“When the climbers in 1953 planted their flags on the highest mountain, they set them in snow over the skeletons of creatures that had lived in the warm clear ocean that India, moving north, blanked out. Possibly as much as twenty thousand feet below the seafloor, the skeletal remains had turned into rock. This one fact is a treatise in itself on the movements of the surface of the earth. If by some fiat I had to restrict all this writing to one sentence, this is the one I would choose: The summit of Mt. Everest is marine limestone.”
John McPhee, Annals of the Former World

Geology has given me a few moments that are nothing short of miracles. This was one of them.


This rock was picked up on Barucha-La, a high pass in the Indian Himalayas. It sits a thousand kilometers from the sea, and five kilometers above. It is ringed with the white fossils of ancient shellfish.