Friday, October 14, 2011

The Atacama desert stone fib

there for
two million
years, rubbed smooth by earth-
quakes – clang of a thousand hammers.

– Leonard "Deserter" Bloomfeld (© 2011)

Scientists from the University of Arizona have discovered that earthquakes are the reason why the rocks in the Atacama desert in Chile are smooth even though there has been no water there for two million years. The Atacama is shaken by earthquakes with a magnitude of 5 or more every four months on average, so that the rocks have been subjected to an estimated 50,000 to 100,000 hours of polishing.

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