written for Miranda Cuckson, and counter)induction
The many violent foldings of the Tertiary era took place at the expense of this very ancient Mediterranean, much larger than the present one. All the mountains, from the Baetic Cordillera to the Rif, the Atlas, the Alps and the Apennines, the Balkans, the Taurus and the Caucasus, were heaved up out of the ancient sea. They reduced its area, raising from the great sea bed not only sedimentary rocks-sands, clays, sandstones, thick layers of limestone-but also deeply buried primitive rocks. The mountains surrounding, strangling, barricading and compartmentalizing the long Mediterranean coastline are the flesh and bones of the ancestral Tethys. Everywhere the sea water has left traces of its slow labour. The sedimentary limestones outside Cairo, "so fine-grained and of such milky whiteness that they allow the sculptor's chisel to give the sensation of volume by working to a depth of only a few millimetres"; the great slabs of coraline limestone from which the megalithic temples in Malta were built; the stone of Segovia which is easier to work when wet; the limestone of the Latomies (the huge quarries of Syracuse); the Istrian stones of Venice and many other rock formations in Greece, Italy and Sicily-all these came from the sea bed.
"Memory and The Mediterranean"
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