Friday, January 7, 2011

Solid as a Rock

Could you imagine being a geologist and discovering an area that contained whole rocks that were over 4.25 billion years old? That's nearly as old as the planet itself! Scientists are still studying samples from the Nuvvuagittuq greenstone belt, an expanse of bedrock exposed on the eastern shore of Baffin Island in Hudson Bay in northern Quebec. In order to verify the age of this bedrock, they are looking for zircon crystals - one of the world's hardest substances and known to be able to withstand even volcanic activity. Prior to this find, the oldest whole rocks ever found were dated back 4.03 billion years and also came from Canada and a region known as the Acasta Gneiss in the Northwest Territories.

Seriously, I'm trying to wrap my brain around 4.25 billion years - seems almost unfathomable! I do think it's pretty cool that there's a day devoted to celebrating old rocks and the stories they tell and the unique varieties of beauty they provide. No matter where you go, or what you do, just as Emily from Emelephotography illustrates with pieces like her Pebbles Print 8x10, you can be sure that there are some of these remnants of ancient history not too far away! In the spirit of National Old Rock Day, here are some unique old rocks used in the creation of some awesome items on Etsy!

Orthoceras fossils like those found in this Twin Orthoceras Fossil Pendant, Black, Wire Wrapped Necklace by CindyLouWho2 seem like relative newcomers in the timeline of our planet's history compared to rocks like those found on Baffin Island. That definitely doesn't detract from the fact that they date back over 4 million years to the Silurian Age of the Paleozoic Era and are the earliest recognizable animals. To put this in even more of a perspective, these creatures were around during the same time frame that small plants started to colonize on land - and dinosaurs wouldn't arrive for another 2 million years!

If we fast forward another 2 million years from the time of orthoceras to the time of the dinosaurs, the earth's crust was still very active, forming a number of mountain ranges including the Sierra Madres, which would be home to the granite deposits where this Striped Granite Stone Tealight Candle Holder by Brooksbarrow came from. Granite is a hard igneous rock - meaning that it formed through the cooling of magma or lava. I love the unusual zigzag found in this particular stone - makes me think that it probably formed over a couple of different events in which layers of slightly different composition were laid down and then pushed up through volcanic activity or earthquakes. Very cool...I think this could make a great conversation piece in addition to being simply gorgeous!

Just by guessing, I'm thinking this lovely piece to the right and below, is probably granite as well, although from the coloring you can see that it's got different crystals in its composition. I've done a little study of and work with rocks in the past, and while many people might not appreciate how much really needs to be considered when creating art with rock, it's not always as easy as it looks!

While rocks look solid, they can be very unpredictable - they chip where they're not supposed to, missing a relatively hidden fracture can leave you looking at multiple rocks instead of that beautiful piece you started out with, and then there's the polishing and all the work that goes with making the final piece as lovely as this LOVE ROCK - Home decor pebble by sjengraving. Don't you just love the design? This would be great to have near the entrance to your home or in a place of honor in your rock or zen garden - or even as a paperweight...but can you think of any other great places to show off an adorable piece like this?

From the outside, geodes don't look like much more than a lumpy piece of limestone full of pitting and not even exactly attractive. However, open up one of these rocks and you'll find a magical world of crystalline formations that often rival anything the most creative imagination could come up with.

Geodes can range in size from tiny (about the size of a small bird's egg) to massive formations like the Naica caverns in Mexico. And while some geodes have a beautiful crystal lined hollow formed from amethyst or crystal quartz, others called geode nodules - like the one this breathtaking Stained Glass Look Bubbly Brazilian Agate Suncatcher from rocksinmypocket was cut from - reveal an amazing, sometimes completely solid, agate core. That is one of the allures of going geode hunting - you can never be sure exactly what you'll find when you crack one of these rocks open... although different regions tend to have a typical version of their own geodes.

Geodes aren't found everywhere either. Here in the US, deposits are more common in the Southwest as well as in the Midwest. Other places in the world that large areas of geodes can be found are Brazil, Mexico, and Namibia, with less common deposits having been found in Spain, Australia and various other areas. It's amazing what you can do with the right lump of rock, isn't it? I'm planning on taking my older grandkids geode hunting in a few weeks (before the heat starts), since we have a few "known" geode sites within about an hour's drive. Have you ever gone hunting for geodes?

I'll be covering a feature on another BESTeam shop today, so please stop by a little later to read about one of our newest members! See you then!

1 comment:

cindylouwho2 said...

Great blog post! I think we still have some amazing discoveries to make. We live just a few hours from the Burgess shale in BC & are loking forward to a visit some day.

Thanks for including my orthoceras pendant!

Related Posts with Thumbnails