Louisville Magazine

AUG 2018

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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48 LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 8.18 monumental arched lobby. It's more cozy than grand, a little nook of books and minor artifacts, things students bring to him. He has silver hair, a silver goatee and olive skin. "Paleontologists," he says, "read rocks like books, except that the pages are in layers of rocks." e story these rocks tell is one of great changes happening very slowly. Over 300 million years ago, he says, "is is a tropical, reef-like environ- ment. We're talking about Florida." And actually, he explains, due to plate tectonics and continental drift, this place itself — where you are sitting right now — would have been hundreds of miles away from here, closer to the equator. Hadizadeh grew up in Tehran, Iran, which he says is Denver-like in its geography. e family's apartment was small, but when they went out on a hike everything was wide open. "My uncle was…a curious guy. He would stop and take a piece of rock. I kind of followed his lead. I got curious about what he was curious about." A volcanic rock was the first to grab Hadizadeh's attention. Recalling it, he gets the look of somebody remembering something dear from childhood, like your first bike or first puppy or first tree house. His eyes smile. "I had very little idea of where it had come from or what it was. But then when I was doing my Bachelor of Science in geology, I went back to the same mountain to do my undergraduate thesis. en I learned about it. "It's interesting," he says. "I can go back to it and back to it and back to it and dig into it. In fact, I remember more about that time than I do about yesterday." Geology is time travel. As I climb down into the gulch, time doesn't slip away so much as break. Eons crumble beneath my feet. It is pouring rain. Harrods Creek in Oldham County has carved away 100 feet of earth, leaving layer upon layer exposed. ey tell the story of tens of millions of years, cycles upon cycles, water, land, plants, compression, shale, stone, water returning, water leaving again. Trying not to slip on the wet ledges, I poke around and look for obvious fossils. And then, I realize, they really are everywhere. Mostly shells about the size of a quarter or half-dollar. Little brachio- pods, looking not so different from the clams in Harrods Creek today (although, they are, in fact, completely different, simply evolved to look similar). I find one freestanding brachiopod, almost perfectly preserved in limestone. It has a distinctive bell curve for a mouth, which identifies it as the Hebertella brachiopod. is is my favorite little guy. Fossilization is a molecular process. It usually starts when a plant or animal gets buried in sand or mud (in this part of the country, fossils were made from what got says Jafar Hadizadeh, professor of geogra- phy and geosciences at the University of Louisville. "ey literally kick it around." It can be hard to wrap your brain around a number as big as 400 million. ink of the entire populations of the United States and Canada lined up single file. We would stretch to the moon and back. at many years ago. Hadizadeh's office is on U of L's main campus, off to the side of Lutz Hall's Michael Popp's trilobite.

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