'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

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Saturday, 14 August 2010

I Got Stones


While we were in Queenstown, we stayed with friends who have a house right on the shore of Lake Wakatipu.  Imagine looking out at this lovely view from your living-room window every day!


 Early in the morning we followed the short track down to the beach and I was amazed to find that the frost was right down on the stones along the shoreline.




Where the water had defrosted them, the wave-worn schist pebbles were the most wondrous shades of white, cream, orange, blue-grey, and green.
 

I brought some home with me.  Predictably, I like the green one best.  I wetted them to bring out the colours, but I think they would tumble up and polish well.  The layered appearance show that they were originally sedimentary - laid down in stillish water - but the crystaline form (I can see little twinkles of quartzite crystals) and the wavy veins, tell me that these rocks have been under huge pressure and the soft sediments have been compressed so hard they heated up and metamorphosed - changed their molecular structure - into what we call schist (a word that comes from the Greek for 'split').  It's mined locally and when split it is popular house-cladding material around Queenstown.



7 comments:

  1. There are a number of schists in the blogosphere but you Katherine are not one of them!

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  2. I think you have a treasure trove on that shoreline.

    WV is cityny; you could never find such stones in New York City.

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  3. Elizabeth15.8.10

    Those stones are going to look amazing tumbled and polished and that green one really sings out amongst the others. It always astounds me that there is so much geological history crammed into each tiny whole. x

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  4. Thank you YP.

    Robert, there's often a treasure at our metaphorical feet but we just have to keep moving (or *think* we do) so miss it.

    Elizabeth, that's a nice way of putting it. Unfortunately I don't have a tumbler so I will just enjoy them as they are and spit on them occasionally... ha.

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  5. Lewis ia a wondrous place for beautiful stones too. I used to polish them until I had no idea what to do with them all. Occasionally I find large stones which look exceptional when wet and I discoverd that if I paint them with polyurethane varnish I get the same effect - permanently.

    WV = frump. I think Google's trying to tell me something.

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  6. Ooo, another reason to visit your corner of the world one day...

    And polyurethane - that's a great idea! Thanks Geeb.

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  7. Elizabeth16.8.10

    I was just going to suggest shellac, but I see GB beat me to it. x

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