Stories in Stone: Travels Through Urban Geology

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Event address:. As the days grow shorter and nights longer, head in to winter with new books that explore and celebrate the natural wonders of the world! You'll learn more about our amazing planet through the inspiring, informed voices of America's most gifted interpreters of the natural world. Writing messages with rocks is an ancient gesture that continues to speak to our imaginations. From meadow trails to airy mountaintops and wide open desert, cairns, those seemingly random stacks of rock, are surprisingly rich in stories and meaning. For thousands of years cairns have been used by people to connect to the landscape and communicate with others, and are often an essential guide to travelers.

These manmade rock piles can indicate a trail, mark a grave, serve as an altar or shrine, reveal property boundaries or sacred hunting grounds, and even predict astronomical activity. The Inuit have more than two dozen terms to describe cairns and their uses. In Cairns: Messengers in Stone , geologist and acclaimed nature writer David Williams Stories in Stone: Travels through Urban Geology explores the history of cairns from the moors of Scotland, the pathways of Iceland, all the way to the peaks of the Himalaya, where they come from, what they mean, why they're used, how to make them, and more.

Hikers, climbers, travelers, gardeners, and nature buffs alike will delight in this quirky, captivating collection of stories. An avid hiker, biker, and former national park ranger in Utah and Boston, Williams currently lives with his wife in the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle. Alaska marble in the Smith Tower.

The marble comes from metamorphosed layers of the Heceta Limestone, an Early to Late Silurian to mya. Subsequent intrusion of a hornblende diorite metamorphosed the limestone into a marble. Parts of the Heceta is rich in fossils, though none are found in the marble beds. The limestone formed mostly on a shallow marine platform with some deeper water deposition, too.

Despite not meeting the aspirations of some, Smith Tower does sport a rather handsome lobby. Two stones dominate, onyx marble from Mexico and marble from Alaska.

18 Photos Of The STRANGEST Geological Formations

This post will focus on the Mexican rock. Onyx is a notoriously confusing stone. True onyx is a variety of quartz. It is sometimes referred to as layered chalcedony or black-and-white agate. The onyx used as building stone is not made of quartz but of calcite and is known as onyx marble. Because such calcareous onyx became popular in the United States through stone quarried near Mexico City, it is also called Mexican onyx, as well, no matter its point of origin.

Onyx marble used in ancient Rome and by early Egyptians usually came from Algeria. All onyx marble is popular because of the colorful layering and ability to be highly polished. Color variation depends on the amount of iron and manganese and their oxidation states in the deposits, which become layered as they accumulate in pools.

Like all onyx marble, it formed layer by thin layer in springs, in this case cold water springs.

Other onyx marbles form in hot springs, too. They can also form as stalactites and stalactites. First quarried around , the El Marmol deposits are about miles southeast of Ensenada and 15 miles from the east coast of the peninsula. One additional note. After posting this blog, I was reminded that the onyx in Smith Tower is also called Pedrara Onyx, in reference to the company that owned the quarries.

El Marmol achieved a bit of fame for its onyx marble schoolhouse, which was supposedly the only all onyx place of education in the world. Apparently the stones were not polished and by at least the s, the weathered stones were drab and brown. When geologist George Perkins Merrill visited the Baja quarries in the early s he found the deposits quite pleasing. Two of the slabs eventually ended up at the Museo Geologico Giovanni Capellini in Bologna, where they they sat undisturbed until when paleontologists Federico Fanti and Andrea Cau studied them.

They were fierce, pelagic, piscivorous predators. Neptunidraco is the oldest known member of the Metriorhychidae group and did not look like any modern crocodile. They had streamlined skulls, a vertical tail, and a hydrodynamic body, all features well adapted to a marine lifestyle. They may have ventured onto land to lay eggs. Later Metriorhynchids were more robust and could have eaten armored fish and large marine reptiles.

Rosso Ammonitico, also known as Verona Marble, is a Middle Jurassic age, generally reddish limestone rich in ammonites, hence the name. It formed in deep water as fine grained sediments settled into the Tethys Sea on the margin of Gondwanaland.

Story Geology - AbeBooks

Emanuele in Milan. On the VertePaleo list serv, the reporting of this story led to some amusing anti-limestone-countertop comments. When I was in Bloomington, Indiana, working on my chapter on the Salem Limestone, I remember seeing builders touting the limestone countertops of a new rental units. The publication of the story apparently has ruffled a few feathers in Italy. Cau believes that the conflict results in part from a generational difference and a clash of paradigms, where the young upstarts are willing to reconsider, restudy, and reevaluate past concepts and specimens.

We should applaud them for looking carefully, for struggling with understanding what they saw, for asking questions, for drawing new conclusions, and for learning from those who came before. And yes, their new discovery is a thing of beauty. The interfingering between people and rock. A few people have asked so here's a link to my most recent posting on my new blog site. It's ponders the eternal question of Rock Versus Stone, is there a difference?

Posted by David B. Greetings all. Just a short note to let everyone know that I have moved by blog to my new web site and will no longer be posting at this site. Here is a link to the new blog. And here is a link to my new web site. If you go to the new site, you will see that I am working on a new book, about the natural and cultural history of Cairns the piles of rock that mark trails , and that I am continuing my blog on building stone. I also hope to broaden the scope of that blog to include more aspects of geology.

I would like to return to Smith Tower and look at the other beautiful stone that graces its lobby.

Travels Through Urban Geology

Tokeen was the more major of two marble quarries in the area. First to open was Calder, at the north end of Prince of Wales Island but it closed about the time that Tokeen was being more fully developed by R. Fox of Seattle. Marble Island was initially called Fox Island.

David B. Williams -- "Cairns: Messengers in Stone"

Smith Tower interior and route to safety. In my next posting, I will show a few photos of the third stone in Smith Tower, a fossil-rich limestone. Very exciting! Labels: alaska marble. In continuing my short tour of Seattle lobbies, I turn to what is one of the best known lobbies in the downtown area. Opened on July 4, , the foot tall building was the tallest building west of Ohio at the time.

Over the years, the mostly terra cotta clad edifice has borne the brunt of many incorrect claims. As a fine essay on the historylink. The schoolhouse at El Marmol from Tacoma World web site. The quarry at El Marmol closed in the early s. An article by naturalist Joseph Wood Krutch theorized that it was due to plastic. Next time, I will look at the Alaskan marble. Labels: onyx , seattle. Wednesday, February 9, Seattle Stone: Lobby 1. For many years, I have taken people to the building on my downtown building stone tour and focused on the exterior Morton Gneiss.

If we went on a weekday, I would often go inside and show them the extravagant stone, although I had no clue where the stone originated. Recently, I was showing Dave Tucker of Northwest Geology Field Trips around Seattle to help him put together a tour for a guidebook he is writing on regional geology. When we stopped at the Exchange Building, his excitement prompted me to try and find out a bit more about the stone. Here's what I learned.

Stories in Stone: Travels Through Urban Geology Stories in Stone: Travels Through Urban Geology
Stories in Stone: Travels Through Urban Geology Stories in Stone: Travels Through Urban Geology
Stories in Stone: Travels Through Urban Geology Stories in Stone: Travels Through Urban Geology
Stories in Stone: Travels Through Urban Geology Stories in Stone: Travels Through Urban Geology
Stories in Stone: Travels Through Urban Geology Stories in Stone: Travels Through Urban Geology
Stories in Stone: Travels Through Urban Geology Stories in Stone: Travels Through Urban Geology
Stories in Stone: Travels Through Urban Geology Stories in Stone: Travels Through Urban Geology
Stories in Stone: Travels Through Urban Geology Stories in Stone: Travels Through Urban Geology
Stories in Stone: Travels Through Urban Geology Stories in Stone: Travels Through Urban Geology

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