OSU Geotour Supplemental III: Marble Halls and Sandy Pillars


We’re moving right along with our campus geotour – it’s amazing geology students ever get any class time in, considering how much there is to distract a person on the way to class, and we’ve only just got started.

Stop 9. Milne Hall

So here’s a place with lovely marble accents.

A quite nice marble in Milne Hall. Marble halls make me feel I'm somewhere posh, even when it's a college campus. It makes me think of Enya and ancient seas.

A quite nice marble in Milne Hall. Marble halls make me feel I’m somewhere posh, even when it’s a college campus. It makes me think of Enya and ancient seas.

Marble staircase in Milne Hall. Note how that marble accent makes even a plain white wall look rather swish.

Marble staircase in Milne Hall. Note how that marble accent makes even a plain white wall look rather swish.

It's a campus. There's a big white refrigerator off to the left (out of the picture frame) that's about as utilitarian as it gets. But damn, you look at that, and you can imagine grandly descending it dressed in your super-swank evening clothes, eh? That, my friends, is the power of some appropriately-placed geology.

It’s a campus. There’s a big white refrigerator off to the left (out of the picture frame) that’s about as utilitarian as it gets. But damn, you look at that, and you can imagine grandly descending it dressed in your super-swank evening clothes, eh? That, my friends, is the power of some appropriately-placed geology.

This is the kind of marble we think of when someone says “marble.” But there’s quite another kind of marble in the other foyer.

Look at the folds in this stuff! It's been through lots, obviously. As Lockwood described it, it's been "squarshed."

Look at the folds in this stuff! It’s been through lots, obviously. As Lockwood described it, it’s been “squarshed.”

This stuff looks like it got between two continents trying to occupy the same map coordinates. I do believe this may be the case, but I have no idea where it's originally from, so I can't read up on its history.

This stuff looks like it got between two continents trying to occupy the same map coordinates. I do believe this may be the case, but I have no idea where it’s originally from, so I can’t read up on its history.

I felt like I was in a box of squashed zebras in that foyer, actually. But it was intriguing.

Stop 10: Strand Agricultural Hall

So here’s where I have to get a bit creative. This is cross-bedded sandstone, and it is awesome, but its awesomeness did not photograph so well. That’s what I get for trying to shoot subtle features in very dim light. I’m screaming for joy that my camera managed the feat at all.

Sandstone columns. These massive blocks look rather plain and featureless from a distance, but get close with a geologist's eye and they pop.

Sandstone columns. These massive blocks look rather plain and featureless from a distance, but get close with a geologist’s eye and they pop.

Sandstone pillar with Lockwood's hand smack on a fine example of cross-bedding.

Sandstone pillar with Lockwood’s hand smack on a fine example of cross-bedding.

Here I've changed the tone to sepia and done all sorts of shenanigans with the contrast, etc. You might be able to see the cross-bedding better.

Here I’ve changed the tone to sepia and done all sorts of shenanigans with the contrast, etc. You might be able to see the cross-bedding better.

Yay three dimensions! You can walk all round the columns and see how the cross-bedding looks from various angles, rather than being restricted to a two-dimensional facade.

Yay three dimensions! You can walk all round the columns and see how the cross-bedding looks from various angles, rather than being restricted to a two-dimensional facade.

 

Shenanigans again. Even if you have only indifferent success distinguishing features in these sepia-toned alterations, you have to admit it still looks kinda neat.

Shenanigans again. Even if you have only indifferent success distinguishing features in these sepia-toned alterations, you have to admit it still looks kinda neat.

What's really neat about this cross-cutting stuff is that you can tell which way was up when the sand was emplaced. And you can use that to tell if the builders flipped things on their tops. On the left side, the blocks are right-side up; on the other side, they're upside-down. Of course, I didn't get any pictures of the right side, because I got distracted by a cryptopod, who shall be posted very soon.

What’s really neat about this cross-cutting stuff is that you can tell which way was up when the sand was emplaced. And you can use that to tell if the builders flipped things on their tops. On the left side, the blocks at eye-level are right-side up; on the other side, they’re upside-down. Of course, I didn’t get any pictures of the right side, because I got distracted by a cryptopod, who shall be posted very soon.

And, of course, shenanigans. I love modern photo-editing software. I can do bizarre shit in about 10 seconds.

And, of course, shenanigans. I love modern photo-editing software. I can do bizarre shit in about 10 seconds.

By the end of a very short visit to this locale, I was discerning cross-cutting relationships like a pro – well, at least an apprentice. Easy-peasy, and awesome! I don’t know if it’ll be at all easy doing it from photos, but if anybody wants to download things to mark up, they are more than welcome to play round with it.

Next, we’ll be on to the Memorial Union, where we’ll be subjected to one of the worst jokes ever that still somehow ends up being funny…

Back to Phase II or Ahead to Phase IV

Comments

  1. Tsu Dho Nimh says

    Nice marble stairway – would be great for a fashion shoot.

    Processing tip: Use graphics editing software and change the image to the mode called grayscale to make details clearer. That and the “unsharp mask” filter might help.

  2. lockwooddewitt says

    Man, those photos at Strand really emphasize how amazingly good the human eye is at what it does- even these tired old specimens. The cross-bedding is so obvious in person, but so subtle in the photos, even the processed versions.

  3. TriffidPruner says

    OK, all this looking at building-stone reminds of something I saw last spring, and swear to gawd, when I saw it I thought about ETEV but never quite got around to sending it. It’s some agate(?) inclusions in the columns of a church in Rouen, France. Here’s a picture. Lots of the columns in this building (Eglise St. Ouen) had this stuff and they kinda lined it up so the fist-sized raisins are dotted along at approximately the same level down the aisle. The builders clearly thought, can’t fix it, let’s feature it.

  4. cope says

    I’m a bit surprised Lockwood didn’t look around for a source of water to splash on the cross-bedded sandstone columns. It’s an old field geologist’s trick to bring out contrast in an outcrop. Of course, you might have run afoul of campus security if they saw you wetting down the columns with an unknown liquid.