Fishing nets and Cornish pasties

Sydney Savory Buckman (1860–1929) was the son of James Buckman, who developed the single-rooted parsnip and was somewhat obsessed with ammonites. Sydney is reported to have explained discontinuities in the rock sequence using these interesting analogies.


If you find discontinuities a difficult idea,
Syd Savory, Jim Buckman’s son, can help to make it clear:
“A fishing net has strings across – like strata; then again,
Its holes are like the time-gaps in the stratigraphic chain.”

But why aren’t sediments laid down without such awkward pauses?
Why do we find these sequence gaps, and what could be their causes?
These questions Buckman pondered long, and then he had a thought:
“Just think about a pasty, of the proper Cornish sort.

“In the morning, it exists: you can see it; it is real.
You put it on the table, it will be your lunchtime meal.
At one o’clock, you eat it up, enjoying every bite.
And thus it disappears from view – ‘eroded’ from your sight!

“If on the table now you place a slice of bread for tea,
Between the two you’ll see you’ve got discontinuity!
The pasty ‘stratum’ did exist, but now it is no more –
That slice of bread now lies where Cornish pasty laid before.”

Next time I’m on a field trip, I will think of S.S.B.
His wacky explanation is a good one, you’ll agree.
But just in case it slips my mind, I’ll take an aide-memoire:
A pasty and a fishing net, on the back seat of my car.

[Image: www.ammonit.ru]
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