Until we got to Texas, I knew almost nothing about geology. Then the setting changed and there were different types of rocks than where I am from. I started collecting rocks and I got more and more interested. Besides that, there is a really cool place called Mama’s Minerals in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This store is really big and they have tons of different rocks and fossils that were super amazing! This blog post is about the geology of some of the rocks and rock formations that I saw in the National Parks and were interesting because of the way they looked and felt.
Carlsbad Caverns (NM):
Types of Rock – Calcite, gypsum, and limestone.
Appearance – The stalagmites and the stalactites would look a lot alike if they both where on the ceiling or both on the ground because they are both made from the same thing. The water from rain seeps through the ground and when it reaches the cave the water has lots of minerals. It takes a long time to make stalactites because the time between the water drips varies.
Formation – 250 million years ago this area used to be under an inland sea. Then the ocean shrunk and the cave was carved out by sulfuric acid.
Petrified Forest (AZ):
Types of Rock – Petrified wood.
Appearance – They come in all colours like orange, pink, brown, purple, black grey, and more. The texture can be very different, some are smooth and some are rough. The rock logs are very heavy.
Formation – The petrified wood was made from a forest millions of years ago. The trees fell and were dammed up in water that had lots of silica. The silica replaced the wood and iron, carbon, and manganese made most of the colourful patterns.
Grand Canyon (AZ):
Types of Rock – Sedimentary rock (made of loose rock, sand, and clay).
Appearance – The rocks faces in the Grand Canyon had stripes of colour. The different colours were made by different minerals, like the colour green was Trilobite poop.
Formation- The Colorado River carved out all of the weak rocks, so the strong rocks were left standing as cliffs and flat pillars. The Grand Canyon is a high desert, so it is easy to erode using wind and water.
Types of Rock – Mostly granite.
Appearance – Some of the cliffs had dark streaks because of the water from the rain. The rocks were spotted with black, white, grey, and shiny specks.
Formation – The granite was formed underground when molten minerals pushed up to the surface. Then, glaciers formed the valley because when the ice moved it grinded the rocks to the shape they are now.
Doing this was fun because I got to look back and see what I didn’t look at before.