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Monday, April 14, 2014

Ice Age Brighton

In his 1908 novel The Blotting Book, E. F. Benson introduces us to Edward Taynton, a pillar of Brighton's community. He's a respected English lawyer who runs a club for young men to prevent them from falling into vice. One of the activities he plans, but never carries out, is an archeological expedition to a raised beach several miles away. But there's no reason for him to travel so far, as there's a raised beach right at the edge of Brighton that has yielded numerous archeological finds.

Two hundred and fifty million years ago, Black Rock was flat. Due to the way the tectonic plates move and rise and fall, and given how the vast and heavy sheets of ice changed the landscape, the former beach is now a cliff. Had Edward Taynton led his young men here, they could have followed the example of real life archeologists, who have found Neanderthal tools, shells from ancient sea creatures, and bones of land mammals such as the magnificent furry mammoths.

A storm blew through during our week in Brighton. As a result, we had to tread carefully along the paved walkway to avoid splashing white, chalky mud on our shoes and pants. Isn't it amazing that such soft earth, so susceptible to erosion by wind and rain, would still be present, and still yielding treasures from thousands, let alone millions, of years ago? 

I don't know if many of the locals really take time to appreciate Black Rock, or partake of archeological tours there. When I visited, my main reason for doing so was to follow Edward Taynton's journey, and see with my own eyes what E. F. Benson had described in his novel. Having followed Loon's adventures in Kim Stanley Robinson's 2013 Ice Age novel Shaman, it would be neat to return to Brighton, and see Black Rock once again.

I could rent one of these apartments in Brighton Marina, and sit by the window, and read novels set in Brighton. Or I could just gaze out at Black Rock all day, and contemplate the history of this raised beach. Ooh, Black Rock. Ooh, Black Rock. Ooh, Black Rock.

Say, did anyone notice that the raised beach is white, not black?

Dragon Dave

Related Dragon Cache entries
A Day in Brighton

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