The MacIntosh Brook is one of the stopping places along the Cabot Trail in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park in Nova Scotia, Canada. This clear mountain stream flows rapidly via waterfalls and over stones of many colours as it passes through dense old-growth hardwood forest. The water source is high up in the hills at about 430 metres. It starts in Ordovician-Carboniferous granitic plutons, then passes over Ordovician-Silurian meta-igneous rocks (both rock formations belong to the Aspy Terrane). Finally, in the lower reaches it flows over red Horton Group sand stones and conglomerates from the early Carboniferous Period. The torrents of winter storms and spring snow melt bring rocks of all these types tumbling down the ravines to the stream bed where they ‘colour’ the water and create a rapidly transitioning series of riffles, ripples, and water reflections – a kaleidoscope of impressions.
Here are some more pictures of the boulders at the eastern end of Charmouth Beach in Dorset, England, all exhibiting natural fracture patterns in sedimentary rock belonging to the Jurassic Charmouth Mudstone Formation. I’m not sure which particular layer they come from but it could be the Black Ven Marl Member. Perhaps someone can help me out with the identification? These images show the boulders at the foot of the cliff adjacent to the landslip or mud slide. In contrast to the dark boulders at the water’s edge shown in the previous post, these are dry and therefore lighter in colour.
I wonder if these boulders could have been the inspiration for an artwork in the sculpture park in Tout Quarry on the Isle of Portland featured in an earlier post.
The shoreline at Charmouth looked particularly dramatic on this April visit as storm clouds periodically burst and blue skies were only intermittent. Charmouth Beach lies on the World Heritage Jurassic Coast in Dorset, England. The rocks are mainly Jurassic Period Charmouth Mudstone Formation. The character of the cliffs changes as you walk from west to east because the sedimentary rock layers gently slope and disappear beneath the beach surface level while new rock strata are freshly revealed at eye level. The predominance of softer rocks has led to a great deal of cliff slippage, and this means that the chronological sequence of the layers is frequently obscured by fallen debris; it makes it difficult to distinguish which rocks are which. The numerous rockfalls regularly contribute to the boulders on the beach and in this post I feature some boulders that exhibit some interesting fracture patterns. Of course these are not the only rock type on the beach, and I will post some more photographs of other patterns and textures in boulders and in the cliff face on the eastern half of Charmouth Beach in due course.
Little Tor cliff at the east end of Oxwich Bay in Gower, South Wales, is made of Carboniferous Limestone of the Hunts Bay Oolite Sub Group. In common with beach outcrops of the same type of rock at Broughton on the north Gower coast, and Tenby that lies further west in Pembrokeshire, the surface is marked on a small scale with scalloped depressions and branching runnels that are the result of acid erosion and sand abrasion, giving rise to interesting textures and patterns.
The small sinuous etchings are called microrills (Ford and Williams 2007). They are typically 1 mm wide, round bottomed dissolution channels that are found close together. The pattern is reminiscent of rain running down a window pane. On gentle rock slopes they have curving paths and divide and rejoin in a network-like pattern. On steeper gradients the channels are straighter. Some microrills are made by slightly acidic water flowing down the rock surface but in other instances they are caused by the “water moving upwards, drawn by capillary tension exerted at an evaporating front. Capillary flow is believed to explain much of their characteristic sinuosity”.
Ford, D. and Williams, P. (2007) Karst Hydrogeology and Geomorphology. John Wiley & Sons, Chichester, England. Revised Edition, p324. ISBN 978-0-470-84997-2.