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Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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'The mountains near here formed when the ... Newfoundland ... microplate collided with, uhh ... Labrador.' 'Ok, now you're definitely just naming dogs.' 'Wait, no, that's actually almost correct.'
Title text: 'The mountains near here formed when the ... Newfoundland ... microplate collided with, uhh ... Labrador.' 'Ok, now you're definitely just naming dogs.' 'Wait, no, that's actually almost correct.'


Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Please add some more information on Newfoundland geology.

Ponytail is describing the origin of some rock formations to Megan and Cueball. She apparently forgot the names of the microplates and the age when the subduction occurred, so she substituties them with names of dog breeds (Dalmatian, Laika and Pomeranian) to seem knowledgeable and impress her audience.

Although no microplates or geological ages with these names exist, this is not obvious for people outside of the field, as dog breeds are often named after geographic regions. For example Dalmatia is the name of a region in Croatia, and a microplate named after it could exist. Likewise, the Laika plate could be named after the Laika island in Vanatu. Geological ages are often named after place where the first rocks dating from the age were found e.g. the Devonian is named after the English county of Devon, while the Permian is named after the Russian city of Perm. Thus, a pomeranian age named after Pomerania, a region on the Baltic Sea split between Poland and Germany, might reasonably exist.

So the comic concludes in the caption with one of Randall's many tips, this time a geology tip, about how it is possible to pretend to be more knowledgeable regarding geology by just inserting dog breeds names instead or real names as no one remembers the names of all the microplates.

The title text highlights this problem: At first it seems that that Ponytail continues using dog breeds to name microplates, but the explanation is actually almost correct: The dog breeds Labrador and Newfoundland are named after the two Canadian regions Labrador and Newfoundland respectively - as are two microplates[citation needed], whose relative movement did indeed lead to the formation of mountains in Newfoundland.

Subduction was featured in the previous comic 1388: Subduction License.


[Ponytail is gesturing toward some rock formations in a grass field while addressing Megan and Cueball who are looking down at the rocks, Cueball with a hand to his chin.]
Ponytail: This bedrock likely formed as the Dalmatian microplate subducted under East Laika during the Upper Pomeranian.
Cueball: Ah, yes.
[Caption below the panel:]
Geology Tip: There are so many microplates and ages that no one remembers them all, so in a pinch you can bluff with dog breeds.

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