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23 March 2011

Shear band in a granite

Walking back to my hotel after departing the Northeastern / North-central GSA section meeting on Sunday, I noticed this fine shear band cutting across a polished slab of granite on the exterior of an office building in downtown Pittsburgh: You’ll notice some grain-size reduction along that shear zone, and what looks to be a decent S-C fabric developed, with a sense of motion of top-to-the-left. If you look at the …

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10 February 2011

Treasure trove of traces

Here’s an amazing sight that caught me unawares in Capadoccia — some paving stones outside a small “museum” (preserved Byzantine hoodoo church) that were chock full of some AMAZING trace fossils. Sense of scale is provided by a Turkish 1-lira coin, about the same size as a U.S. quarter. Check out the variety, size, and preservation quality of these gorgeous things: These are “negatives” — molds of depressions that were …

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17 December 2010

Friday fold: monastery brick

Sometimes you find folds in funny places, like the side of a monastery. Guest fold from Maitri.

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14 October 2010

Rumeli Hisarı

Right after I got to Istanbul on this most recent trip, I took a taxi from my hotel down to the Bosphorus, to check out the Rumeli Hisarı, a fort complex built in 1452 by Sultan Mehmet the II in anticipation of the following year’s siege of Constantinople. It’s constructed at the narrowest point on the Bosphorus (660 m wide), with the aim of controlling boat traffic coming from the …

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22 September 2010

Building stones of the Haghia Sophia

The Haghia Sophia (or “Ayasophia”) is an astounding building in old town Istanbul. It is an ancient cathedral turned mosque turned museum. Through all these incarnations, the Hagia Sophia has retained some features and had other ones added on: it is a palimpsest of architecture, symbology, and history. Walking through its soaring main chamber, or side passages and alcoves, visitors like me stand with necks bent and mouths agape. It …

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14 September 2010

The Blue Mosque

In Istanbul over the summer, Lily and I checked out the “Blue Mosque,” named for the predominant color of the mosaic tiles in its interior. It’s more formally know as “Sultan Ahmed Mosque,” named for the sultan who commissioned its construction in 1609. It is an elegant building: I loved the “pile of bubbles” effect of the multiple domes, and then the skyward piercing forms of the minarets. It also …

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13 June 2010

Duke Stone

I wrote last fall about my visit to the Duke Quarry, home of a charismatic metavolcanic rock used to face buildings on the campus of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. Here’s a sample of the “Duke Stone” that I brought back to NOVA, cut, polished, lacquered, and scanned. It’s quite lovely. You can click through (twice) for the biggest version: Gorgeous, isn’t it?

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DC fossil website is now live

Chris Barr’s informative website of the “Accidental Museum of Paleontology” that can be found in D.C. building stones is now live. You should go and check it out, and if you ever visit the city, you can use it as a guide for your tourism.

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18 May 2010

Falls of the James I: pluton emplacement

Last Friday, NOVA colleague Victor Zabielski and I traveled down to Richmond, Virginia, to meet up with Chuck Bailey of the College of William & Mary, and do a little field work on the rocks exposed by the James River. Our destination was Belle Isle, a whaleback-shaped island where granite has been quarried for dimension stone for many years. The island has also served as a Confederate prison for captured …

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29 March 2010

New metaconglomerate sample

Courtesy of my scanner, and my generous student Saadet M., whose family runs a building stone business here in northern Virginia… behold a lovely metaconglomerate: This is a really cool rock. I would rather have this than diabase for my countertop. It doesn’t show up well in this scan, but the rock has a moderately well developed foliation in the matrix: I’d describe it as “phyllitic verging on schisty.” The …

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