Saturday, December 27, 2008

CRYSTAL LANDSCAPE, ICE AND WATER


I took the photo of ice on the lake yesterday during a brief moment of brightness. It reminded me of the piece of quartz crystal I picked up at a rock and gem show in Calgary years ago. I love the way the wind and waves had raised monoliths of ice in all directions, just like the bed of crystals.

In addition to collecting river stones with natural holes in them, I also have a modest crystal collection. I’m particularly interested in “enhydrous” crystals – crystals with liquid bubbles in them. The piece of amethyst in the photos below is my first. I didn’t know about enhydros at the time, and was holding it crystal up to the light, turning it and admiring all its inner patterns when I saw the bubble move! That was probably one of the most startling experiences I ever had, and gave me a whole other area of interest to pursue! The bubble in this crystal is in a channel about ¼ inch long. In this photo the channel would be vertical. Some crystals I have contain bubbles and channels that are almost an inch long, and full of twists and turns deep into the crystal interior – truly amazing.

Some estimates put enhydro crystal formation at as much as 220-400 million years ago. The outer edges of the quartz form faster than the inner area, creating troughs that can trap water and other material. As the inner troughs cooled, and were covered by yet more layers of crystal growth, the trapped liquid would cool and contract, forming these delightful air bubbles within the crystal. In recent years, enhydro crystals have become quite sought after and pricey. I’m glad I got a few back in the 80s before the prices jumped into the crazy range.



11 comments:

Sylvia K said...

Beautiful and fascinating! You always have such great and intersting posts! Sure am glad we've gotten to be "web friends"! Stay warm!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Great post, Deb. I don't know much about crystal--other than it's gorgeous. BUT--I sure do like seeing the ice on the lake. It definitely does look like crystal. Wow! Beautiful!!!
Hugs,
Betsy

Lin said...

interesting, learned something new. crystals are fascinating....

fourwindshaiga said...

It does! I have a quartz crystal just like that on the bookcase behind me. Sure didn't know that ice would take on that shape. But then, frost does, doesn't it?

Poetikat said...

Cool!--in every sense of the word.

The first photo reminds me of the Kenneth Branagh depiction of Ernest Shackleton's exploration of the Antarctic.

Kat

Robert V. Sobczak said...

Fascinating. I did not know that. Talk about ancient water, and they are drops sequestered out of the water cycle ... at least for the time being.

Kallen305 said...

Very cool photos and tidbits of info that I didn't know.

Avid Reader said...

Amazing... another great post . Rocks and formations have always fascinated me, but I don't know much about them.

Raven said...

Way cool! I'm a rock junky but I never heard of enhydrous crystals. Too cool... and something to add to my wish list.

Squirrel said...

beautiful.

mom/caryn said...

This is a WOW! I'm fascinated with crystals, although I did NOT have the wisdom and foresight that you did in purchasing some before the prices took a rocket to the moon.

I was completely unaware that bubbles formed in some of them. Very interesting read!