Hiking the Transgondwanan Supermountains
Once upon a time in the Neoproterozoic, there was (maybe) an 8,000 km by 1,000 km mountain range that stretched across the half-supercontinent of Gondwana – that’s slightly longer than, and twice as thick as, the modern Andes. Those mountains lived for a quarter of a billion years, all the while dumping sand and dust into the oceans. When you wanted to go somewhere in Gondwana, you had to walk uphill both ways (that’s the topographic signature of life, you see – before the evolution of land plants everything was uphill both ways).
The rest of the story is a doozy – it involves all our funny-bodied friends from the Cambrian Explosion. But I’m going to refer you all to Joe Meert, who had a much timelier writeup of the actual research. Because the other intersection between geology and life is that sometimes, various spores and pollens will attempt to fertilize a geologist’s nose, so that she needs to take some antihistamines and go to sleep instead of telling stories to the Internet.