Title text: It traveled so far to reach me. I owed it my best.
Megan either knows enough about geology to tell on sight how this particular rock formed, or has brought this rock from a collection. Alternatively she’s simply guessing. Despite admiring its formation, all she wants is to use it as a skipping stone to give it "a weird day in its life" (similar to 325: A-Minus-Minus), and possibly confuse future geologists.
Megan provides three pieces of information about the rock: It formed at the south pole, during an ice age, just before multicellular life developed. Unfortunately, due to disagreements among geologists and palaeontologists about when exactly the first multicellular life emerged it is unclear which time Megan refers to - and consequently where she is and what kind of rock she is holding. There are two possibilities:
- The Francevillian biota, living about 2.1 billion years ago, has been proposed as the first multicellular life. If Megan subscribes to this theory, then the Ice age just before would be the Huronian glaciation which extended from 2.4 to 2.1 billion years ago. The land which was at the South pole at that time would eventually become part of Africa.
- However, not all scientists accept the Francevillian biota as the first multicellular life. If Megan shares this view the first fossils multicellular life would be only 600 million years old (e.g. in the Doushantuo Formation). In this case the ice age "just before" would be the Cryogenian lasting from 720 million to 635 million years ago. The land occupying the South Pole at the time became present-day Scandinavia and Baltic sea.
Thus — assuming that Megan has accurately identified the stone — the stone is either from Western Africa or Northern Europe and has "travelled" from there to get to her.
Stone skipping is the art of throwing a flat stone across water in such a way that it bounces off the surface. Despite there being many factors attributed to successfully skipping a stone (including the attributes of the stone itself), Cueball and Megan are in agreement that skipping this particular stone five times is an above-average throw. (It is, however, far short of the world record of 88 skips set by Kurt Steiner in 2013).
This comic is one of many that look at everyday things from a new, philosophical perspective.
- [Cueball and Megan are looking at a rock that Megan is holding up in one hand.]
- Megan: This rock erupted from a volcano near the South Pole when the world was frozen over, just before multicellular life arose.
- [Zoom out reveals that Cueball and Megan are standing on the beach of a bay with hills in the background. The water surface is quite flat without any waves. Megan throws the rock which skips 5 times across the water before it sinks.]
- Stone: Skip Skip Skip Skip Skip Plunk
- [Zoom back on Cueball and Megan who are still looking in the direction she threw the stone.]
- Megan: Now it'll be covered in sediment that becomes a new rock layer. It will likely stay buried until it melts down, erodes away, or the earth is consumed by the sun.
- [Cueball and Megan still looking the same way.]
- Cueball: Today was a weird day in its incredibly long life.
- Megan: Five brief skips, then eons of darkness.
- Cueball: Five is a lot, though!
- Megan: It was a good throw.
Megan throws the rock with her left hand, which supposes that she may be left-handed.
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