We had a few uncommonly warm days right before Christmas that got me back to the local quarry. Bonus days as I like to think of them. Even better, I discovered that the quarry owner had recently uncovered a fresh wall of shale – one that was thoroughly stained by various minerals – iron among others.
The variety of patterns and color combinations brought me back for several days of shooting. As grateful as I was to have those warm days it needs to be mentioned that, during that brief period, there were times when the temperature at the North Pole was higher than the temperature in parts of Texas! And, while I was able to take advantage of the circumstances, those circumstances were were not something to be happy about.
In this part of the quarry the rocks break apart easily, often crumbling in your hands as you pick them up. Exposure to the elements further speeds their breakup.
More precisely, as I am just now researching, oxidation is a type of chemical weathering that weakens and causes the subsequent disintegrating of rock:
Oxidation is the reaction of rock minerals with oxygen, thus changing the mineral composition of the rock. When minerals in rock oxidize, they become less resistant to weathering. Iron, a commonly known mineral, becomes red or rust colored when oxidized.
Eventually it all becomes crushed shale, good for driveways and construction fill. The color just gets broken into the mix and disappears into the gray/black pile. But until that happens…
Rarely do I ever find fossils in this rock. So it was a nice surprise to run across this group of crinoid stem segments.
Each are an inch to two inches long. The individual rocks were found very close together.
Of course I went back several times to search the same area but no more were to be found.
Winter did finally arrive and it seemed like all color had completely vanished. Color may have left but interesting forms and shapes continue to appear. These two images are taken from my tire tracks in the driveway.
Thanks for the visit.