Quartz and Granite. Now really. Between the two which sounds like something you want to hold and admire? "Quartz" has this lovely rolling feel in the mouth ending with a little elegant buzz. It starts and ends with rare letters making it a valuable word in Scrabble (24 points!!) .
"Granite" on the other hand sounds hard, irritating, and just plain undesirable. GRR. GRRan-ITe. The only time I remember the word "granite" being associated with anything good was in the Flintstones cartoons when "Gary Granite" came to town. That and granite countertops. I'm dating myself of course.
This week's Outdoor Hour Challenge had us focusing on these two specific rocks. Once again I had to smile with gritted teeth at the idea of rock study. (The grit was from the rocks I bet.) But Mei's enthusiasm was infectious and so we gathered up our supplies.
Finding samples of these two should be no problem in our area. The Appalachians are chock-full. Quartz I knew. It's everywhere. We also could cheat because I had purchased a beautiful pink quartz at the Penn's Cave gift shop last summer. But not so sure about the other. Free to gather whatever she found, Mei picked up several interesting-looking samples right from the rock-paved farm road near home, delivered from a near-by quarry.
But first some general knowledge.
|Interactive Rock Cycle: thorough and fun!|
Mei spent a LOT of time on the Interactive Rock Cycle site the Outdoor Challenge directed us to. It was great and there was even a test at the end that I could print out and include in a portfolio of her work (we're not textbook peeps).We were beginning to draw conclusions about our mystery rocks.
|Our fav lenses especially the Carson Microbrite (right)|
|Field Guides to rock on with.|
|Other areas available too!|
|Gneiss. And a little moss.|
"For about a mile square at this locality is an outburst of quartzose, granite of magnificent quality, both as regards beauty of appearance, compactness of structure and uniformity of color, texture and composition. I have never seen anything superior in this country. Indeed, I doubt whether it can be excelled in any country. It cannot be surpassed for strength and durability by any building material in the world."Well, don't we feel special! As soon as my foot is finished healing, we intend to find both caches and see the examples first-hand. Go to GeoCaching.com to learn more about this fun, educational hobby!
However we WERE able to meander over to a neighboring quarry, Vinci Stone, to talk with their friendly saleswoman and learn a lot about what goes into the business of beautifying our properties with Nature's mineral reserves.
|Landscape and building stone from across the country|
and around the world
We were especially captivated by the beauty and variety of materials, especially when it came to the granite that was displayed for countertops. (See?? Pale green and peach! It can be gorgeous.)
And then lo and behold, we were pointed to the mammoth block of LAVA! It had been shipped from California, and is looking for a good home if anyone on the East Coast has use for a black rock the size of a Volkswagen.
|Granite counters and a lava boulder just her size|
So we have another nice page in our nature journals and a lot of new knowledge. And I have a better attitude toward rocks. (But I'd still rather paint clouds. ;-) )
Thanks, Outdoor Hour Challenge! To see what others are learning about rocks visit the Outdoor Hour Blog Carnival at Handbook of Nature Study!
Got rocks in YOUR socks? Tell Mother All About It!