Science Friday: Geodes

DSC_0046My dad is a rock hound. Some of my earliest memories are of nature walks in the Uintah Mountains. Dad has brought home rocks for his “rock garden” for years. It comes as no surprise that he wants to share his love of rocks with his grandchildren!

I don’t remember the occasion for which he gifted our boys these geodes, but we have been delinquent in slicing them open and checking out the awesome insides until this week!

My wonderful hubs got out his dremel and a small hand grinder. Because we didn’t have enough protective eyewear for all of the kids, cousins, and neighbor friends, we made them stand back and watch from afar. This didn’t seem to dampen their excitement one bit!

A geode is a geological anomaly that has sometimes perplexed scientists as there is not ONE known way that geodes form. Additionally, geodes can be made up of sedimentary rock, igneous rock, or both! They are formed through a process of chemical precipitation whereby dissolved silicates and/or carbonates are deposited below the surface of a gas or lava bubble (in the case of igneous rock), or in a hollow chamber of sedimentary rock. The chamber fills with deposits from groundwater or hydrothermal solutions over time, allowing the crystals to form.

The bedrock containing these geodes eventually weathers and breaks down through erosion or other chemical decomposers and the geodes nodules are left for us to find! (That is obviously a VERY cursory description of the entire process, but you can read more about geodes and their formation and discovery HERE.)

After Perry cut the geodes open, the boys wanted to share their treasure with everyone. Perry took a hammer and chisel and broke the first geode into smaller pieces. Plus, there was another tiny geode on the back side of one part of the larger geode that he unattached and cut open individually.

The excited eyes and exclamations of surprise at seeing the crystals and banded interior of the geodes was absolutely grand! Leave it to children to make every experience 10 times better.

Thanks, Umpa for sharing your love of geology with us and our boys! Here’s to continuing the rock hunt all over the American West for years to come (with a leave it where it lays, policy for the most part, of course)!

I truly hope you have a wonderful Friday and a fabulous weekend all around! Go out there and create your own Science Friday!

XX, Megan

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