Old Rock Day

On January 7, we are not celebrating Rock ‘n Roll, but rather actual old rocks. It is a day when geologists and others celebrate rocks and fossils. As most of us learned in school, there are three main classes of rocks, sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous.

When I was young, we had a cottage on Lake Ontario. The shore there was made up of sedimentary rocks, that is, rocks formed from sand, shells, and other fragments. Our rocks were mainly sandstone, a reddish stone formed when the area was all underwater.

Where I visited in Ireland along the shores of Lough Foyle, the rocks were metamorphic, part of a shelf of such rocks which extend out from Scotland. They were rugged, but not as hard as granite, for instance.

Volcanic areas like Oregon are rich in igneous rock, molten material which has cooled and hardened. Some, like granite, are rough and useful for building, but obsidian is a beautiful natural black glass.

For the geologist, rocks are useful in several ways. First, by using radiometric dating, they can tell us the age of a particular outcropping. They can also tell the history of an area, particularly in places like canyons where different ages can be seen by studying the walls. Fossils tell us what an area was like long ago.

The graphic I chose for this blog is Stonehenge, aanother fascinating look at old rocks. It is amazing how ancient people managed to build something so massive. Even more than trees, rocks tie us to the past, since they existed long before we were here, as places like Stonehenge attest. It is awe-inspiring to realize stone age people looked at the same rocks.

So appreciate the rocks around you today.

Quotes about rocks

There will always be rocks in the road ahead of us. They will be stumbling blocks or stepping stones; it all depends on how you use them.–Friedrich Nietzsche

Rock is a great master of life. It teaches us this simple philosophy: Stay firm!–Mehmet Murat Ildan

We have forgotten what rocks and plants still know – we have forgotten how to be – to be still – to be ourselves – to be where life is here and now–Eckhart Tolle

In matters of principle stand like a rock.–Thomas Jefferson

A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.–Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Geologists have a saying – rocks remember.–Neil Armstrong

That memorable day died in purple and gold, and just as the last traces of the sunset faded in the west and the star-lilies filled the sky, the full moon looked down over the rim of the valley, and the great rocks, catching the silvery glow, came forth out of the dusky shadows like very spirits.–John Muir

Study how water flows in a valley stream, smoothly and freely between the rocks. Also learn from holy books and wise people. Everything – even mountains, rivers, plants and trees – should be your teacher.–Morihei Ueshiba

All the lessons are in nature. You look at the way rocks are formed – the wind and the water hitting them, shaping them, making them what they are. Things take time, you know?–Diane Lane

As with other phases of nature, I have probably loved the rocks more than I have studied them.–John Burroughs

One billion grains of sand come into existence in the world each second. That’s a cyclical process. As rocks and mountains die, grains of sand are born. Some of those grains may then cement naturally into sandstone. And as the sandstone weathers, new grains break free. Some of those grains may then accumulate on a massive scale, into a sand dune.–Magnus Larsson

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