Licking rocks?

Arch at Panther Beach made of sandstone.

During the MS 141 Geologic Oceanography field trip on monday October the 10th, I learned something new about a place I have been visiting for years.  Panther Beach is about 10 miles north of Santa Cruz and a diverse, dynamic beach to visit.  With a huge sandstone arch and places to boulder and rock climb it has much to offer and changes with the seasons as the sand is removed during winter and deposited back during summer.  Little did I know, but a rock outcrop I had walked by for years was composed of mud and many, many diatoms, tiny algae phytoplankton which are made of silica and leave behind their skeleton when they pass away.  If you were to lick a fresh portion of this rock it seems like the rock is sticky, this is because of the many tubes of the diatom skeletons creating suction on your tongue!!!  The study of rocks definitely rocks!

Mudstone made of diatoms and of course mud.

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This entry was posted in Oh, the Places We Go!, Research: Fresh from the Field, Scott Gabara and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Licking rocks?

  1. Angie says:

    So, did you lick the rock?

  2. Ivano says:

    Licking rocks is my fav!
    BTW it is spelled ‘Phytoplankton’ :)

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