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An outcrop bears evidence of the earth’s past inhabitants.



A school of plankton drift. Too primitive to think survival, they run straight into the open mouth of a mollusk. Billions more fall to the bottom, past the point even light can’t pass. Each no larger than a hair’s breadth, they make up the ocean floor.

From time to time, the floor plates grind against one another—tension grows. Friction causes heat. Heat boils the magma. Crust cracks. Erupts. When the final wisp of smoke dissipates, a barren field opens up. An otherworldly quiet hangs in the air still hot. A pair of gerbils climb the slope.

I chiseled at the bulbous handle. The girth wasn't impressive—I could grasp my fingers around its narrowest point—but it held onto its mother sao steadfastly that I gave up several times. These basalt samples from the Amboy Crater were pierced with metal rods and hung like specimens. When the "arm" hits the stone, it opens its mouth.

It sounds like a cry—or perhaps, a story.