Since the dawn of mankind, I imagine we’ve gazed
In wonder and awe at the sky’s starry crown;
More recently, we have been deeply amazed
By the long-obscured, staggering view looking down
To the depths of the sea, through crust, and below
Where rock moves like taffy, dark forge of the Earth,
Great molten sculptures and stark chasms grow;
A womb steeped in intrigue, the mantle gives birth
To breath-taking mountains, and wide rolling hills,
We humans gaze down from our ships, our sea cruises
We probe this vast landscape with sound waves and drills;
From ridges of awesome proportions, crust oozes
With a rhythm, it seems, that’s tied to the sun!
Our planet’s history, scrawled on ripped pages
Of rock and of sediments, piled by the ton
Rippled and riddled with tales of ice ages;
From ridges revealed, a pattern discovered
Orbital rhythms in a seafloor slice,
The pulse of the planet, a sculpture uncovered,
Does the deep earth exhale in concert with ice?
How climate influences sea floor topography, Conrad 2015 Science
Glacial cycles drive variations in the production of ocean crust, Crowley et al. 2015 Science
Mid-ocean ridge eruptions as a climate valve, Tolstoy 2015 Geophysical Research Letters
This is one in a series of poems written by Katherine Allen, a researcher in geochemistry and paleoclimate at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences at Rutgers University.