"That Time It Rained for Two Million Years"
At the dawn of the Triassic Period,
Pangaea was flat and hot and dry.
Then came the Carnian Pluvial Episode.
As the Wrangellian Eruptions crammed
carbon dioxide into the atmosphere,
the Earth got warmer and wetter.
The rains finally reached the interior
of Pangaea, and they poured down
for the next two million years.
The cloudburst covered the ground
with condensation, mist and mizzle in
the morning, drench and deluge at dusk.
The rain fell and the world flooded,
everywhere and all at once.
In place of short, sparse plants
across the desert scrub,
tall conifers grew.
They grew and grew,
spreading out over a land
made new by the inundation.
The monsoons moored themselves
over forests burgeoning with fresh life,
precipitation pattering on from pinecones
and dripping down pendant branches.
The raindrops showered in sheets,
broken only by spates of spit and sprinkle,
until the constant squalls fed streams
that funneled into soft swamps.
The older lifeforms floundered
in the devastating downpour,
and then began to drown.
The rynchosaurs were
too short to eat the plants
that suddenly shot skyward.
The bigger dicynodonts were
too heavy to heave themselves
out of the muck and the mire.
The cruel crurotarsans,
their predators, starved
for the lack of prey.
Still the tempest continued,
thunderstorms turning out
torrents that fed into
the flushing rivers,
great shallow lakes
reflecting the gray sky.
The first dinosaurs emerged,
growing tall and strong as they
feasted on the new forests.
They had teeth and gastroliths
to wear down the wood they ate,
and long necks to nibble the treetops.
By the time the stones swallowed up
the carbon and cooled the Earth
enough to turn off the water,
it was the Age of the Dinosaurs.
So the next time someone
complains about a flood of
a few inches, for a few days,
remind them of old-fashioned weather,
like that time it rained for two million years.
* * *
The Carnian Pluvial Episode occured in the Late Triassic, sparking the dawn of the dinosaurs. Enjoy the video that provided some of the inspiration for this poem.