Aerografia by Eduardo Rapoport

By Eduardo Rapoport

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Thus, geology is the foundation of New York’s historical evolution into one of the great port cities of the world. The Green Mantle In most of North America, the plants known today existed before glaciation occurred. As the huge mass of ice moved like a monolithic bulldozer across the land, plant communities shifted southward and reestablished themselves in a more temperate zone. With climatic warming as the ice retreated, the newly naked landscape would become revegetated. First solid ice was replaced by tundra mixed with hardy evergreens.

Elsewhere an abundance of ecosystems flourish. They are found not just in gardens, parks, and cemeteries, but in unexpected nooks and crannies: sidewalk cracks, wall crevices, sheltered undersides of building cornices, and the vertiginous tops of bridge girders. In other words, nature is not the antithesis of urban. It is everywhere—underfoot, overhead, and all around us. *1 To visualize this ongoing phenomenon, notice on a world map the jigsaw puzzle–like correspondence between the coastlines of South America and Africa, which are moving apart at a rate of a few centimeters a year.

It can be found as outcrops in the New York Botanical Garden and elsewhere in the Bronx. The two younger metamorphic strata formed during the Taconic orogeny approximately 495 to 440 million years ago, when plate collision and subduction caused a mountain range of Alpine proportions to rise in the eastern portion of Laurentia, forerunner of the North American continent. During this time limestone, a sedimentary rock derived from calcium carbonates deposited in the shallows of the seabed on top of the eroded surface of Fordham gneiss, metamorphosed into marble (locally known as Inwood marble after the Inwood section of Manhattan, where it can be seen in a few exposed surfaces).

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