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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
a very dim light! but a light nonetheless

telain
Rohan

Mar 1 2013, 11:55pm


Views: 127
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a very dim light! but a light nonetheless [In reply to] Can't Post

Interesting! And yes, I think I can speculate wildly on that (or perhaps not so wildly...)

It's not my specialty by any stretch of the imagination, but I can tell you that evidence exists for at least one North American "megaflood". During the waning years of the last Ice Age (~15,000 years ago, take a few thousand) it seems the ice dam that contained Glacial Lake Missoula burst and hundreds of cubic miles/kilometres of water poured out over much of what is now western Montana, Idaho and eastern Washington state -- producing such attractively named features as the "scablands". PBS's Nova had a segment on it : http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/earth/megafloods-of-the-ice-age.html

Fairly strong evidence exists for this one event, but given the pronounced glaciation over the rest of North America and the Eurasian continent (and in alpine regions of even more tropical areas), I imagine several of these events likely took place over several thousand years. It seems very likely that people living near areas at the edge of continental glaciations during the at the end of the last Ice Age, if they would have witnessed an event like this, would have seen these events as hugely catastrophic (indeed, we would, too!) and would have written or spoke of it into the "myth and legend" cycles of their people.

It might not have been an ice dam, either. Continental glaciers build up ridges of sediment at their edges (moraines) -- ridges which might hold in glacial meltwater until erosion, earthquake, or some other event weakens the ridge and again the meltwater would flow out onto the flat plain once inhabited by the receding glacier.

(Now, the teacher in me is at full force -- I promise to be brief!) It makes sense that people would be living near (within several hundred kilometers) the edges of glaciers -- glacial soil is usually very fertile. Depending on how hospitable the climate was near the end of the Ice Age in any particular area might account for why/how people may have witnessed such catastrophic events.

Of course, there are also volcanic eruptions and earthquakes that might account for catastrophic flooding as well! But that's for next class!

Subject User Time
*Silmarillion Discussion: Chapter 5, "Of Eldamar and the Princes of the Eldalie", Part 2 -- The Great Teleri Compromise and a Guided Tourů* weaver Send a private message to weaver Feb 23 2013, 9:18pm
    Of islands and where to live CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Feb 24 2013, 12:32am
    lists, names and more stuff to remember... elevorn Send a private message to elevorn Feb 25 2013, 6:42pm
    answers for questions that need them Escapist Send a private message to Escapist Feb 25 2013, 7:13pm
    Some answers from a "mythic" perspective FarFromHome Send a private message to FarFromHome Feb 27 2013, 12:39pm
        Silmarillion's actuality Mixel Send a private message to Mixel Feb 28 2013, 11:45pm
        and thank you for those answers! telain Send a private message to telain Mar 1 2013, 12:36am
            Myths, floods, and physical geography? CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Mar 1 2013, 1:20am
                a very dim light! but a light nonetheless telain Send a private message to telain Mar 1 2013, 11:55pm
                    Enlightening--thanks!// CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Mar 3 2013, 2:29pm
    Late answers sador Send a private message to sador Mar 3 2013, 10:40am

 
 
 

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