Plate tectonics is the current theory claiming to explain continental drift, earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, and mountain-building. It seemed to demand an epic poem, but I ignored its demand and did this instead:
Just a lucky bit of friction keeps disaster held at bay
On the San Andreas fault from San Francisco to LA,
For the plates of Earth are moving. Yes, the plates of Earth are moving –
All the plates of Earth are moving in their slow, relentless way.
When moving plates collide they thrust up mountains in the sky,
Folding rocks in wild disorder, tilted up and all awry:
It’s the might of Earth in action. Yes, the might of Earth in action –
The great might of Earth in action, with a strength you can’t deny.
Some plate edges are subducted – plunged incessantly to Hell:
Their volcanoes spew out gases with a foul sulphurous smell,
For the fires of Earth are blazing. Yes, the fires of Earth are blazing –
All the fires of Earth are blazing, deep inside its outer shell.
And their lava, dust and ashes, with raw pyroclastic power,
Wipe out animals and species as fresh climate changes lour,
For the Earth is ever changing. Yes, the Earth is ever changing –
All the Earth is ever changing, every minute, every hour.
And submerged beneath the oceans you will find a mountain chain
With basaltic lava oozing out onto th’ abyssal plain,
Back from Hell, then quickly cooling. Yes, from Hell, and quickly cooling –
Out of Hell it comes, but destined to return there yet again.
And deep earthquakes jolt the sea and give tsunamis their foundation:
Seismic sea-waves, shifting water at high speed without cessation
Until land gets in the way. Sometimes, land gets in the way –
And when land gets in the way, it suffers floods and devastation.
Brave new creatures are evolving (some bizarre and very strange)
Which exploit emerging niches as the plates all rearrange,
For the Earth is going forward. Yes, the Earth is going forward –
The whole Earth is going forward to a future full of change.
But it’s change that Californians can’t stomach any more,
For the Earth has quaked there often; they have seen it all before.
Yet the Earth won’t show them mercy. No, the Earth won’t show them mercy –
Plate tectonics shows no mercy – that’s a fact they daren’t ignore . . .
(See also Plate tectonics – an alternative hypothesis)