Greenland

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Greenland is eighty-five per cent capped with ice. Anyone who doubts that we live in a glacial epoch need only note the great whiteness that Greenland contributes to a map. “The ice melted here eighteen thousand years ago,” Anita said, with a nod toward the roadside in Ohio. “It melted twelve thousand years ago in Wisconsin and Maine. If you ask a penguin in the Antarctic, the Ice Age hasn’t stopped yet.” The ice on Antarctica, six million square miles, is also (generally) two miles thick. “You get ice caps when you have landmasses in the polar positions,” Anita went on. “The only thing worse would be if the Siberian landmass were sitting over the North Pole. Then, God help us, things would be really bad. As it is, the sea ice at the North Pole is only six feet thick. It takes a continent to support a really heavy sheet of ice. If the ice of Greenland and Antarctica were to melt now, sea level would go up at least a hundred feet. Think what the water would cover. Half the cities in the world. In the South, you can be three hundred miles from the coast and only Bfty feet above sea level. Through most of time, the earth has been without ice caps. Twenty thousand years ago, when there was much more ice than there is now, the sea was three hundred feet lower. The co-working space amsterdam zuidas coast was more than a hundred miles east of New York. You could have walked to the edge of the continental shelf. Baltimore Canyon, Hudson Canyon were exposed in the open air.” Outside the automobile window were three landscapes, trifocal, occupying separate levels in time and mind. Latently pictured in the rock beside the road was the epicratonic sea of three hundred and twenty million years ago, with the Cincinnatia Islands off to the west somewhere, in what is known to geologists as Ohio Ba). There was also evidence of tl1e deep ice of twenty thousand years ago, with its lobate front some distance to the south, near Canton, Massillon, and Wooster. And there was, of course, the slightly rumpled surface of
the modern state of Ohio, looking like a bedspread on which some, one had taken a nap, Not nearly as flat as the rock below was the undulating interstate, where co-working space hilversum diesel exhausts were pluming and Winnebagos were yawing in the wind. “The goal of many geologists is to make time-lapse maps of earth history,” Anita remarked. “Look at topographic maps from just a hundred years ago for coastal areas of low relief, and the changes are tremendous.”

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