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Words to know: Palimpsest

On my very first ever day of geology class, my geology professor introduced me to the word palimpsest, which is a text written over other texts.

Normally the word is used to describe parchments in which the original writing has been removed and written over by new writing,

However, the Earth itself truly is the ultimate palimpsest. There are continually new “texts” being written over old ones. A mountain belt may form, be eroded away, and then new sediment deposited on top of it. Volcanoes may erupt coating the landscape in basaltic lava flows, subduction is recycles old plates, and rivers incise into the bedrock.

Earth is continually wiping the slate clean and writing new stories. This just makes it all the more amazing and awesome that geology works to read and understand the whole story of the Earth.

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