Saturday, 19 April 2014

Q is for Quicksand, Quartz, Quay ...


Quicksand is an area of wet, moving sand unable to bear the weight of a man.  Quicksands are not extensive, often occur in estuaries, and are generally of temporary nature in the British Isles.
 
Morecambe Bay

A beach may have quicksands one year and not the next ... Morecambe Bay in North-west England is a notoriously dangerous bay ...


... its quicksand extends across the estuary, which can be crossed using an ancient and potentially lethal tidal crossing.


Believe it or not there is a royal appointed guide: The Queen’s Guide to the Sands: since the 16th century.
 
Abandoned car on the sands of
Morecambe Bay ... it's about
400m (1,300 ft) from the shore

Until the building of the railway in 1857, the cross sands way had been a major transport route in the area ... it is now a challenge walk for charity fundraisers.


However sadly the bay is known for its quicksands and fast moving tides (it is said that the tide can come in “as fast as a horse can run”): ten years ago 23 Chinese immigrant cockle pickers, run by gang-masters, drowned after being cut off by the tides.  An appalling and dreadful scenario.


Granite rocks at Land's End

Q is for Quartz – silicon is the most abundant element in rocks. 


Crystallised as quartz, it provides the material for sand grains, flints, and man-made glass and helps to build granite and other massive rocks.


Quartz sand grains
In rocks, it is mixed with other minerals, but can also appear as veins.


Quartz is a hard and durable material, resistant to chemical erosion and weathering.  Sand grains are fragments of older rocks that are worn down to granules in river beds, or on the seashore.



Rose quartz - not from the UK
Coloured varieties of quartz are valued as gems and include violet amethysts, dark red jasper, and the rare rose quartz ...

Clear Quartz Rock
Crystal Jug - c 1,000 AD
not from the UK


White quartz veins are a guide to gold in some regions, as in Wales ...



A translucent form of quartz with small crystals is chalcedony – a semi-precious stone ...



New Quay - a fishing village on
the west coast of Wales
A Quay – until the early 19th century, a fishing village would be a few thatched cottages surrounded by agricultural land, the natural harbour providing a safe mooring for fishing boats and a few small trading vessels.


As trading activity increased ... slate and coal in Wales, minerals and fish from Cornwall ... stone piers were constructed to enclose the harbour, giving greater protection to the ever larger vessels ...


That is Q for quivering, querulous quicksands, quickening quartz and quadripartite quays with their stone piers, promenades, fishing boats and small cottages ... now commercial centre – large or small ... from Aspects of British Coasts ... 


Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

44 comments:

Marcy said...

More Fascinating Facts about Britain. I love the beautiful Quartz! Someday hope to visit.

Maggie Winter said...

Oh loved that Hilary...I was brought up across Morecambe bay in a place called Pilling near Knott End, if you're familiar, my family still live there. I have played around those very quick sands many, many times, but we were taught at a very young age what to do and not do. Sadly many silly mistakes very made that day, leading to the deaths of those poor Chinese people, dreadful. Thanks ever so much, that was super. I also collect crystals. :)
Loving the A to Z Challenge Maggie@expatbrazil.
P.s. I also collect crystals. :)

Juliet Batten said...

I've always been scared of quicksands, but have never seen really serious ones. Now I know where they are to be found, and also about the many kinds of quartz. Thank you.

Manzanita said...

Q has always been a "toughfy" letter but you nailed it in that last descriptive sentence.
I've never been in a geographic area of quicksand but even the thought is a little spooky. I remember reading once of how to escape from quicksand. I thought, I'll remember that if I ever fall in. So far, I haven't. Ha
You've covered from the soft to the hard with quartz. Enjoy your weekend.

Patsy said...

Quite right! You've quietly qualified this letter's quintissential place in the A-Z queue and ... I'll stop there before I get stuck in the quicksand.

Jo said...

I never knew that about Morecambe Bay before, what a tragedy for the Chinese workers. It was often joked about by comedians, but I didn't realise it was so dangerous.

Never really thought about sand before either. To me it's just a nuisance when you are on the beach.

Informative as always thanks.

Natasha Duncan-Drake said...

I've never come across quicksands on beaches, thank heavens, but there were some very sticky patches down near Minehead.

Quartz is a beautiful crystal.
Tasha
Tasha's Thinkings - AtoZ (Vampires)
FB3X - AtoZ (Erotic Drabbles)

Bob Scotney said...

Great post again. Hilary. We take quartz for granted and many do no know of all its forms. I always admire the quartz crystals inside the shell of our fossil ammonite. (Good old Google has problems with ammonite!)

Sophie Duncan said...

I did end up covered in mud thanks to the quicksands around Minehead in Somerset, but thankfully it was not the worst of it, which, we found out later could be treacherous. I love quartz crystal in most of its forms and I have lumps of it around my house. British Coasts are beautiful, deadly and dramatic places. Thanks for sharing. :)
Sophie
Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles - A to Z Ghosts
Fantasy Boys XXX - A to Z Drabblerotic

Bish Denham said...

The thousand year old quartz jug is beautiful! It would be terrifying to be cause in quicksand.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That quicksand is a scary thing. So is the speed of the incoming tide. Lethal together.

Lisa said...

I love the photo of Lands End! We've talked about that before... Quicksand is always a scary thought to me. I wonder if it is portrayed accurately in films? The quartz you show here are beautiful. I have a natural quartz crystal in my kitchen window, supposedly it helps keep the "karma" in a room cleaned...

kaushikgovind said...

Had been (and still) terribly scared of quicksand :O
And love those quartz crystals :)
Cheers ~ Kaushik

rosaria williams said...

Wonderful post, full of useful and interesting facts most people have never concentrated on before.

mail4rosey said...

I didn't know quicksand could come and go like that, oy!

Well done w/the letter 'Q!' :)

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Quicksand can move up and back like that? Wow! I always had a picture (mostly from cartoons) that it was a swampy lagoon that you'd accidentally trip into. Scary stuff.

Mason Canyon said...

I didn't realize quicksand could be there one year and not the next, intriguing. Quartz is beautiful.

Matt Luedke said...

Liked this post, thanks for sharing! I especially like that there is a Queen's Guide to the Sands. BTW I heard an excellent Radiolab podcast recently about quicksand and the appearances it used to make in scary movie scenes-- but not so much anymore. If interested: http://www.radiolab.org/story/quicksand/

Sara said...

I am so far behind, but as usual, enjoyed your take on "Q." The quicksand part fascinates me. It must be terrifying. I can't believe it's actually a "challenge walk for charity fundraisers!" I added the exclamation mark...

You could do a whole post on The Queen's Guide to the Sands. I'd love to know more about how the sands are studies to know pathways that are safe and those that aren't. This seems important, given the quicksands shift.

I was also interested in knowing the history of the word "Quay." I've read in books, but couldn't really visualize. Your post helped me do this:~)

Happy Easter, Hilary:~)

L.G. Smith said...

Ah, I wondered what you'd come up with for Q. Quays and quartz, of course. Well done. :)

Susan Scott said...

I enjoyed this post thank you Hilary. We can find ourselves sinking in the quicksands of life or time .. I too love quartz and have them about the house. A geode is to me a lovely thing.
Garden of Eden Blog

Susan Scott said...

I enjoyed this post thank you Hilary. We can find ourselves sinking in the quicksands of life or time .. I too love quartz and have them about the house. A geode is to me a lovely thing.
Garden of Eden Blog

eclecticoddsnsods.com said...

You know i have always been petrified by quick sand, i think it must be one of the most awful ways to die and to think there is some in the UK and how fast it can move? I had no idea..now I am even more petrified LOL...sheesh, wonders what I will dream of tonight now!

Hello also from another a-z blogger, how are you getting on with it all?

Silvia Villalobos said...

The fishing village looks lovely, Hilary, like a place where I'd go to get away from the noise of every-day life. And the Jug -- I think I'd use it as a decorative piece, so beautiful. Didn't know about the queen's appointee, good to learn something new. Thank you.

klahanie said...

Hi human, Hilary,

My human took his son, Tristan, to Morecambe Bay. Thought it would be a nice alternative to the tacky sights of Blackpool. Much to their surprise, a punk rock convention was happening in Morecambe Bay. I know it can be hazardous place. I recall that tragic story about those Chinese immigrants.

Have you ever wondered why "Quay" is pronounced "Key"?

Pawsitive wishes,

Penny, the friendly host of the Alphabark Challenge! :)

Paula Kaye said...

Quick sand is scary but those things made from quartz are beautiful

Teresa Powell Coltrin said...

I love quartz but not quicksand. In fact I have reoccurring nightmares about quicksand. :)

Sue McPeak said...

Interesting info on Quick Sand and WOW...love the Quartz pieces. Violet amethysts is my favorite quartz gem, and I have a good many pieces of it in jewelry. Great post for 'Q'. I am so enjoying your posts, and appreciate your visits and comments so much. I think you will like my 'Q'...see ya there!
Sue at CollectInTexas Gal

Robyn Campbell said...

That jug is breathtaking, Hil. I've always wanted to see real quicksand. That is dreadful what happened to the Chinese immigrants. I sure know a lot about quartz now. I'm gonna use it for school. Science class. xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

Margie said...

You are on Q already, I know I have missed some.
Quartz is so beautiful but not quicksand.
Great post, Hilary.

Sharon Bradshaw said...

A lovely collection of "Q"s, Hilary, thank you. It was interesting to read about quicksand and the quay's history. I love quartz crystals and that jug is simply amazing! Happy Sunday, my friend. I hope you are having a nice Easter.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Marcy – I hope you can get over to visit .. just glad you’re enjoying this insight ...

@ Maggie – I’m afraid it’s an area of the country I don’t know that well .. but like all childhood places on the coast – it sounds idyllic. The area has lots of interesting geology and snippets of history too – I note!

Re the quick-sands ... I’m sure if you lived there you would have been told in no uncertain terms what to do and what not to do ...

The gang-masters of illegal immigrants are cruel and selfish ... I just felt I needed to mention the sad fact about the Chinese deaths, as it highlights another dreadful characteristic of some thuggish people ...

Crystals attract us ... and I think we’ve all got shells, crystals etc around our homes ...

@ Juliet – I admit I’m scared of quick-sands too – we came across the odd patch in Cornwall on occasions ... and I’m sure they are in and around some of our very gentle sloping shorelines ... there’s lots of quartz here – but not the very precious stuff – perhaps a good thing.

@ Manzanita – Q can be challenging ... but with a creative thought, or as here with fact – I’ve been lucky in finding subjects for posts ... I’m sure there’ve been a few ghost stories involving quicksands or bogs ... mists swirling around the ghostly figures ... Spread your weight I believe would be the answer – and hope, in these days, you’d have your mobile phone with you ... I hadn’t thought about the post covering soft to hard – but I guess I have ...

@ Patsy – I love everyone’s additions to the Qs of this life .. and preferably don’t get stuck in the quick-sand ...

@ Jo – I’ve seen programmes on those sands ... and it’s a little daunting – but as of yore – people would know where to walk and what to do to get across ...

I’m glad to have sand on the beach .. we have shingle (brought in pebbles) here .. and that is not a good beach in my view – but at least we can get into the sea ...

@ Tasha – I would think the sticky patches you encountered at Minehead were similar to those we came across on Lelant beach in the St Ives Bay ...

Quartz has amazing properties ... and I’m staggered at how it can be carved – that jug amazes me ... a thousand years old ...

@ Bob – we do take quartz for granted don’t we – seeing as we use it everywhere. You’ve jogged my memory re the quartz inside your fossil ammonite ... perhaps for my X post ..

I see what you mean re spelling and Google – we came first us English – those over the pond need to add the ‘u’s and extra ‘l’s and ‘m’s .. etc?? I guess I now just mentally gloss over those red lines ... reminding me I need to type American!!!!!

@ Sophie – as your sister mentioned you came across it ... it’s quite frightening isn’t it ... but a learning curve for a kid, and useful now as adults ...

Quartz is lovely – I gave most of my ‘rocks’ away when I moved recently .. too little space .. but I still love seeing it.

As you say the British coast is beautiful, deadly and dramatic in places ... as too the seas ...

@ Bish – I know I couldn’t resist putting the quartz jug in – even though it’s Middle Eastern ... but actually being caught into quicksand must be horrific ...

@ Alex – a combination of miles to get to safety against the incoming tide and the dangers of the sands – just nightmarish to think of ... lethal as you say ...


Happy Easter to one and all ... and thanks so much for all your comments .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Part 2:

@ Lisa – Lands End is spectacular .. I remember it from the old days ... but it’s an incredible granite outcrop ... which the seas continue to pound ...

I think quicksand is portrayed accurately in films .. bound to be some licence – but it is just plain dangerous – we can be rescued, but it is difficult ... I seem to remember bogs in films – they had similar squelchy sucking properties ... enveloping the body – yugh!

Gems and minerals do hold special properties that we can work with ... and keeping quartz in the kitchen sounds a good idea for keeping “good karma” ...

@ Kaushik – wise to be aware of quicksands ... While the quartz can bring us pleasure when seen carved, or just embedded in a rock ...

@ Rosaria – appreciate your thoughts ... we ‘forget’ so many things ...

@ Rosie – yes it can move around ... it’s the geology of the sea and land working together ... Thanks and glad you enjoyed my Qs ...

@ Elizabeth – different sorts of ‘quick-type sands’ .. bogs too .. but the sea sands have these traits .. fine if we know ... it’s part of the geology of the sands, or estuary in this case ...

@ Mason – it’s in the same area, but not exactly in the same place ... worrying for some. As you say Quartz is glittery isn’t it ..

@ Matt – thanks so much and for the link .. I’ll try and listen later on. Some of those early movies really utilised the mists of the marshes, the boggy swamps and the sands with rising tides, or sudden quicksands ... the early film makers were inventive weren’t they ...

I’d like to find out more about the appointment of the Queen’s Guide to Morecombe Bay Sands .. but I think I’d probably need to go and visit – sometime!

Happy Easter to one and all ... and thanks so much for all your comments .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Part 3:

@ Sara – the quicksands are a frightening phenomena ... and that Charity Walk is led by a Guide and obviously very carefully monitored in this day and age ... but a good way to raise funds ...

I could do a post on the Queen’s Guide to the Sands .. but I think I need to go north and visit – to fully appreciate the appointment and understand the sands better ... but it’s an idea at some stage ..

You’ll see the etymology of Quay – when I answer Gary further down ... but I’m glad my brief explanation helped explain the concept of a quay ...

@ Luanna – thanks .. Q was surprisingly easy –especially with Quicksand ...

@ Susan – with the A-Z challenge we can certainly feel ourselves sinking in the sands of time – but it’s a fun time ...

Geodes are quite delightful pieces of rock – to be able to see the rough rock and then find the crystals inside ... are as you say entrancing ...

@ Eclectic Odds and Sods .. good to meet you – fun blogging name! We should be aware and avoid quicksand, especially if we don’t want a ‘nasty’ death ...

The tide moves across the sands, not so much the quicksands .. they are just a part of the geology of the area – they can be avoided as the post explains (vaguely I suspect) ... I hope you didn’t have nightmares ..

I’m enjoying the challenge, but this is my fourth year ... so I’m well used to the process ... except it would help if I could write my posts in advance! I’ll see you shortly ...

@ Silvia – the New Quay fishing village does look wonderful doesn’t it and I hope it survived the storms ... the jug is kept in the Louvre Museum .. so I guess it’s very well cared for ...

I was surprised to read about the Queen’s Guide to the Quicksands of Morecombe Bay .. but remembered for this post ...

@ Penny – how interesting to learn about Gary taking his son to Morecombe Bay .. and then finding it had a punk rock convention! That must have been a bit of a shock ...

I think those of us living here would have been aware of the tragic deaths of the illegal immigrant Chinese – desperately sad ... but you confirm that the Sands are very hazardous ..

Well I hadn’t wondered why Quay is pronounced key .. but I did of course just for you look it up!!

‘Kay’ was the old French Word, which became in Middle English = ‘key’

Modern French the word is ‘quai ‘... which became our ‘Quay’.

The Old French word ‘kay’ is of Celtic origin. While the change of spelling to our modern day quay ... was influenced by the modern French spelling ‘quai’ of the 17th century ...

Thanks Penny for making me go look!!!!!

@ Paula – quicksand can be very dangerous ... while isn’t quartz so pretty and fascinating ...

@ Teresa – I suspect most people would agree with you .. Quartz over quicksand ... please don’t have nightmares on behalf of my post!

@ Sue – I was glad to write about quicksands ... something we don’t know much about. While quartz we find everywhere .. but seldom really appreciate – amethyst is just lovely ... yes I have some amethyst too ...

@ Robyn – the crystal just is extraordinary isn’t and to have survived that long ... exquisite workmanship ... delighted I’ve added to your science class .. thanks!

@ Margie – the ABC days tear by .. no worries about missing posts – they’ll sit awhile to be read anon or in due time when people wish.

As the others have said .. Quartz but not quicksand ...

@ Sharon – thanks for coming by ... Q was easy this year .. I enjoyed the Quay’s history too ... while just being able to post the quartz pieces just delights me, as too you and others ...

Happy Easter to one and all ... and thanks so much for all your comments .. Hilary

mail4rosey said...

I'm just back to wish you a Happy Easter today. :)

jgifederizo said...

Those quicksands sure are dangerous! I'd hate to be anywhere near them mainly because they can drown me in an instant :@

Diana Wilder said...

I remember bending down to look really closely at sand (this was before I needed reading glasses...) and I was so surprised at the different shapes and colors and sizes of the grains that made up the somewhat amorphous tan-colored material underfoot.

Refreshment offered yet again in your posts - so wonderful!

Tina said...

I never thought of the UK as having quicksand...it's always fascinated me. I've certainly had nightmares about it.
Delightful post as always. Loved your last alliterative paragraph :-)
Tina @ Life is Good
A to Z Team @ Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2014

Patricia Stoltey said...

I've always thought of quicksand as terrifying, but I love the way quartz looks and feels. This is an interesting group of Q words.

Nick Wilford said...

The incident with the cockle pickers was a terrible scandal. Sadly we still have many immigrant workers in dangerous situations. Liked the quartz elephant, on a lighter note.

Sharon Himsl said...

Quicksand shows up a lot in adventure movies...so I'm convinced how frightening that can be. Now add a fast moving tide...run! Liked the quartz elephant :)

Shirley Wells said...

I'm way behind with these posts, Hilary, and am enjoying a jolly good read. A great collection of Qs!

Quicksand is terrifying, isn't it? Must be the basis for a lot of nightmares. I fear Morecambe Bay will be forever remembered for the disaster.

Michelle Wallace said...

Quicksand... must be a horrible way to die. *shudders*
I'm wondering what's the difference between a quay and a wharf? They are similar...
Is the quay a section of the wharf? And what about a pier?

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Rosie - thanks for your Easter wishes ..

@ JGi - good to see you and yes quicksands are really dangerous - sadly not in an instant, but over time - rather worse, I suspect ...

@ Diana - thanks so much .. there obviously is lots of colour in those beige grains ...

... and why our beaches are so different - the sand is of a different conglomerate ..

I am having a glass of wine now .. thank you!

@ Tina - I think we have a little of everything here .. it may be a 'little bit' .. but it's here!

I don't think about sinking into quicksand if I can think about .. but the peat bogs worry me ...

Thanks too re the alliteration .. started with those crumbling cliffs ...

@ Patricia - quartz is an amazing substance, but even stepping in a little quicksand type on the beach is enough to make one aware of the dangers - and Morecambe Beach must be a daunting place to visit - it's so wide at low tide .. or on a lowering tide ...

@ Nick - I know the cockle picker deaths were just awful and so sad, why are people so cruel ---- ? Sadly I don't want to answer this ... and so many immigrant workers are still subjected to cruel conditions all over the world and here too ..

Glad you changed to a lighter subject of the pink quartz elephant .. she's pretty ...

@ Sharon - quicksand and peat bogs ... similar settings - really unpleasant thoughts: not a good position to be in or to die in ...

Yes the tide we can't beat and don't realise .. glad you like the elephant ..

@ Shirley - no worries - but I'm delighted you're enjoying your read along my 2014 A- Z journey ..

Sadly I suspect this may be so - but Morecambe Bay is stunning and I imagine has lots to offer ... I'd like to visit ...

@ Michelle - yes you may well *shudder* I too would not like to go that way ... hope fully no-one has it in for me ..

ah ha ... now I come to something I need to write about ...

A Pier is an early harbour wall protecting the inland harbour somewhat against the seas;

While a quay is an early mooring place at the harbour ... there may not be a harbour per se, because the seas don't warrant it ...

... or is an extended pier/harbour wall ...

While a wharf was a place where ships would dock, barges would tie up .. ie it was more a place of commerce .. which is how I would see wharfs today ... the London Wharves before Docks became a 'larger' definition ...

I hope that make sense ..

Thanks so much .. cheers Hilary