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新编大学英语教程第四册Unit 08

时间:2011-09-21 05:42来源:互联网 提供网友:gmeng   字体: [ ]
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Antarctica

 

Seen from space, the astronauts tell us, the most distinctive1 feature of our planet is the ice sheet of Antarctica which “radiates light like a great white lantern across the bottom of the world”.This ice sheet covers 5,500,000 square miles (an area greater than the United States and Central America combined); it averages more 7,000 feet in thickness ; it contains more than 90 per cent of the world’s ice and snow, and if suddenly it melted the oceans would rise to such a height that every other person on earth woud be drowned. Antarctica is in fact out planet’s largest and most spectacular natural phenomenon.

 

Yet 160 years ago no one had ever set eyes on this vast continent, let alone set foot on it; and even today man’s tenure2 of it is unsure and his knowledge comparatively slight. To understand why , we need to appreciate the sort of place Antarctica is.

 

People used to regard the Arctic and the Antarctic as much alike. In fact their differences outweigh3 their similarities. The Arctic is closely hemmed4 in by the populatedlandmasses of Europe,America and Asia ; the Antarctic in contrast is in splendid isolation5, divided from the nearest land by vast reaches of the most tempestuous6 seas on earth. Another big difference is the climate. We are so liclined to think of both the Arctic and Antarctic as cold , that we tend to forget how much colder the latter is. North of the Arctic Cirele tens of thousands of families live in comfort all the year round; hundreds of children are born every year . South of the Antarctic Circle . in contrast , there is no habitation that a man can describe as home; the only plants are a handful of mosses7 and lichens8; the only landlife simple one-celled creatures and wingless flies; no human child has ever been born there.

 

It is not hard to see why. The basic essentials to life are rainfall, warmth and a degree of stillness. The Arctic, and times, provides all three; the Antarctic seldom provides any-witness the descriptions of those who have been there:

 

As regards precipitation the Southern Continent is a desert with an annual fall no greater than the outback of Australia. The exact accumulation is difficult to measure because of the common occurrence of blown snow, but the central area certainly receives less than five centimetres per uear; and there may well be places close to the Pole where snow has never fallen. (U.S Weather Bureau)

 

Antarctica is by far the coldest place on earth; weather stations have reported temperatures of -88°C,more than 20°below those recorded anywhere else. In this sort of cold if you try to burn a candle the flame becomes obscured by a hood9 of wax, if you drop a steel bar it is likely to shatter like glass, tin disintegrates10 into loose granules, mercury freezes into a solid metal, and if you haul up a fish through a hole in the ice within five seconds it is frozen so solid that it has to be cut with a saw.(John Becjervaose)

 

All those who have set foot in Antarctica agree that its main and most cruel characteristic is wind . When we wintered in Adelie Land the wind on 5th July blew nonstop for eight hours at an average speed of 107 mph; gusts11 were recorded of over 150 mph,and the average wind speed of the month was 63.3. In these conditions it was possible to stand for more than a few seconds, and then only by leaning forward at an angle of 45°!(Douglas Mawson)

 

It is worth remembering that wind is as injurious to human health as cold; for by disrupting the cushion of warmth which is trapped by pores and hairs of the skin, each knot of wind has an effect on life equal to a drop of one degree in temperature. So whereas a man can live quite happily at -20°in the still air, when the temperature is -20°and the wind speed 60 knots knots he will very quickly die. Small wonder that whereas in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries man swiftly explored and occupied the rest of his planet, the southernmost continent remained inviolate12.

 

Yet climate by itself was not the main drawback to the unveiling of Antarctica; an even greater drawbaack, at least in the early stages, was the nature of the sea—the Southern Ocean—which surrounds it .

 

By Ian Cameron

 

The Underworld 

 

Let us take a brief look at the planet on which we live. As Earth hurtles through space at a speed of 70,000 miles an hour , it spins, as we all know, on its axis13, which causes it to be flattened14 at the Poles. Thus if you were to stand at sea level at the North or South Pole you would be 13 miles nearer the centre of the earth than if you stood on the Equator.

 

The earth is made up of three major layers—a central core, probably metallic15, some 4,000 miles across, a surrounding layer of compressed rock ,and to top it all a very thin skin of softer rock, only about 20 to 40 miles thick—that’s about as thin as the skin of an apple,talking in relative terms.

 

The pressure on the central core is unimaginable. It has been calculated that at the centre it is 60 million pounds to the square inch, and this at a temperature of perhaps 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit16. The earth’s interior, therefore, would seem to be of l iquid metal—and evidence for this is given by the behaviour of earthquakes.

 

When an earthquake occurs, shock waves radiate from the centre just as waves radiate outwards17 from the point where a stone drops into a pond. And these waves pulsate18 through the earth’s various layers. Some waves descend19 vertically20 and pass right through the earth, providing evidence for the existence of the core and an indication that it is fluid rather than solid. Thus , with their sensitive instruments, the scientists who study earthquakes, the seismologists ,can in effect X-ray the earth.

 

Northern India, and more especially that part of Northern Pakistan known as Baluchistan, is a particularly active seismic21 area. In Baluchistan one of the greatest earthquake disasters of modern times occurred in 1935, when the town of Quetta was destroyed and 30,000 people lost their lives. Today , Quetta is the home of a geophysical observatory22 where scientists make a special study of earthquakes. One of the practical tasks of these seismologists in Quetta has been to calculate ways of making buildings sage23 against earthquake tremors24, and nowadays all houses in the town are built according to seven approved designs. As a result, in a great earthquake near Quetta only a few years ago, practically all the buildings stood up and no lives were lost.

 

Iceland is one of the most active volcanic25 regions of the world . And it was to Iceland that Jules Verme semt the hero of his book A Journey to the Centre of the Earth.This intrepid26 explorer clambered down the opening of an extinct volcano and followed its windings27 until he reached the earth’s core. There he found great oceans, and continents with vegetation. This conception of a hollow earth we now know to be false. In the 100 years since Jules Verne published his book, the science of vulcanology , as it is called, has made great strides. But even so the deepest man has yet penetrated28 is about 10,000 feet.This hole, the Robinson Deep mine in South Africa , barely scratches the surface; so great is the heat at 10,000 feet that were it not for an elaborate air-conditioning system , the miners working there would be roasted. Oil borings down to 20,000 feet have shown that the deeper they go, the hotter it becomes.

 

The temperature of the earth at the centre is estimated to be anything between 3,000 and 11,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Some scientists believe that this tremendous heat is caused by the breaking-down of radio-active elements, which release large amounts of energy and compensate29 for the loss of heat from the earath’s surface. If this theory is correct , then we are all living on top of a natural atomic powerhouse.

 

By Radio UNESCO


点击收听单词发音收听单词发音  

1 distinctive Es5xr     
adj.特别的,有特色的,与众不同的
参考例句:
  • She has a very distinctive way of walking.她走路的样子与别人很不相同。
  • This bird has several distinctive features.这个鸟具有几种突出的特征。
2 tenure Uqjy2     
n.终身职位;任期;(土地)保有权,保有期
参考例句:
  • He remained popular throughout his tenure of the office of mayor.他在担任市长的整个任期内都深得民心。
  • Land tenure is a leading political issue in many parts of the world.土地的保有权在世界很多地区是主要的政治问题。
3 outweigh gJlxO     
vt.比...更重,...更重要
参考例句:
  • The merits of your plan outweigh the defects.你制定的计划其优点胜过缺点。
  • One's merits outweigh one's short-comings.功大于过。
4 hemmed 16d335eff409da16d63987f05fc78f5a     
缝…的褶边( hem的过去式和过去分词 ); 包围
参考例句:
  • He hemmed and hawed but wouldn't say anything definite. 他总是哼儿哈儿的,就是不说句痛快话。
  • The soldiers were hemmed in on all sides. 士兵们被四面包围了。
5 isolation 7qMzTS     
n.隔离,孤立,分解,分离
参考例句:
  • The millionaire lived in complete isolation from the outside world.这位富翁过着与世隔绝的生活。
  • He retired and lived in relative isolation.他退休后,生活比较孤寂。
6 tempestuous rpzwj     
adj.狂暴的
参考例句:
  • She burst into a tempestuous fit of anger.她勃然大怒。
  • Dark and tempestuous was night.夜色深沉,狂风肆虐,暴雨倾盆。
7 mosses c7366f977619e62b758615914b126fcb     
n. 藓类, 苔藓植物 名词moss的复数形式
参考例句:
  • Ferns, mosses and fungi spread by means of spores. 蕨类植物、苔藓和真菌通过孢子传播蔓生。
  • The only plants to be found in Antarctica are algae, mosses, and lichens. 在南极洲所发现的植物只有藻类、苔藓和地衣。
8 lichens 8ba13422ddec8ecf73fb1d0cb20f495f     
n.地衣( lichen的名词复数 )
参考例句:
  • The only plants to be found in Antarctica are algae, mosses, and lichens. 在南极洲所发现的植物只有藻类、苔藓和地衣。 来自辞典例句
  • Litmus: Mixture of coloured organic compounds obtained from several species of lichens. 石蕊:从几种地衣类植物中获取的带色有机化合物的混合物。 来自互联网
9 hood ddwzJ     
n.头巾,兜帽,覆盖;v.罩上,以头巾覆盖
参考例句:
  • She is wearing a red cloak with a hood.她穿着一件红色带兜帽的披风。
  • The car hood was dented in.汽车的发动机罩已凹了进去。
10 disintegrates af9a7305b194c0803ccafe9c63d1befc     
n.(使)破裂[分裂,粉碎],(使)崩溃( disintegrate的名词复数 )v.(使)破裂[分裂,粉碎],(使)崩溃( disintegrate的第三人称单数 )
参考例句:
  • Particles rain down from the slug and it finally disintegrates. 颗粒从上面纷纷下落,最后腾涌消失。 来自辞典例句
  • When the uranium disintegrates, it changes into lead. 当铀蜕变时,它变成了铅。 来自辞典例句
11 gusts 656c664e0ecfa47560efde859556ddfa     
一阵强风( gust的名词复数 ); (怒、笑等的)爆发; (感情的)迸发; 发作
参考例句:
  • Her profuse skirt bosomed out with the gusts. 她的宽大的裙子被风吹得鼓鼓的。
  • Turbulence is defined as a series of irregular gusts. 紊流定义为一组无规则的突风。
12 inviolate E4ix1     
adj.未亵渎的,未受侵犯的
参考例句:
  • The constitution proclaims that public property shall be inviolate.宪法宣告公共财产不可侵犯。
  • They considered themselves inviolate from attack.他们认为自己是不可侵犯的。
13 axis sdXyz     
n.轴,轴线,中心线;坐标轴,基准线
参考例句:
  • The earth's axis is the line between the North and South Poles.地轴是南北极之间的线。
  • The axis of a circle is its diameter.圆的轴线是其直径。
14 flattened 1d5d9fedd9ab44a19d9f30a0b81f79a8     
[医](水)平扁的,弄平的
参考例句:
  • She flattened her nose and lips against the window. 她把鼻子和嘴唇紧贴着窗户。
  • I flattened myself against the wall to let them pass. 我身体紧靠着墙让他们通过。
15 metallic LCuxO     
adj.金属的;金属制的;含金属的;产金属的;像金属的
参考例句:
  • A sharp metallic note coming from the outside frightened me.外面传来尖锐铿锵的声音吓了我一跳。
  • He picked up a metallic ring last night.昨夜他捡了一个金属戒指。
16 Fahrenheit hlhx9     
n./adj.华氏温度;华氏温度计(的)
参考例句:
  • He was asked for the boiling point of water in Fahrenheit.他被问到水的沸点是华氏多少度。
  • The thermometer reads 80 degrees Fahrenheit.寒暑表指出华氏80度。
17 outwards NJuxN     
adj.外面的,公开的,向外的;adv.向外;n.外形
参考例句:
  • Does this door open inwards or outwards?这门朝里开还是朝外开?
  • In lapping up a fur,they always put the inner side outwards.卷毛皮时,他们总是让内层朝外。
18 pulsate 3Slxn     
v.有规律的跳动
参考例句:
  • Hues of purplish,rose and amber begin to pulsate in the sky.淡紫色的、玫瑰色的和琥珀色的色调开始在天空中微微颤动起来。
  • Building facades pulsate with millions of lights and glowing neon display.在千万灯光和霓虹灯的照耀下,建筑物的外墙规律地闪动着。
19 descend descend     
vt./vi.传下来,下来,下降
参考例句:
  • I hope the grace of God would descend on me.我期望上帝的恩惠。
  • We're not going to descend to such methods.我们不会沦落到使用这种手段。
20 vertically SfmzYG     
adv.垂直地
参考例句:
  • Line the pages for the graph both horizontally and vertically.在这几页上同时画上横线和竖线,以便制作图表。
  • The human brain is divided vertically down the middle into two hemispheres.人脑从中央垂直地分为两半球。
21 seismic SskyM     
a.地震的,地震强度的
参考例句:
  • Earthquakes produce two types of seismic waves.地震产生两种地震波。
  • The latest seismic activity was also felt in northern Kenya.肯尼亚北部也感觉到了最近的地震活动。
22 observatory hRgzP     
n.天文台,气象台,瞭望台,观测台
参考例句:
  • Guy's house was close to the observatory.盖伊的房子离天文台很近。
  • Officials from Greenwich Observatory have the clock checked twice a day.格林威治天文台的职员们每天对大钟检查两次。
23 sage sCUz2     
n.圣人,哲人;adj.贤明的,明智的
参考例句:
  • I was grateful for the old man's sage advice.我很感激那位老人贤明的忠告。
  • The sage is the instructor of a hundred ages.这位哲人是百代之师。
24 tremors 266b933e7f9df8a51b0b0795733d1e93     
震颤( tremor的名词复数 ); 战栗; 震颤声; 大地的轻微震动
参考例句:
  • The story was so terrible that It'sent tremors down my spine. 这故事太可怕,它使我不寒而栗。
  • The story was so terrible that it sent tremors down my spine. 这故事太可怕,它使我不寒而栗。
25 volcanic BLgzQ     
adj.火山的;象火山的;由火山引起的
参考例句:
  • There have been several volcanic eruptions this year.今年火山爆发了好几次。
  • Volcanic activity has created thermal springs and boiling mud pools.火山活动产生了温泉和沸腾的泥浆池。
26 intrepid NaYzz     
adj.无畏的,刚毅的
参考例句:
  • He is not really satisfied with his intrepid action.他没有真正满意他的无畏行动。
  • John's intrepid personality made him a good choice for team leader.约翰勇敢的个性适合作领导工作。
27 windings 8a90d8f41ef7c5f4ee6b83bec124a8c9     
(道路、河流等)蜿蜒的,弯曲的( winding的名词复数 ); 缠绕( wind的现在分词 ); 卷绕; 转动(把手)
参考例句:
  • The time harmonics can be considered as voltages of higher frequencies applied to the windings. 时间谐波可以看作是施加在绕组上的较高频率的电压。
  • All the vales in their manifold windings shaded by the most delightful forests. 所有的幽谷,都笼罩在繁茂的垂枝下。
28 penetrated 61c8e5905df30b8828694a7dc4c3a3e0     
adj. 击穿的,鞭辟入里的 动词penetrate的过去式和过去分词形式
参考例句:
  • The knife had penetrated his chest. 刀子刺入了他的胸膛。
  • They penetrated into territory where no man had ever gone before. 他们已进入先前没人去过的地区。
29 compensate AXky7     
vt.补偿,赔偿;酬报 vi.弥补;补偿;抵消
参考例句:
  • She used her good looks to compensate her lack of intelligence. 她利用她漂亮的外表来弥补智力的不足。
  • Nothing can compensate for the loss of one's health. 一个人失去了键康是不可弥补的。
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TAG标签:   新编大学英语
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