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Opinion

Readers React: Mountains made of rocks from the ocean floor, and other ways geology gives humans perspective

GRAND CANYON, AZ., MARCH 9, 2015: Visitors to one of the viewing spots at Mather Point venture beyon
The Grand Canyon in Arizona.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Brava to geoscientist Marcia Bjornerud for her Dec. 30 op-ed article on humanity’s cluelessness about its place in the planet’s long history.

We are indeed “time illiterate” and therefore cannot truly comprehend big numbers like the amount of stars in the universe. I suspect that one reason people do not believe in evolution is the amount of time involved.

Here is one geology fact that puts time in perspective: About 85% of the continental rocks on the planet are sedimentary, meaning they were formed at the bottom of an ocean or lake. That includes the world’s mountain ranges. Crystal Cave in Sequoia National Park, for example, is in a mountain of limestone at 6,000 feet above sea level.

I have a hard time understanding all this.

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John Gleason, Camarillo

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To the editor: Professor Bjornerud’s splendid article shares what can be learned from studying — and heeding — geologic history. She posits that important lessons can be extrapolated and applied to contemporary political issues.

So true. Even as the “Make America Great Again” slogan has been incessantly trumpeted, no one has pressed its mouthy champions for historical context. To wit: Precisely when was it that America was once great? Just what was it that made America great then? What specific, detailed changes are needed to restore American greatness?

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Those key questions weren’t posed by a public far more inclined to watch tawdry reality TV shows than read about what has happened over the last century, let alone the last 4.5 billion years.

That bodes most ill for our democracy. History’s vital lessons — from the geologic world as well as our political realm — will be lost on a populace that ignores what history can reveal.

Kendra Strozyk, Cameron Park, Calif.

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