Chapter 0: Preface & Glossary

Educated as a geologist/geophysicist, I dealt with geophysics and hydrogeology on projects ranging from mathematical modeling in the laboratory to hand-on application in the field. On the job, along hiking trails, and in rural housing subdivisions in southern California, I have picked up a variety of rocks, some of which carry fascinating geological stories. I … Continue reading Chapter 0: Preface & Glossary


Chapter 1: A Silica World

Silicon dioxide is commonly known as silica, as in silica sand. In elemental form, silicon is the essential material for semi-conductors used in many technological and scientific applications. As an oxide, silica is the most important material used to make glass and solar panels. By weight, silicon is the third most abundant element (15%) in … Continue reading Chapter 1: A Silica World

Chapter 2: Carbonate Play

Chapter 2: CARBONATE PLAY Rising content of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere by our increasing consumption of fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas) is believed to have triggered or accelerate global warming. In addition to its greenhouse effect, high CO2 content (along with sulfur dioxide released from coal crude oil) can contribute to acid … Continue reading Chapter 2: Carbonate Play

Chapter 3: Hard Rock Show

Chapter 3: HARD ROCK SHOW In modes of occurrence, rocks are classified into three main types: igneous (solidification from magma in the Earth’s interior or on its surface), sedimentary (aggregation of grains disintegrated from pre-existing rocks and transported by water, glacier, or wind; or accumulation from chemical deposition and biologic debris on the Earth’s surface), … Continue reading Chapter 3: Hard Rock Show

Chapter 4: Soft Rock Talk

Chapter 4: SOFT-ROCK TALK Sediments originate in three different modes on the solid Earth’s surface: physical, chemical, and biological. ‘Physical or mechanical’ means transport and deposition of debris from disintegration of existing rocks, including those that have been chemically altered during their decomposition, for example, from feldspar to clay minerals. ‘Chemical’ connotes deposition of solutes … Continue reading Chapter 4: Soft Rock Talk

Chapter 5: Diversification

  Chapter 5: DIVERSIFICATION This diversification chapter can be alternatively titled ‘miscellaneous’. Some stones are paired or grouped into individual figures for contrast and comparison even though each could have been easily placed into one of the four preceding chapters. The floating ice photo was taken in Grand Canyon National Park. Although ice comes and … Continue reading Chapter 5: Diversification