Surrounded by Rocks: An Exploration Series, Chapter 8

Calling all rockhounds…Here’s Nightjar with the exciting next chapter in her series.

Chapter 8 – West Hill: Phyllite rocks!

It’s not only the vegetation that is different here, the rocks are very different too. We left sedimentary rocks behind and we are now in the domain of metamorphic rocks. Mostly phyllites. Phyllite is a metamorphic rock originating from shale sediments, it’s soft and highly foliated, easy to split into sheets, and it smells of clay. The most wonderful characteristics? The colours and the sheen! You can’t mistake that sheen for anything else. Phyllites here are really pretty.

©Nightjar, all rights reserved

©Nightjar, all rights reserved

©Nightjar, all rights reserved

©Nightjar, all rights reserved

©Nightjar, all rights reserved

©Nightjar, all rights reserved

These rocks are much older than the Jurassic limestones of the East Hill, dating from the Proterozoic. We won’t find fossils here, but there’s more than just phyllites. Next we will be searching for quartz!

Thanks, Nightjar.


  1. rq says

    I mean, these colours are stunning, but now you’ve got me waiting for the quartz. Nothing pulls at my heartstrings more. Not even apatite. Except maybe mica…

  2. Ice Swimmer says

    The second-to-last is my favourite. The rock on the right is like a painting of sunset on a rocky sea coast.

    The bluish-gray colour is reminiscent of sharpening stones.

  3. avalus says

    Marvellous colours, Phyllite is always nice! I am defenetly looking forward for the quarzes, too.
    (Aside: Just last week, I discussed the basics of glass and mineral colouration by metal ions in the crystal lattice with my students. It was nice to see them (well, some of them) suddenly being interested in some geology :))

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