Thursday, July 31, 2008

Falls of the Ohio

Yesterday, Yale Alum and UofL professor John Hale took us to the Falls of the Ohio. Though some people were expecting a gorgeous waterfall like Niagra Falls, the Falls of the Ohio are rather less scenic, rather less touristy, and rather more important. The falls are the only point on the entire length of the Ohio that isn't navigable, and so ships had to portage around it (before they built a big canal there in the 19th century). So three towns grew up on each side of the river (on above, one at, and one below the falls themselves). The three in Indiana stayed three cities, while Louisville grew together after the canal was built to become the major city it is today.
Geologically, archaeologically, and anthropologically speaking, the Falls are pretty darn cool. The rock is all young limestone, which was a coral bed in the shallow, equatorial sea that most of the heartland was before continental drift went into high gear. So, we found a lot of neat coral and other marine fossils there, and a ton of species have been identified from those rocks.
It was a cool perspective; the geological and ancient history of the land we've been living on. As we're all looking back on the Louisville experience, it was a nice (if slightly corny) way to look way, way, way back into the Jurassic.

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