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Friday, 17 February 2012

Rock Cuts (Edward Burtynsky / William Henry Jackson)

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Railcuts #1,
C.N. Track, Skihist Provincial Park, British Columbia
: photo by Edward Burtynsky, 1985 (Edward Burtynsky Photographic Works)






Mine is the strength to break down
tall mountains, to reduce
great peaks to marbles played at by children
to throw down the stones of the
summits into the plain and the sea,
for I am lord and master of all these
things, and shall be
the power that will dispose them

Thus spake the dwarf grand
project manager, between lunch
and the press conference






Ogden Canyon 3 miles above its mouth. A narrow gorge cut through the rocks, with walls 1,500 to 2,000 feet in height, the roadway being built up from the bed of the creek. In the center of the view, a cone-like mass of quartzites, most distinctly and beautifully stratified, stands up at an angle of 55 degrees and 100 feet high. A very interesting geological picture. Weber County, Utah. 1871.

Ogden Canyon 3 miles above its mouth. A narrow gorge cut through the rocks, with walls 1,500 to 2,000 feet in height, the roadway being built up from the bed of the creek. In the center of the view, a cone-like mass of quartzites, most distinctly and beautifully stratified, stands up at an angle of 55 degrees and 100 feet high. A very interesting geological picture. Weber County, Utah: photo by William Henry Jackson, 1871 (U. S. Geological Survey)




Railcuts #3, C.N. Track, Fraser River, British Columbia
: photo by Edward Burtynsky, 1985 (Edward Burtynsky Photographic Works)

Hydraulic mining near Virginia City. Madison County, Montana. 1871.

Hydraulic mining near Virginia City. Madison County, Montana: photo by William Henry Jackson, 1871 (U. S. Geological Survey)




Railcuts #4, C.N. Track, Thompson River, British Columbia
: photo by Edward Burtynsky, 1985 (Edward Burtynsky Photographic Works)

Hydraulic mining in Alder Gulch. Madison County, Montana. 1872.

Hydraulic mining in Alder Gulch. Madison County, Montana: photo by William Henry Jackson, 1872 (U. S. Geological Survey)




Railcuts #5, C.N. Track, Thompson River, British Columbia
: photo by Edward Burtynsky, 1985 (Edward Burtynsky Photographic Works)

Petrified fish cut, near Green River Station. Union Pacific Railroad on west side of Green River. Sweetwater County, Wyoming. 1869.

Petrified Fish Cut, near Green River Station. Union Pacific Railroad on west side of Green River. Sweetwater County, Wyoming: photo by William Henry Jackson, 1869 (U. S. Geological Survey)




Railcuts #6, Railcut near Highway 8, (Spences Bridge), British Columbia
: photo by Edward Burtynsky, 1985 (Edward Burtynsky Photographic Works)

Burning Rock cut, near Green River Station. Sweetwater County, Wyoming. 1869.

Burning Rock Cut, near Green River Station. Sweetwater County, Wyoming: photo by William Henry Jackson, 1869 (U. S. Geological Survey)




Railcuts #8 (Red Hill, C.N. train), C.N. Track, Thompson River. British Columbia
: photo by Edward Burtynsky, 1985 (Edward Burtynsky Photographic Works)

Glimpses along the west bank of Green River between Green River Station and Burning Rock cut, showing to good advantage the wall-like and castellated forms on the opposite side of the river. Sweetwater County, Wyoming. 1869.

Glimpses along the west bank of Green River between Green River Station and Burning Rock Cut, showing to good advantage the wall-like and castellated forms on the opposite side of the river. Sweetwater County, Wyoming: photo by William Henry Jackson, 1869 (U. S. Geological Survey)

10 comments:

aditya said...

A terrific poem. No one is tall enough I say. No one and yet.

gamefaced said...

excellent word play.

manik sharma said...

for you pay homage to the mountains,i conquer

great poem Tom,

TC said...

One sometimes wonders whether, had the requisite technologies, developed over the past two centuries or so, for blowing it up, blasting through it, drilling into it, and otherwise cutting it down to human (lilliputian) scale, in the interest of whatever temporary purposes and uses (short term profit, that sharp big-city lawyer, always wins every argument with the mute ancient landforms), been around a few millennia longer, there would be any Earth left at all for overgrown children to recklessly, willfully f--k up.

(Did I hear someone trying to shoehorn those blanks with an "r", an "a" and a "c"?)

ACravan said...

You guys have it covered. This was terrific, but my sadness will far outlast my pleasure in the aesthetics of it. Curtis

TC said...

Curtis, well, yes.

(When one's breath has been taken away, asked the child, where then does it go?)

aditya said...

Song for the mountains

TC said...

Were I a mountain, I would prefer the hymn of the winds to the helpless trauma of being ripped, torn, split, gouged...

One mountain: Uh-oh, here they come.

Another mountain: From this distance, they look like insects.

First mountain: No such luck. Humanoids again.

All the mountains together: Sigh! Groan!!

Bob Swanson said...

As a British Columbian, I am so used to traveling through these mountains, that I sometimes get a little complacent and am inclined to see more of the beauty rather than the technical accomplishment. There was a slide in the second from the bottom location just two weeks ago, and seeing the pristine picture of the slide location in Thompson River Canyon (second from the bottom) makes the view even more awe inspiring.
Thanks
j-jock

TC said...

Bob / j-jock,

Many thanks for the local knowledge.

Haven't been able to dig up photos of that latest slide, but here's some footage of a pretty hairy drive through the canyon last July:

Waterfalls and Rock Slides, Big Thompson Canyon, 7/7/12 (video)

I gather the granddaddy of all recent slides in that spot was the one pictured in the great photos at the bottom here:

Derailment of CN Train #355, Big Thompson Canyon, 4 January 2007

Of course all those slides took place well after EB's photo-shoot. And it does appear Mother Nature continues to have plans for rearranging those rocks.

A bit of earth science on the subject...

Complex Earth Slides in the Thompson River Valley: abstract (2007)