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15 July 2017

Flow-banded rhyolite from Vulcano, Italy

I collected only a single rock on my summer travels in France and Italy. (Those of you who know me will realize how extraordinary this low number is!) It’s a flow-banded rhyolite from Vulcano, in the Aeolian Islands north of Sicily a few weeks ago. It contains porphyritic vesicular basalt xenoliths. I featured a similar sample on Twitter yesterday on the occasion (supposedly) of “International Rock Day”: For #InternationalRockDay , …

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6 June 2017

Loading sags in homogeneous lithologies?

Can soft sediment deformation “loading structures” (ball & pillow) occur when the two strata are identical in composition? Grok on these field photos and chime in with your best hypothesis.

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5 June 2017

3D models of sedimentary structures

I’ve been busy making 3D models lately. Here are three ones united by a theme of being sand that was deposited relative to mud. In one case we have scouring to make flutes, in another case we have have localized sagging to make “ball & pillow” structures, and in the third case we have an extraordinary submarine landslide deposit. For two of them, the shale has been preferentially etched away, …

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25 May 2017

Chert-slab conglomerate from the Fig Tree Group, Barberton

Deep in the Archean, things suddenly got violent in the deep water of the Mapepe Formation’s oceanic setting. What was a quiet precipitation of chert suddenly was torn apart and tumbled downslope. Was an earthquake to blame? A bolide impact? This is the result.

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23 May 2017

Silurian tidal flat carbonates of the Tonoloway Formation

Journey to the Silurian period in what is today the Valley & Ridge province of eastern West Virginia to see some exquisite sedimentary rocks that represent deposition in a very arid, very shallow setting.

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9 May 2017

Ripples in Foreknobs

The Foreknobs Formation is a Devonian unit in the Valley & Ridge province of the Mid-Atlantic Region. It was deposited in relatively shallow near-shore conditions during the Acadian Orogeny. On a field trip to Corridor H, a new highway transecting the West Virginian Valley & Ridge province on Monday, I stopped to document a couple of beds showing very nice ripple marks. These ones are symmetrical, and thus likely represent …

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1 May 2017

Accretionary lapilli from Archean volcanic eruptions

Volcanic “hailstones” called accretionary lapilli rained down on South Africa 3 billion years ago, and have survived to be seen in the present day, along the R40 road through Barberton Mountain Land, near the Bulembu border crossing into Swaziland.

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13 January 2017

Friday fold: Smaull Graywacke at Saligo Bay, Islay

On the western coast of Islay, Saligo Bay showcases turbidites of the Neoproterozoic Colonsay Group. The Smaull Graywacke shows Caledonian (late Ordovician) folding and cleavage superimposed on world-class graded bedding. There’s also a nice dolerite dike to examine.

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21 December 2016

Stromatolites of Bunnahabhain

Remember the diamictite I featured here a few weeks ago, from Islay? It was the one that might be a Snowball Earth diamictite. Well, if you follow Snowball Earth science at all, you’ll doubtless be aware that the glaciogenic sediments are characteristically overlain by “cap” carbonates. There’s a stratigraphic successor to the Port Askaig Tillite, too – it’s called the Bonahaven Dolomite. Unlike what you might expect for a cap …

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26 October 2016

Archean meteorite impact evidence from the Fig Tree Group in Barite Valley, Barberton Greenstone Belt, South Africa

What does the sedimentary record of a giant meteorite impact look like? Turns out it is full of tsunami breccia, fine ash, hail-like spherules, and a barium-rich ocean’s crystal precipitates. Join us in the Barberton Greenstone Belt of South Africa to learn more.

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