Rockhounding – always the schist

Today’s share began by mining ebay for some Super 7 crystals, which have been chiseling at my curiosity to re-learn what was in them. I was sifting through the various offerings and saw something called Auralite-23 that is considered a sister to S7. Interesting stuff. My mind was molten over thoughts of rutiles, which are known to occur in S7. I have always found them facet-nating inside quartz. I researched how rutiles form and eventually ended up reading a geology blog. This naturally terminated in finding out what else geologists blog about. I dug into an associated one called Mountain Beltway. It was here that I uncovered the following gem by Callan:

Deep sockets of magma
An oatmeal of chunkety crystals
Gradual uplift, a feldspar at a time
Seeping, soaking hot days
Freezing nights; prying fingers of frost
A loose mountain dandruff of grus
Seismic judder
Hissing and gurgling from a crumbling crack
Steam in thickets the color of cheese
Upwelling earthsap, exploratory lobes stretching and bubbling
Glassy rinds congealing, shattering, turning over and being resorbed
Topped next century by another
Lava stacked on lava, half a mile thick
And one day, it’s over, and time goes by and nothing but entropy happens
Heat is dissipated; the cold rock contracts and sinks
Before fifty million years have elapsed, the cool kiss of the sea
is lapping at this monument to past excitement
Pebbles accrue; sand piles up
Estuarine muck and clay receive the footprints of seafloor scuttlers
A Cambrian Davy Jones’ locker, full of trilobites
An freight train of sand convulses by,
its caboose shot through with bristles and tubes
Clearing waters, Bahamanian distillates
Seafloor hailstones rolling and growing
Gritty-hearted gobstoppers of Paradise
Seaslime domes grazed by terrible snails
A hundred thousand millennia of aquatic ions meeting, linking,
raining out like cold smoke
Pudding like carbonate goo
Studded with walnut husk brachiopods
Traced with echinoderm stems
Each year, an iotasworth blanket of fresh lime weighed down the bottom
and the seafloor subsided by one iotasworth
A shallow eternity, until the bottom dropped out
Vertigo as we peer into the unlit depths
Two hundred miles to the east, an brutal archipelago approached
Ancient Tamboras and Pinatubos convulsing in heaving thunder
Ash sifted into the sea, settling to the ever receding bottom
Submarine landslides gushed silently and slowly by,
Phantasmic leviathans each leaving a trace of sand draped in mud
Like a conveyer belt delivering groceries,
subductive peristalsis at an Iapetan trench
drew Africa ever closer
Soon Mauritania and Morocco were nuzzling up
Insistent and then violent
Wrenching pressure that, in the end, could not be resisted
A slow motion wreck,
arching them up, tipping them back, shoving them westward,
and up and up and up
Trauma caused changes:
The ancient lava turned green as it cooked
The ancient mud took on a splitting fabric
The ancient sand distorted, speck by speck, to the shape of a fleet of minuscule zeppelins
Where once there had been ocean
Mountains now rose
Beneath them, the strata once parallel with the horizon now buckled and piled
Atop them, landslides and debris flows coursed downhill
carrying newly liberated clasts
Among them, grains of zircon
Which journeyed fro their Appalachian source on Permian Mississippis westward
to their “final” resting place among the Araucaria trees of Arizona
Before that Forest was Petrified, it was buried in Alleghanian detritus
The crunching and grinding and thickening and erosion and flow
grew the lofty Appalachian seam,
stitching the heart of Pangaea in an Alpine colossus
When the tectonic tide began to ebb
It was expressed as a series of fissures, rending the crust
To the beat of earthquakes and avalanches
These Triassic Olduvais yawned wide, gulping gravel
The shores of its lakes pressed by the feet of therapsids
Faults tapped the hot mantle,
conducting and weeping basalt over the continental wound
One of these rifts stretched so wide, the supercontinent broke clean in two
One piece of Pangaea scooted east,
while our land headed west
The Atlantic flexing wide in their mutual wake
Shorelines twitching back and forth;
Sea level unable to make up its mind
Each transgression leaving a fresh blanket of shells
A comet dunked hard
through these layers and into the crust beneath
spewing molten rock up and down the coast
An annular trough and a central peak beneath the Chesapeake
More layers laid down, full of steroidal scallops
and the cast-off teeth of cartilaginous patrols
Cold times came, and the rivers bit in
chewing downward through the old cold rock
The landscape stretched itself vertically,
newfound relief like an exaggerated memory of the bygone glory days


Source: Geopoetry: a short recounting of Virginia’s long history – Mountain Beltway