Wednesday, July 10, 2024

What Remains

The Appalachian mountains surrounding my house are among the oldest on earth, and were once taller than the Himalayas. 

Now these mountains are mostly worn down under many millions of years of rain and ice, fire and vegetation, their degraded remains producing winter wheat and summer corn, as well as vast quantities of soybeans.

But not everything is worn down.

The Catoctin Greenstone under my house and across the tops of the surrounding forested mountains is the hard igneous stone that did not erode.

Greenstone was originally black basalt which, over time and with heat and pressure, has been invaded by other minerals such as chlorite and epidote which has colored the hard stone and turned it shades of grey and dark green

Catoctin Greenstone — a type of meta-basalt, green schist, or prasinite — was laid down about 570 million years ago, making the rocks at my feet older than vascular plants or bones, older than the rings of Saturn, and older than the North Star.

Greenstone is the tough stuff that remains.

No comments: