Jolie Rouge: A Swashbuckling Tale of Adventure and Intrigue by Rick Ley
Excerpt from “Chapter 8 – Hampton-Solomon Residence – Fox Chapel Borough, Pittsburgh, PA”:
Approximately 150 million years ago, when dinosaurs and their kin
still ruled the earth, chemical and biological processes converged to
create what would become one of the great geographic splendors
on earth: the Bahamian Archipelago. Yet despite the dinosaurs’
great size and dominance, these processes would soon dwarf the
mightiest sauropods, and outlive the iconic Tyrannosaurus rex.
Millimeter by millimeter, calcium carbonate rained out of the seawater
and joined the calcareous and siliceous remains of microorganisms
to form a limy ooze, pushing limestone layers down into the crust at
a rate of 1.5 inches every 1,000 years.
This deposition continued until about 2.5 million years ago, when
climate perturbations caused cyclic advances of the polar ice cap.
These ice ages likely affected the pre-Bahamian limestone, but it
was the final glacial stage—the Wisconsin, occurring between
110,000 and 10,000 years ago—that would have a profound effect
on the island landscape. As the climate cooled, vast quantities of
water that had been locked up by the ice sheets during their glacial
crawl from the north polar regions caused the sea level to fall 350
feet, exposing a great expanse of limestone and reef. The now
emergent limestone was mercilessly subjected to the forces of wind
erosion and chemical weathering that, together, carved the many
small sharp features, caves, sinkholes, and grandiose blue holes
that make up the landscape observed today.