As you may know I love to discover new things. Not for me the passing fads of fashion or the latest trends. I love anything historical or geological. I love books and nothing beats discovering a new author to read. And by a new author again I don’t mean the latest, but a writer who is new to me. I discovered such joy when I read my first Thomas Hardy novel.
I love to discover animals that are again new to me; particularly birds and so living in America has been eye opening for me in that sense. So many new birds to discover. So many new animals and wild plants. I love it. And then last week I discovered concretions.
Yep, concretions. What the hell are concretions you may ask? I had never heard of them either, how I mourn not staying on at school and taking that Geology A Level. Basically they are geological pearls of the earth, formed in much the same way as real pearls form in oysters but in sedimentary rocks such as shale instead. Small organic particles such as leaves or animal corpses sank to the bottom of oceans millions of years ago and became locked in a different harder mineral layer to the surrounding sediments. As the softer shale is weathered away after millions of years they are exposed for us to find. For a lot more info, check out here on Wikipedia. It will explain them far better than I can.
And so last week my Raven and I visited Highbanks Metro Park in Columbus Ohio USA, ostensibly for a lovely walk and to discover wildlife but that is for another article. We noticed a display in the nature center about the concretions and about how the partial fossil of a long extinct fish had been discovered in one at the park. And so off we went in search of some. Only a short walk later and we had descended to the river. Beautiful late spring flowers such as; Violets, Trillium, Wild Geraniums and Phlox were everywhere. The trees are just starting to push out their new foliage. A bit late this year because of the long cold winter. Woodpeckers tapped on tree trunks and chipmunks darted around in the undergrowth. Perfect. The woods were full of birdsong.
The river is a tributary of the Olentangy River and is fairly small although it has cut deep into the shale layers that abound in this area. The shale is paper thin in places. It breaks and crackles underfoot as you walk the river bank. The river runs over beds of shale almost resembling slate pavements and is shallow. And here are the concretions. They lay about haphazardly in the stream bed like large stone beach balls. Some are perfectly round. Some are broken and others have only just started to protrude from the shale layers at the stream side and they are beautiful. I wished I had a hammer but it would need to be large. These guys are big. But what wonders they must hold. I dream of unknown species of prehistoric creatures within but for now I just admire their great antiquity and beauty. Enjoy the pictures with me.