocean crust that has ever been found is Jurassic. Onshore, we conference room amsterdam have everything that’s ever been built-from the Precambrian on up. We have a continuum. We have something that has been preserved much longer. We have rock that is nearly four billion years old. So we have a problem relating.

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