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Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Revision as of 05:35, 4 March 2013

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Geochronology
'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.'

Explanation

Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Please add some more information on Newfoundland geology. Could somebody elaborate on why the title text is almost correct?

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 and no microplates and 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 might reasonably exist.

The title text highlights this problem: At first it seems that that Megan continues using dog breeds to name microplates, but the explanation is actually correct: The dog breeds Labrador Retriever and Newfoundland are named after two canadian regions - as are two microplates, whose relative movement did indeed led to the formation of mountains in Newfoundland.

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

Transcript

Ambox notice.png This transcript is incomplete. Please help editing it! Thanks.
[Cueball, Ponytail, and Megan are standing in a field.]
Ponytail: [Gesturing toward a rock formation] This bedrock likely formed as the Dalmatian microplate subducted under East Laika during the Upper Pomeranian.
Cueball: [Touching his chin thoughtfully] 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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