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HOME > PAST ISSUE > May-June 2004 > Article Detail

MARGINALIA

A Tour of Geological Spacetime

Philip Morrison

A dozen or two well-celebrated travel destinations, from the chilly heights of Davos to the balmy beaches of Ipanema, are the jewels in a global tiara of enjoyable resorts, fashionable boutiques and high prices. Even vicarious travelers are familiar with the scintillating culture and unrivaled shopping that decorate such grand settings. These spots are far beyond the reach of most scratch planners of travel, but such indulgent playgrounds of an elite, this spacetime, is captured on many a screen and page, consumed by modest hopefuls, eager to take one trip soon, and less likely to shop for chic than for the prudence of maps, fine postcards, a few souvenirs and perhaps one big, beautiful book.

Yet these destinations are often mere artifice compared to the prime sites that proclaim the narrative of the Earth. What thoughtful voyager would not want to take in those instead? Here is a sketch for one such tour, which knits together visits to a few of the marvels of our planet's geologic past. Travelers can experience these glorious scenes first-hand—admittedly delayed through geological time—in a display of ancient wonders, some found quite close to home.








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