Räkor på Ayers Rock

Maybe this is the beauty of Life, living next door to the unknown...

In the middle of the red Australian desert lies Uluru Ayers Rock. Approximately 500 million years ago it was part of the ocean floor at the centre of Australia. Its the worlds largest monolith rising 318 metres above the desert floor with a circumference of 8 km. The Rock is arkose, a course-grained sandstone rich in feldspar at least 2.5 km thick. Uplifting and folding between 400-300 million years ago turned the sedimentary layers nearly 90 degrees to their present position. The surface has since then been eroded. When you climb this rock you find small pools with rain water, an event that only happens some 2-3 days a year. You might find the pools full of strange little freshwater shrimps swimming around. Their eggs lie dormant for months and months until the next rainfall comes, and they hatch, grow up and deposit more eggs before the water dries up again.

Like all surprising facts, this makes you stop and consider the struggle for life on earth. Our ambition is always to control and develop, yet Life herself provides intricate, at times mysterious, survival modes and solutions. Quite often she sidetracks the expected interrelations between cultures, nature and evolution. Maybe this is the beauty of Life, living next door to the unknown, following the possibilities that emerge with a swifter, more creative mind, allowing for innovations and surprising new inroads into the future. Just look at the sky, and youll find more of our general assumptions being remodelled and reinterpreted.

In the 1920s astronomers showed that clusters of galaxies are moving further and further apart in time, moving away with a speed proportionate to its distance from our galaxy. Some of the most recent research suggests that this process of expansion of our Universe is in fact accelerating. Now astronomers have discovered a supernova that exploded 10 billion years ago - the most distant star ever discovered. The discovery of "Supernova 1997ff" also helps to reinforce the theory that the Universes expansion is speeding up. Analysing the light from the supernova confirms that the expansion of the early Universe first slowed, and then accelerated as the repulsive force of "dark energy" overcame the effects of gravity. If this theory is true, we will eventually see all stars and galaxies, except our own, fade away into the night leaving us alone with a dark empty sky to look at. I feel thankful to the little freshwater shrimp on Uluru as it lives its life in the same way it has done for millions of years.

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Lasse Larsson

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Publicerad: 14 sep 2003 10:06


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