the mighty Teays
Wednesday, September 25 2013
Gretchen would be heading out on her midwest book tour tomorrow, and I needed provisions for my two weeks of imminent bachelorhood. So this afternoon I made a solo forray into town, something I haven't done often of late. The main things I needed were tea and beans, but of course I also got bagels, beer, and (for Gretchen) Vitamin D gelcaps (after all, we've just entered the darker half of the year). I let Ramona and Eleanor run around outside the car while I was at Lowes loading some half inch PVC electrical conduit, some ceramic light sockets, and a gallon of asphalt roofing cement into the car. A guy strode across the parking lot in our direction and Ramona immediately ran up to him to express her naïve optimism about the human species. In this case, though, she got it right and the guy seemed to like Ramona. I pointed out her injuries and mentioned that she had been bitten by a bear. The guy was taken aback; it's not every day that you have the opportunity to pet a happy wiggly off-leash dog bearing fresh injuries from her tangle with an apex predator.
This evening something caused me to wade in Wikipedia researching the last glacial advance of the ongoing ice age (it's not over, even with global warming). Initially I wanted to see a map of where the continental glaciers had gone. Interestingly, much less of the world had been covered with ice than I'd thought. While the ice reached surprisingly far south in eastern North America, much of Siberia and Alaska went unglaciated. In Europe, the reached into England and Ireland, but it left parts of Jutland (Denmark) ice-free. Meanwhile, the difference between then and now in the Southern Hemisphere was a small one. In looking at the map, I could see that the difference that would cause ice to accumulate to the conditions of the maximal glacial advance might be a small one, perhaps caused more by increased precipitation as much as by decreased temperature. Further research led me to a description of the ancient Teays River, which had drained West Virginia and Ohio before Ohio was glaciated. The Teays ran norwestward from West Virginia across Ohio, crossed northern Indiana into Illinois, and eventually emptied into an arm of the Gulf of Mexico that reached up along the route of the existing Mississippi. The Teays was completely destroyed by glaciation, which temporarily caused a huge lake to form south of the glacial front in southern Ohio. Blocked by ice and mountains from any other escape to the ocean, that lake eventually cut a channel out towards the west, a drainage that eventually became the Ohio River. But striking remnants of the ancient Teays still exist and can be seen in Google Maps satellite images. One such stretch of ancient riverbed can be seen between Huntington and Nitro, West Virginia, where a wide valley containing no coherent river system cuts across the background texture of small hills.
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