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Friday, November 13, 2009

An Evening Without Any Big Ideas, New or Old


We are waiting to hear news of two friends in the hospital in Traverse City, both post-surgical, and I’m distracting myself with Year of Wonders, by Geraldine Brooks. I found this Charlevoix stone (favosites) far from the beach, close to the bed of geologically much newer rocks (following), the latter so close to being soil soil that they are easily split into layers by freezing, thawing and percussion. Any of these, the fossil rock or the sharp-split layers, would have been polished smooth by waves had they been resting on the Lake Michigan shore.






6 comments:

Gerry said...

You know I love these photos! For a long time I thought the Charlevoix stones I picked up on the beach were Petoskeys - wonder if tourists ever make that mistake about the towns themselves? I digress. Anyway, they're interesting fossils. Hope your friends are recovering well.

P. J. Grath said...

Gerry, thanks for the smile I got thinking about tourists mixing up the towns of Charlevoix and Petoskey. "Oh, yeah, Petoskey is the big one, right?" One book (I think it's MICHIGAN FOSSILS) said that people often think favosites are "baby" hexagonaria, whereas a Petoskey stone fossil that is not fully formed (I don't know that I've seen any except in photographs) has round markings rather than hexagonal, and there is space between them. And that makes me think of a honeycomb. Round things squashed together become polygons.

Of our friends in the hospital, the one we know something about is in very bad shape, and we have no word at all on the other. Recovery would be a best-case scenario for both, so thanks for your good wishes.

Jessica Winder said...

I really like the photographs and explanations in this post of both the fossils and the splitting rocks. This is similar to the Carboniferous limestone fossil corals near Rhossili that I often visit - although I have never found any very good examples. Are some of your beach pebbles flattened and disc-like from the smoothing the frost-spit rocks pieces?

P. J. Grath said...

Jessica, for years I've found flat stones on Lake Michigan beaches. They "skip" the best, so sometimes they're just what we're looking for. It hadn't occurred to me until the other day when I saw these freshly split rocks that perhaps such splits were the origins of the smooth, flat stones on the beach. I have no formal background in geology, so I hesitated to make the claim, but do you think that is the correct explanation?

centria said...

Beautiful stones, indeed. Did you like Year of Wonders? I think I was a bit disappointed in it, but maybe shouldn't say that because it's hard to even remember what it was about.

P. J. Grath said...

I loved YEAR OF WONDERS! I had liked MARCH a lot, but YEAR OF WONDERS flowed more naturally, I thought. It came off without the self-consciousness of MARCH. Now I have to read PEOPLE OF THE BOOK, but that may have to wait for early 2010.