Category Archives: Geology
I’m studying Casco Bay’s geological history. Willard Beach is my latest exploration.
Willard beach, South Portland reveals two types of bedrock and the forces that created them. I sit, observe and listen. The spine like protrusions and scattered eroded pieces reveal much without a single sound or the slightest of movement.
Enjoy the slideshow created from photos I snapped at Willard Beach toward Fort Preble. Clear your mind and connect with what you see. The images are more than just a bunch of rock. There are stories within stories throughout all time. I’m glad to be a part of the history of this space.
My camp resides in a postage stamp sized grassy environment. These grasses cover much of the island with a density that makes exploring without adequate protective clothing impossible. The tree population is 90% deciduous scattered about in small stands. There are no trails here. I’m glad as there are few islands in the bay devoid of human intrusion.
Reminder: Click on Any photo for full-screen.
There is a Brown ail Moth Caterpillar near the tent. The are limited to the coast of Maine and Cape Cod at this time but once covered much of New England. This moth is oh so not nice as its larva eats voraciously, defoliating trees and shrubs and the caterpillar has poisonous microscopic hairs. Contact with these hairs cause a poison ivy type rash that may last from a few days to several weeks. It can become a full-blown dangerous allergic reaction in some people. Their nexts are built at the ends of branches rather than in the croch like gypsy moth. Click for source and more information.
The sky is changing from mostly clear to cloudy. These clouds are Altocumulus perlucidus which are a mid-level cloud forming at heights from 1.2 to 4.5 miles above sea level. Height is determined by the severity of atmospheric disturbance. They are formed by the accumulation of moisture and air that is forced high enough for the clouds to form. The heating of the ocean provide the moisture in this case and the upward movement of air is most likely due to convection. The perlucidus version of altocumulous clouds indicate a change in weather within six to eight hours. VHF does call for deteriorating weather and rain in the evening. Click on any of following for resource and info. Clouds online Names of Clouds WeatherOnline
I head over to my dry clothing and gear, stuff it in a bag once more, carry it back to camp and put each item in its place which is mostly in the cockpit, sealed under my dive flag “cover.” Camera in hand I walk to what’s left of my sandless beach to capture a few more scenes and plants before hiking up over the cliffs toward the south as far as possible to grab a few more photos. This shouldn’t take long as the cliff exposure is a very short distance before hitting trees, shrubs and brush. The tide is rising as well which will cut this portion off if I wait much longer. I’ll take my nap later.
Zoomed in on buoy from cliff. It’s position and movement indicates current and speed.
Enjoy the Slide show.
A friend forwarded my post Fairwell And Discovery to a geologist friend of hers. If you wish a refresher or haven’t read the post, click on the blue “Fairwell And Discovery” words above and scroll down toward the end of the post to read the geologist opinion there.
The reply of her geologist friend is as follows, “Interesting, the four circles in a row would suggest a biological origin as normaly formed metamorphic rocks would not show a pattern like that. The quart with it rusty iron appearance was created within a vein as the metamorphic rocks were being formed. While that’s not unusual, the circles of manganese oxide are.
I’ll insert just one photo of the rocks here and leave the rest for you to read in previous post.
My extended stay on Jewell Island due to weather is over. First, I will head over to the group from Rippleeffect, the ones who created the post “Fearfull” as they were departing from Cocktail Cove in two trips via a boat from Cow Island, where the camp is located. I wish to say goodbye to Scott. He truly impressed me. In fact, tears welled up in my eyes during one of our conversations. The catalyst for such a depth of emotion came form how remarkable this young man is and will become. His passion and love is for young people. His capacity for growth is immense and everything that he learns will leave its mark upon the hearts of the kids he works with.
The boat now loaded with kayaks is ready to depart. The fairwell between Scott and myself comes in the form of an endearing hug. I’m proud of you, Scott. He climbs into the boat for his ride back. I think about him and the kids while exploring the lowtide exposure of the bar between Jewell Island and Little Jewell.
The pilings for a dock possibly built by was most likely built by Henry Donnell in 1945. He is the first documented resident for Jewell Island. Henry ran a Cod fishing operation which was set up in Cocktail Cove, Long Cove in Henry’s time. [A name I prefer.] This may have have been where Henry’s dingy would end the day of fishing, once the off loading was complete along a larger wharf connected to Little Jewell Island, named Harbor island as the time. This is most likely where the fish were processed as there were two fish houses located on the Island. The only other building became a fortified home at the top of the hill on Jewell Island where the two pilings are located. (These pilings havce been converted cement with iron rings. (built for the occupation during the period of the U.S. Navy’s period on the island.) I should have photographed this area as there is much more to add as to the work that went on this far up the cove. I’ll do so when I go back. However, my first trip will be a snatch and grab if I find at least one of two rocks.
I found them during my exploration of the exposed bar approximately halfway to the low tide water level. I’ve never seen anything like them and photographed these extensively.
This finding is part of my research time and was the inquiry I sent to the scientist in the U.K.. He did not reply to my questions. However, the retired geologist who just moved here from Alaska gave me some insight. I used the information provided to do further study, which was extensive and I’ll spare you the pain from the huge amount of information gathered.
This is the reply I received, “The rock in your pictures is from what is called the Casco Bay Group—metamorphic rocks that are Ordovician around 445 to 475 million years old. The rusty colored tannish rock is quartz that filled a crack formed in the gray, thinly layered metamorphic rocks. There must be some pyrite (iron sulfide) in the quartz because of the rustiness of the quartz, but the pyrite is probably only in tiny crystals and not easy to see.
I’ve never seen anything quite like the round black things. The big question is whether they are geologic or biologic. If geologic, the color suggests manganese oxide. If they are of geologic origin, the black things would be cross sections through spheres. But what mineral forms relatively large spheroids like this in small quartz veins? I can’t think of any. By default, I have to lean toward a biological origin, say the broken off holdfast of a marine organism.
If you ever go back to this place, grab a sample and we can figure out the mystery.”
My studies have brought me to the conclusion is that the manganese oxide was formed by the bacteria Leptothrix discophora, which is a filement in form and lives in aquatic environments. It is able to oxidize maganese. Whether the patterns on these rocks were from by the bacteria or some other creature is not definative.
Questions regarding the mining that went on in thise area ahsould be brought into the equation as well. One of the bi-products produced was maganese oxide. However, I have no idea as to how these patterns would form and do so on the mineral make up and size of the rocks. I chose to photograph the rocks as I like to leave nature where it is, nor did I wish to add to the weigh and space of Abbie B. So,if I do find them, they will be returned.
I spent a good deal of time exploring the stone steps and so did many of my readers. For this reason, I am re-posting the photo before continuing my journey. It will all fit together.
[Those of you who have not read yesterday’s post will find it helpful with this post. Click to read.]
The colorful stones are part of what is referred to as The Casco Bay Group. Specifically, The Jewell Formation with the description as being Rusty and non-rusty weathering mica-rich schist and phyllite of the Ordovician period some 445-475 million years ago. Source: https://www1.maine.gov/dacf/mgs/pubs/online/bedrock/85-87.pdf
The Ordovician period was a busy time for geological events. I’ll still to the “rocks” here. The source article states the following, “Partial closing of Iapetus Ocean brings about collision of island arc of western New Hampshire with North America resulting in the Taconic Orogeny. Collision of Casco Bay island arc with AvaIonia results in deformation of rocks of Casco Bay Group. Deposition of formations of the Casco Bay Group; volcanism associated with ocean 485 lithosphere builds island arc.”
What I’m most interested in is the phyllite as it is the chief component of the rock steps and of the southwestern portion of Jewell Island. “Phyllite is between slate and schist in the spectrum of metamorphic rocks. Phyllite has flat or crinkled cleavage faces and shiny colors, and schist has intricately wavy cleavage and glittering colors.” Phyllite generally is in the pelitic series—rocks that are derived from clay sediments—but sometimes other rock types can take on the characteristics of phyllite too. That is, phyllite is a textural rock type, not a compositional one. The sheen of phyllite is from microscopic grains of mica, graphite, chlorite and similar minerals that form under moderate pressure.” Source: http://geology.about.com/od/more_metrocks/ig/phyllite.-CN2/
… I turn toward the sea and find it as magnetic to my senses as it has been since we first met. I am greeted with kaleidoscopic variables every time I visit, with each glance or blink of the eye. This space, where my feet are planted is as ever changing and enchanting as the previous moment. However, I feel compelled to let it be for now and take advantage of the low tide. I wish to investigate the features of the southwest end of Jewell Island.
My feet sink into finely ground stones with each step, adding a personal contribution toward geological history. The high bank has a distinct rusty colored belt. This feature adds pyritiferous shale to the phyllite picture. Pyrite is all sparkles and fun to look at. But when these crystals are exposed to the elements, they disintegrate.
“Metamorphism can cause the pyrites to grow as quite large crystals which are hard and shiny when the slate is freshly split. But beware! Pyrites are notoriously unstable when exposed to air and rain and will soon rot away to a rusty stain, leaving a hole. Some pyritic slates will rot away completely.
This “rotting away” is clearly demonstrated at the bank by the stone steps.
There is significant erosion due to the oxidation of pyrite as well as the sedimentary nature of phyllite.
The rain that dissipated to a mist no longer exists. I’m up and out to see the new world. Glad to be outside of my boring tent. That’s right boring. Don’t get me wrong. I love my tent. We’ve been together a very long time. I would never betray it!
My tent is roomy but always arranged in the same way. Every piece of gear and stuff has its place. That’s my grove. My organization. It makes for easy living and efficiency in packing and unpacking.
However, the decor is no different. It never changes. My tent is always the same size, shape and color, both inside and out. The light of the sun and moon are the only variables that create some variation . However, the degree their influence is minute.
I stretch and then walk down beautiful steps made of island rock and stone. I want to stand on the naked shore, open and exposed, as the tidal forces have pushed the sea elsewhere. And like so many times in other journeys, I must grasp this moment. I want to see it all as if in a bubble, memorizing every detail so as not to forget. I smell the air and look out over the sea. I feel the air, moist against my skin. And then, I stop. Still as a statue. What was that behind me? I turn and face the steps.
Someone had a vision, an idea for preserving this place.
Others understood and gathered round.
I see furrowed foreheads weighted with concern,
For the concert between an island and the sea.
Someone drew up a plan.
After a short time,
The many agree to the final draft
Of what was only a thought.
The work begins.
A group of volunteers,
Bearing no thought for pay or compensation.
All that matters is to repair the damage,
And preserve the future.
Stone and rock are chosen,
Sifted and Sorted.
Preparing the way.
From one to the next,
The stones are set in place.
I imagine grit and laughter.
Problems to solve and problems solved.
I certainly know this.
For now I stand,
On just one step.
Firm beneath my feet,
Enjoying the feel of this new world.