It can be the small things which can make me wonder. While hiking up a trail up to a mountain, a snail in the middle of a tree trunk had my attention. A beautiful coiled shell!
That’s not the most usual place where a shelled land snake would rest.
Just an empty shell, placed by someone in the middle of the trunk? Not really, as it still was sticking to the trunk, like as it would have sealed itself and sticked to the tree trunk. It turned out that the snail was dead, and occasionally small ants are getting a meal. Which raises the questions if the ants could have killed it? Not sure. Would a snail choose such a trunk as a resting place? Unlikely? What happened? We probably never will know.
Unhappy Snailing 😦
Here we have a lot of limestone cliffs near the beach, the sediment that goes to make up limestone may have been derived from the dead remains of marine organisms including shell dwelling creatures. Its a sobering thought given the amount of limestone we have around the world!
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We do have a lot of limestone here too. It is indeed a sobering thought thinking about how this massive layers have been built up over millions of years.
I also live in a region with much limestone (the Peak District in the UK) and I often think about the timescales involved – both in laying down the limestone, and in its erosion that has created deep, steep river valleys.
As a thought experiment, say the limestone was deposited at the rate of 1mm per year. Then in 1000 years only 1m of material has been deposited – intuitively that seems so slow, in comparison to our brief lifespans (perhaps 40 generations of human lives). On the other hand, left for 1 million years this rate will give 1km thickness of rock – which counter-intuitively seems to me to be a tremendous achievement in what in geological time is a very short time.