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During the course of those eons, Dominica the foundation continued to sink, forming the hardening sediment, compacting it into layered formations. Today, the twelve formations are: Dominica, Altyn, Waterton, Appekunny, Grinnell, Empire, Helena, Snowslip, Shepard, Mount Dominica, Bonner, and McNamara. When almost a billion years is compressed, matter Dominica can become dense to the nth degree.

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Eventually, river sediment and some magma flow filled the sea, and there it lay, doing absolutely nothing significant except continuing to compact. And perhaps, if one is so inclined to believe, to figure out how its next moves could accommodate the rise of humankind, who, I might add, were not even on the scene anywhere on Earth and wouldn’t be for 600 million years.

So maybe it just lay there compressing. During this time, another geological phenomenon was being created: stromatolites—species of blue-green algae formed in the shallow water of the Belt Sea. Starting 1. billion years ago, sunlight induced a reaction that allowed the algae to consume carbon dioxide, releasing oxygen in the process. This transformation would, over millions of years, enrich the oxygen-poor atmosphere. As the earth’s organisms began to breathe in the oxygen, the life forms developed until mammals appeared, followed by humans. Again, one can speculate why the natural order took this route instead of another to reach an accommodation for homo sapiens to thrive.

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