I left a few clues around and I was extremely pleased that level_head and zweeb managed to sniff them out. More on that later.
I had initially started writing something involving earthquakes and proving that the momentum of the plates had a more sinister component, but I hadn't quite decided what. I had intended my relative location to play into it -- I live just a little ways away from the Hayward fault. At one of the local parks, they've dug in a bit and labelled the various layers of sediment. It's kinda neat!
One of the original theories on why the plates move was from Alfred Wegener in the early part of the century. He noticed that the plates tend to move westward. We know the moon has an effect on our tides -- why not our land as well? The answer seemed to be false though. It was shown that the amount of friction involved would have quickly cancelled out the moon's influence. The theory was superseded by seafloor spreading and the westward component was explained by the particularly active Pacific basin.
Well -- not quite. A recent printing of the Geological Society of America Bulletin caught my eye and detailed a joint American and Italian effort which seeks to renew Alfred Wegener's arguments. That was the seed of things and after a bit of thinking, I came across the story of the last post.
I took some effort to make the numbers reasonable and did some calculations with the help of bc.
Anyway -- about the clues. The biggest was probably this paragraph:
I'm usually quiet about my work. Usually, it's uninteresting. Frequently, it's minor bit twiddling. However, one of the things I've been asked to look into is plate tectonic movement. There was some very interesting work by Arne Saknussem, verified some thousand years later by A. Lidenbrock, O. Lidenbrock, and H. Bjelke.
The names of Arne Saknussem, Axel Lidenbrock, Otto Lidenbrock, and Hans Bjelke were borrowed from Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth. It's a classy little book and the movie production sure beat the hell out of the relatively recent The Core. And how can you argue with the appearance of pleisiosaurs and ichthysaurs?
In particular, level_head's comment about seeing the "A.S." on the wall amused me. You'll have to read the book to get that one though.
And really -- you ought to. That book kept me going as an unappreciated preteen. One of my prized possessions is a book containing several Jules Verne stories which I got from Powell's book store in Portland, Oregon some 15 years ago or so). In particular, there's some very nice handwriting on the blank page before the title. I've long since memorized it -- and though I didn't know it yet -- was my first introduction to Lazarus Long. Anyway:
To the people who first read these stories, it seemed that anything could be done. Rest assured that you can do anything if you only do it. "Of course, if you pray hard enough, water will run uphill.....how hard? why, hard enough to make water run up hill, of course" L. Long Don't lose the spirit that moves these novels! your brother, Jim Aug. 81
Heady stuff for a ten year old kid and stories within certainly grabbed my imagination. Most of it is quite wrong -- but it was the best that Verne had to go on. And who cares about inaccurate science when you've got stories like those?
I'd love to know who Jim was and thank him. Unfortunately, that is quite unlikely.
After devouring that book, I read through all of Verne's other work (including the not-very-well-known The Mysterious Island -- a sequel of sorts to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea).
This all lead to a fascination with Robert Louis Stevenson and an amazing find at a used bookstore, but I think I've rambled enough for the moment.
In any event, I saw no reason why one cannot honor the memory of another writer while simultaneously honoring that of Rev. Charles Dodgson.
Thank you all for the kind words. Thanks doubly to those who believed it. In particular, you folk paid me a great compliment by trusting me and taking what I wrote as believable. No number of "atta boys" can possibly equal those of a frenzied "Don't destroy the moon!"