Monday, January 7, 2013

From my collection (I: Etna scoria)

One of the things I've been putting off doing is cataloging my rock collection before it gets too big and before I forget the details about any of my samples. I'm trying to get into the habit of blogging more often, so I thought I'd combine the two and blog about my collection.

The first sample I'm sharing is one I collected in Sicily in 2005. I was on a day-trip to Sicily from Malta, and one of the stops was at the Rifugio Sapienza on Mount Etna. The map below shows the parking area and ammenities at the Rifugio, with the Silvestri craters running north-south (north is the top) just to the right of center). Click on the link below the map to go to Google Maps where you can zoom out and see exactly where on Mount Etna this is.

Despite being in a national park, we were told to take as much rock as we wanted because they had lots. Still, I was conservative and only brought back what would fit in my pocket.

This scoria (an igneous) is from the Silvestri Craters which formed in 2002. As you can see, there is a change in the size of the holes in the sample. These holes, or vesicles, are from gas bubbles that were trapped in the cooling lava.

 There are a couple of great photos of the 2002 eruption taken from the International space station here and here.  Below are some of my photos of Mount Etna and the Silvestri Craters. I was taken aback by just how much it dominates the landscape of southeast Sicily.

My first view of Mount Etna, approaching from the southeast coast of Sicily

The view from the Greek Theatre at Taormina

People on the horizon for scale.

That's a chain link fence on the bottom right

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