Saturday, December 10, 2011

On the shores of Cambrian sea

My landing spot in northern Laurentia 
Cambrian Tellus

Thanks to the efforts of so many magnificent people also I have been the opportunity to take this time travel trip to planet Tellus orbiting a  star in the so-called Orion spring of Milky Way.  The organizers said that the trip to would take about 540 million years plus minus 5 million. I replied that such a little inaccuracy does not really matter to me as long as I would just reach Lower Cambrian. (Of course, to put that chronological range in perspective, my own species homo sapiens sapiens has existed on Earth about five million years.)

The red spot on the map of Cambrian globe above shows where I had landed. I was near the northern shore of Laurentia that had recently cracked off the Gondwanaland super-continent and that would one day be called North America.

On the way as I was finally approaching Cambrian Tellus I noticed how very different it was from the way planet Earth looks in images taken from space during the Christmas 1968 Apollo 8 flight. I decided to follow the noble example of the first American astronauts orbiting the moon and also read aloud the majestic ten first verses of Genesis.

(The entire first chapter of Genesis can easily be fitted into a single sheet of A4 size and yet, how full the short text is of content and how unbelievably influential it has been to the history of mankind.)

I read those verses not so much to honor the human ingenuity that has made space exploration possible and brought to our sight also early history of planet Earth but rather the Invisible One who has made man in His image and capable of these momentous achievements.

In contrast to the US astronauts and without any politics from my side I was also thinking that handsome national hero and first man in space, Yuri Gagarin myBlog, who according to Soviet information (that he never bothered to fix even if it was Nikita who said them) "did not see God up there".

Those Bible reading Americans have reached the moon and their robots are roaming Mars while the atheist Soviets are no more and the Russian Mars explorer crashed back to earth. Is it perhaps time to publicly fix the Gagarian lesee majeste?

Desert and sea

Desert and sea. Namibia

After a rather long and boring trip I had now landed safely down to the surface of Tellus and was sitting in my protective suite on the shores of the Cambrian sea. Since Earth scientists did not know much about the climate (not hot, not cold...) I wanted to keep the helmet on to have my own oxygen supply rather than risk whatever kind of gasses there were in the atmosphere.

Cambrian climate was generally warm, dry and mild. As there were no continental landmasses located at the poles, ocean currents were able to circulate freely, hence there was no significant ice formation. As a result temperatures worldwide were mild. The Cambrian constituted a benign spell between two great ice ages - the late Proterozoic Snowball Earth and the Late Ordovician Ice Age.

Vast ocean opens in front of me and I know that no matter how far north I would take my explorer boat there would just be water, water and more water. No land and not even frozen North Pole since all that ice had melted and the water raised sea levels everywhere.

Behind me opens a totally dead desert with no plants visible anywhere. For God of Israel had not yet created any plants on this planet of ours.

Dickinsonia Costata 

While sitting quietly at the shore of the enormous Cambrian sea, the cradle of life, and wondering and praying my eyes catch a rather strange looking frond-shaped fossil partly protruding from the ground after being exposed by erosion. I notice then that there are several similar things in the dry rock surfaces and some fossils are also visible in the shallow water. There must have been quite many of them, whatever they are.

"This is rather enigmatic" I say to myself and then realize "Ah, of course,  these are Ediacaran enigmas!"

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