From water to rock again, and this time foreign rock which is how Xenolith translates.
I must admit, when I first thought of using xenolith for my X post, I was thinking of those strange boulders that are found miles away from where any rock like them forms part of the landscape. Many of those have been moved by ice, as in glaciers, but they are properly termed erratics. They are great natural phenomena (that being my A to Z theme this year) and sometimes lead to artificial phenomena like stone circles and piles. I’m particularly fond of this one, in Cornwall, which I stopped and drew a picture of many years ago, now. I think my friend Helen bought it.
Xenoliths are fragments of rock that become embedded in other rocks – usually through rock formation under the Earth’s crust (igneous rocks). They can also be embedded in sedimentary rocks, chunks covered by decomposing animal skeletons and laid down over the millennia to become limestones and the like. The most common xenoliths are in granites. There is a lovely grey granite – Shap granite (in the header picture) – with pink rock captured in it that is quarried in the Lake District. I think the pink bits are actually autoliths, in that they are made from the same material as the surrounding rock, but crystallised faster.
This picture is of xenoliths; the embedded rock is older than the surrounding rock.
Take a look at the monuments around you. There might be interesting things in the stone, apart from graffiti. The photo above is of xenoliths in the stone of monument buildings in Hull (courtesy of East Yorkshire RIGS Group). And if you ever visit the Albert Hall in London, cross the road to the Albert Memorial and look at the paving around the base of the memorial – it is stuffed with fossils and xenoliths!
19 thoughts on “Xenoliths”
I studied geology very briefly years ago but don’t remember this. And I think I recognise Lanyon Quoit in your picture!
Thank you so much! I couldn’t remember its name and didn’t have time to look it up!
Very interesting! thanks for sharing! I love all the new blogs that I’ve found during this A-to-Z. I’ll never get caught up on my reading 😉
I know just what you mean, Shawn – thanks for visiting and remember, there’s always the Road Trip to take at your leisure through the year!
Love that stuff! Sedimentary rock can have some amazing stuff…let me see if I can post of picture of some cool conglomerates from Death Valley…don’t think I can put that into the comments.
No, I don’t think you can… but you could put it on the Facebook feed… http://facebook.com/jemima.pett (I think)
Thanks for the rock pics 😀
I don’t think I’m ever again going to pass a monument without making a closer inspection. This was fascinating. Clearly I’m going to have to go back and read more of your posts once the challenge winds down.
You’ll be very welcome, Kern!
I love your posts – I’m learning so much!
Just reciprocating your educational value 😀
That is interesting. I bet my brother would know all about this. He studied geography in college.
~Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
Member of C. Lee’s Muffin Commando Squad
Patricia Lynne, Indie Author
He’d probably improve them, too!
That’s oddly interesting.
lol… glad you think so… I detect a note of desperation in there myself!
Hey, it’s X. And I didn’t actually expect to find it interesting, so there’s that.
A great X word! X is always the toughest. 🙂
Sure is, Yvonne!
Hi Jemima – came across Xenoliths on Friday … and I posted about Lanyon Quoit on my N for Neolithics post … as it’s been part of our lives as my mother’s family comes from St Ives/Penzance …
The earth and its creation with all the rocks etc is incredible .. I love finding out more .. cheers Hilary
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