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Inside this Book – We know so little of the worlds beneath our feet. Look up on a cloudless night and you might see the light from a star thousands of trillions of miles away, or pick out the craters left by asteroid strikes on the moon’s face. Look down and your sight stops at topsoil, tarmac, toe. I have rarely felt as far from the human realm as when only ten yards below it, caught in the shining jaws of a limestone bedding plane first formed on the floor of an ancient sea. The underland keeps its secrets well. Only in the last twenty years have ecologists succeeded in tracing the fungal networks that lace woodland soil, joining individual trees into intercommunicating forests – as fungi have been doing for hundreds of millions of years. In China’s Chongqing province, a cave network explored in 2013 was found to possess its own weather system: ladders of stacked mist that build in a huge central hall, cold fog that drifts in giant cloud chambers far from the reach of the sun. A thousand feet underground in northern Italy, I abseiled into an immense rotunda of stone, cut by a buried river and filled with dunes of black sand. Traversing those dunes on foot was like trudging through a windless desert on a lightless planet.
Inside this book –Underland PDF Book by Robert Macfarlane – The bones of a child lie in darkness on a ledge of limestone. Sunlight has not seen this child for over 10,000 years. In that time, calcite has flowed like silver varnish from the rock around, chrysalizing the body. A January day in 1797 and two young men are out rabbit-catching in the Mendip Hills of Somerset. They flush out a rabbit on the slope of a ravine. The rabbit runs and finds refuge in a jumble of boulders. The men are hungry; they want the rabbit. So they pull away some of the rocks – and are ‘surprised with the appearance of a subterraneous passage’. They enter the passage, which leads them steeply into the limestone of the scarp and then opens into a ‘large and lofty cavern, the roof and sides of which are most curiously fretted and embossed’. Winter sun follows them down the passage and lights up the chamber. It is, they see, a charnel house. On the floor and ledges to their left are scattered bones and complete skeletons, ‘lying promiscuously, almost converted into stone’. The relics shine with calcite, and dusting some of the bones is red ochre powder. A single large stalactite hangs from the chamber’s ceiling which, when struck, rings like a bell, its peal echoing in the cave-space. The stalactite has reached down and begun to absorb one of the skeletons; embedded in it are a skull, a thigh bone and two teeth with the enamel still intact.
Underland by Robert Macfarlane PDF : eBook Information
- Full Book Name – Underland
- Author of this Book – Robert Macfarlane
- Language – English
- Book Genre – Non-Fiction, Nature, History, Science, Travel
- Download Format – PDF
- Size – 14.0 MB
- eBook Pages – 381
- Price – Free