Monday, 21 April 2014

R is for Rocks, Runnels and Ridges, Rhynes ...


R is for Rocks – so many types make up our shores and coasts ... hard rocks such as granites, basalts, and some sandstones are resistant to erosion ...

Old Man of Hoy, part of the Orkney
archipelago - showing Old Red
Sanstone


...  and often form high headlands and tall, stable cliffs on which plants can gain a footing, or birds can roost ... or crumbling cliffs from those ancient seas ...



Victor Hugo, captured by his
son, on a granite outcrop -
in Jersey, Channel Islands


Granite is a rough-grained igneous rock that originally formed deep inside the Earth.  Granite Rocks are found in many parts of Britain ... and are shown in this photo of Victor Hugo taken by his son leaning on a granite outcrop in Jersey, one of the Channel islands ...




c/o Southampton University - showing
Kimmeridge Oil Shale, Dorset


Soft Rocks from ancient seas, such as chalk and limestone, are sedimentary in origin: the settled out remains of plants and animals.



Shale is one of these soft rocks, solid mud, which splits easily along the layers in which it was laid down, but is quickly eroded in a coastal situation ...

... however, when found deep in the earth and heated, can produce crude oil.



An iphone photo of an oil painting I own - showing
Perranporth sands, Cornwall - the runnels and ridges

Ridge and Runnel systems are formed due to the interaction of tides, currents, sediments and the beach topography ... they will only form on shallow gradient beaches ...


I experienced these in Cornwall looking down from the dunes above Lelant beach, St Ives Bay ... and from the air when I was gliding at Perranporth ... takes me back to my youth!


You can see the ridges which dip into the runnels ... as the tide comes in they sweep through the runnels ... sometimes leaving a little one stranded on a mini sandbank amongst the ridges and runnels ...

A trackway today over the Levels


Rhyne in Somerset (Reen in south Wales) is a drainage ditch used to turn areas of wetland around sea level into useful pasture.




c/o British Geological Survey
- land available for access about
8,000 years ago


These have been ‘farmed’ since pre-historic times ... as found in early dwellings and the trackways they created to move around, which have been preserved in the constantly soaked landscape.





c/o British Geological Survey
- that land now under water
one thousand years later -
7,000 years ago, after the sea
levels rose

Tree-ring dating confirms that the date of the bog-wood timbers used in the Sweet Track (named after Mr Sweet!) to be 3,807 or 3,806 BC ...




Ice Age melts, sea storms and rain storms have made a continual impact on the Somerset Levels with their drainage Rhynes ... and no doubt will continue to do so ...


That is R for rough, rugged, rust-coloured Rocks, or the rolling softer crusts of the sedimentary layers, for Ridges and Runnels – the shadow and lights of the sand, and the ancient drainage Rhynes adopted by the prehistoric peoples of aeons ago ... from Aspects of British Coasts ...



Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

45 comments:

Empty Nest Insider said...

Your Perranporth sands painting is really riveting! It has almost a 3-D effect! I also enjoyed seeing Victor Hugo by the granite rocks! I always relish your research repertoire, Hilary! I probably sound like I have rocks in my head at this hour!

Julie

Old Kitty said...

Love the Victor Hugo pic! Rock climbing has never looked more stylish or elegant!

Yay for rocks! Take care
x

Misha Gericke said...

I've always found geology interesting, since we also have a wide variety here in South Africa.

Fanny Barnes Thornton said...

Hilary - your posts almost sound poetic, and I'm learning so much.

I never knew about runnels and ridges and how they are caused by tidal currents. Being stranded surrounded by sea is one of my recurring dreams. The ocean is a scary place.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Great picture of Mr. Hugo!

Some amazing geology there. I love the picture of Old Man of Hoy, too..what a neat structure!

Sue McPeak said...

Once again, I am captured by your commentary of your homeland. Ridge and Runnel systems...fascinating and beautiful. Really??? You GLIDED? Love it...Hilary the High Flyer.

Loved all the Rock info...I live in a SHALE Bedrock State...Texas the Crude Oil Capital. Not a rock climber, but a surface rock collector, I am. Great post.
Sue at CollectInTexas Gal

Jo said...

I was fascinated by the Rhynes, 8,000 years ago they knew how to drain it, 1,000 years later they had let it be flooded again.

Interesting information about the rocks.

Another great post.

Rosalind Adam said...

Ridge and runnel. I never knew that was what they were called. It's one of those provocative childhood memories, walking along the 'ripply bits'.

Bob Scotney said...

Perranporth brings back memories for me. During National Service I had to spend time with the Territorials there. I saw the sands from above too, in a helicopter flown by the Paras - they scared the daylights out of us.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, Hilary,

LOVE ROCKS... I find them fascinating especially along the shore lines!

I was watching a documentary on China last night and it featured some of THE MOST AMAZING rock formations I had ever seen! Comparable to the US' Grand canyon only moss covered. SO cool!

Nature is truly amazing!

Mason Canyon said...

Awesome information about geology, Hilary. The farming aspect was interesting that they made something work when most would have moved.

Manzanita said...

I've always been a rock-hound. I don't really "know" rocks but I like to be ssurrounded by their strength and comfort. I lie living with the mountains in view but I also like the black soil in the valleys for planting. Every time I take a small road trip, I bring home a rock.

Granite is one of my favorites as i grew up on granite land.

Patsy said...

Your posts rock!

I hadn't heard of rhynes or teens. Well I had heard of drainage ditches, but not using either of those names.

Patsy said...

Your posts rock!

I hadn't heard of rhynes or teens. Well I had heard of drainage ditches, but not using either of those names.

Tina said...

Runnels - what a great word! That oil painting is gorgeous. My iPhone takes better pictures than my totally unreliable "real" camera.

We have a lot of really cool rocks here in Colorado which I will show you when we teleport you here for a visit!

Tina @ Life is Good
A to Z Team @ Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2014

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Easily eroded and yet produces oil - I'd have to say shale is versatile.

Natasha Duncan-Drake said...

We have such variety on our coasts I find it amazing. You can be in one place and it's all chalk and a drive away is granite.
Tasha
Tasha's Thinkings - AtoZ (Vampires)
FB3X - AtoZ (Erotic Drabbles)

Julie Flanders said...

What an amazing photo of Victor Hugo! I also think it's so fascinating that the trackways and early dwellings have been preserved - what stories they could tell.

Bish Denham said...

Wow, there's quite a bit of difference in the amount of land available. So much is now under water!

Tara Tyler R said...

i always learn so much when i visit - and this time i learned about rocks! who knew!
and runnels, that's a new one!

thanks, hilary!
happy monday!

Sophie Duncan said...

We have such a wonderful collection of different rocks and landforms in the UK. I'd never heard of runnels before, but you took me back to school geography with your information about sedimentary and igneous rocks :)
Sophie
Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles - A to Z Ghosts
Fantasy Boys XXX - A to Z Drabblerotic

cleemckenzie said...

I've been in love with the word "runnels" forever. It's the sound of it. Now I'm in love with ridges and runnels even more!

Victor Hugo looks very literary in that picture.

Lena Lawson said...

As always I've learnt something and enjoyed all the photos on your blog today. Thank you Hilary. :)

Silvia Villalobos said...

Rocks from our ancient sees ... oh, I can look at those images forever ... try to imagine the world as it was when those rocks first came into existence, then years later leading to today.
Shame about the continual impact on the Somerset Levels with their drainage Rhynes...
Thank you for another wonderfully informative post.

Silvia Villalobos said...

Ancient seas. :)

loverofwords said...

Never heard the word runnel before--great word for Scrabble. Another interesting post, Hilary.

Sharon Himsl said...

This was really interesting, Hilary. I took an introductory Geology course once and have been fascinated with rock formation ever since. We have a lot of basalt where I live. "Old man of Hoy"....isn't it funny the names we come up with?
Shells–Tales–Sails

Kelly Steel said...

Loved the post and all the photos. Interesting!

Lisa said...

Sometimes walking on the ridges and runnels hurts bare feet when the sand is compacted hard enough, at least on Florida's east coast beaches sometimes. I like the way the ridges look and they remind me of how the dirt road I lived on while a teenager would get all "washboard-y" after so many vehicles went over it... It would have to be graded once a month so you wouldn't jar your teeth out going over the ridges and runnels!

Stephen Tremp said...

I like walking across Ridge and Runnel systems on the shore lines. They feel so cool underneath bare feet.

J E Oneil said...

I have to admit, I'm pretty rock-ignorant. I did not know there were hard and soft varieties. What a fun lesson :)

Denise Covey said...

Hi Hilary. Rocamadour in France is the most fascinating rock I've seen. The way they've built a whole town up the rock is amazing and so pretty!!

Thanks for your rocky post!


Denise

Slamdunk said...

Great choice Hilary. We love being among the rocks, wherever we are. My older son is always interested in finding fossils and there seems to be an unending list of locations if one just has the patience to look around.

Teresa Powell Coltrin said...

I love rocks maybe because they were nearly my first toys. I've always wanted to climb a rock wall but the real thing? I don't know.

Inger said...

I too love that Victor Hugo picture. Isn't it interesting to wonder what he would think if he knew he is now on your blog?

Patricia Stoltey said...

I love that photo of the runnels and ridges oil painting.

kaushikgovind said...

Rocks - Reminded of the song 'Wise man builds his house upon the rock..' :)

Theresa Milstein said...

Oh, I love your oil painting.
I've always been fascinated with rocks. I even took a geology class in college (beat a class with dissections).

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Julie – I was a little surprised at the hour and then when you emailed back and I realised you were off on holiday – it made sense. Thanks for coming by though ... I’ve always enjoyed the Perranporth painting ... glad the Hugo photo pleased too ..

@ Old Kitty – and you pleased to see the Hugo photo .. he is certainly poised isn’t he .. and absolutely Yay for rocks and solid earth!

@ Misha – you certainly do have lots of interesting geology .. a great friend and his wife met out in SA – geologist too ...

@ Fanny – thanks so much. I loved the word ‘runnel’ and knew exactly how I’d use it here ... we’re both on the shore line, but I’m glad I don’t have those recurring dreams! I am wary of the ocean though and would rather be in the air ...

@ Elizabeth .. thanks to Mr Hugo ... I had to put the Old Man of Hoy in somewhere ... I’ve never seen it – but would like to one day ...

@ Sue – yes I did used to glide from an early age – but it sort of went by the board .. I still feel as though I can do it – and perhaps sometime I’ll give it another go ..

Shale rocks – we could do with more room in this island of ours for shale exploration .. I don’t do rock climbing either – except as a kid on the beach ... but love seeing different rocks in situ ..

@ Jo – I emailed you re the rhynes ... it was sea level changes ... man adapted, but used the rhynes when necessary and when they could ..

@ Ros – exactly you caught the moment .. little feet darting from dark to light, or damp to dry sands ... the beach always looked sort of challenging and eerie ... I used to love going to Lelant beach even though the sea was a mile away .. it would come rocking in though!

@ Bob – well that was where we used to glide from – my steph-grandfather and friends go the Tiger club going, that then turned into a gliding club – before they moved it down to St Just ...

We used to launch over the rock face cliffs – wonderful turbulent sea below – occasionally someone got too clever and killed themselves coming in – couldn’t get enough lift to get over the cliffs ...

I can believe you were scared witless up there ... the ridge up-draughts were something to contend with .. great for gliders though ..

@ Michael – I imagine China has some incredible rock formations with so many types folded in and out or disappearing below another range – I’d have loved to have seen your programme. I too would so love to see the Grand Canyon ... one day ...

As you say Nature is truly amazing ..

@ Mason – I just find geology and how the landscape is formed fascinating ... I’ve enjoyed writing these up ... and learning about the farming of the Somerset Levels for the last 8,000 years or so ..

@ Manzanita – yes rocks have different attributes don’t they .. I don’t have rocks here .. but always enjoy looking at them and appreciate what each offers and where they came from. The black soil is so necessary ... especially for gardeners like you ..

@ Patsy .. thanks ... I just had to use those words rhynes (or reens) and runnels .. I love learning, so everyone else gets it too ..

@ Tina – I only heard about Runnels the other day and thought my R for R post! I enjoy my oil painting ... and the memories it brings back ... I use the iphone because I’m disorganised technically at the moment – that will change shortly! But as you say – good photos ...

Colorado is one rocky State – I’d agree there .. sounds a good idea a visit without the teleportation sometime!

@ Alex – shale is very useful in the States ... for us little land – I’m not so sure ... but time will tell ...

@ Tasha – our coasts are extraordinary aren’t they at how different each area is ... I don’t know Somerset that well – and must make a plan to visit ..

@ Julie – glad you enjoyed Victor Hugo ... and glad you enjoyed the trackway preservation – I’m just amazed at what they can scientifically find out now .. being able to date timbers back so far ..

Stories from those early days ... so so many over time ...


Thanks everyone .. part 2 following

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Bish – well now that land is once again drained – well it was til it was flooded, but it’s getting back to repairing itself ..

@ Tara – pleasure to provide interesting bits of information – rocks and runnels ... that’s a fun word ...

@ Sophie – our geology is very varied ... more so than most countries – so we can see it exposed somewhere around our shores ... Geography was my favourite at school ... and I still enjoy it ..

@ Lee – ‘runnels’ does run off the tongue doesn’t it .. but the fact the sea sweeps in along the runnels being kept down for a little while by the ridges ... before the ocean rises just that little more ..

Hugo is well posed ... I agree ...

@ Lena – thanks so much, glad you enjoyed the post and the photos ..

@ Silvia – the earth has certainly moved its earthly tectonic plates around .. and given us a wonder world ... the sea level rises and falls .. so our land is under water or will get to a point where we can reclaim it for a while ...

I must write about the Ice Age Art Exhibition I saw at the British Museum ... yes ancient seas – I got that!
@ Natalie – good word for scrabble .. only single score letters aren’t they? Thanks glad that’ll help you with your game ..

@ Sharon – I’m about to do some geology courses so I hope will learn more – I too love the learning ... I saw a lot of basalt in Namibia where it stuck out ... interesting rocks to see. Old Man of Hoy – the island is called Hoy and so the stack looks like a man – hence old man. They think it’s only been like that for 250 years or so .. and will collapse sometime ‘soon’ – there’s a large crack in it ..

@ Kelly – thanks so much .. good to see you here

@ Lisa – yes when the sand has dried out and is compacted it can be quite difficult to walk over – the runnels are never quite the right size for comfortable walking ..

Dirt roads can do the same can’t they – except they’re ‘straight’ .. but very ridgey and rickety to ride along – yes, washboard-y is the right word exactly ... grading I seem to remember too – that was in South Africa though ..

@ Stephen ... there’s a certain kind of peacefulness in having the sands to oneself and then the dampness under foot – quite agree ...

@ JE – there’s so much in life to learn ... and these Aspects of British just add snippets of interest or reminders of life here on these shores – so pleased you enjoyed the post ..

@ Denise – you braved it back: thank you! I can’t see what rock Rocamadour is built into ... the settlement looks amazing – and I must visit the web page again, or look more closely anon .. So can quite see why you’re enamoured with it.

@ Slamdunk – that’s fantastic that your elder son is showing an interest in fossils – I hope he carries on enjoying his geology interests ..

@ Teresa – I’m sure many of us had sticks and stones to play with .. we were on clay, so not so sure about where we were brought up!

A rock wall I could cope with probably .. but not a rock face – that most definitely is off my list!

@ Inger – interesting thought about Victor Hugo coming back to look at my blog – Roland was inferring that today .. that what we write will be here forever ... it’s a little daunting ...

@ Patricia – many thanks re my painting of runnels and ridges ..

@ Kaushik – yes wise men do build their houses on rocks – some very unwise people have built houses in funny places ... but I bet they never expected the sea to encroach as far as it has and washed some away ...

@ Theresa – I love my painting too ... oh I could agree about geology over dissections – that would be a little gory ...

Cheers to you all – thanks so much for visiting - Hilary

Jo said...

Didn't get an email from you about the rhynes Hilary.

Maria Kristina said...

I love this scientific read Hilary! I hit myself in the forehead that I didn't discover your blog early on in the A-Z Sign-up list when looking for blogs with scientific content.

I love earth science so I truly enjoy reading through your posts. I am a medical physicist but is often in doubt with myself whether I am in the right scientific profession!

Sara said...

I was fascinated by the Ridge and Runnel systems. I didn't know about those, but was also interested in quick mention of gliding...now that must have been an experience!!!

It was interesting about how drainage ditches are used to turn areas into useful pasture. I recently read a historical fiction book that talked about this.

Interesting "R," Hilary:~)

Michelle Wallace said...

Nice pic of Victor Hugo taken by his son leaning on a granite outcrop...
and granite counter tops are a popular choice in the modern kitchens...
...and you glided? How cool! Not surprising though. I would imagine you as an adventurous person.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Jo - I think we've sorted the rhyne thing out .. the sea levels rose .. those two photos are 1,000 years apart .. and the sea levels fall ...

@ Maria Kristina - thanks so much for your kind comment: I just write what interests me .. so I'm really pleased you enjoyed my posting and thoughts here ...

I'm delighted to have a medical physicist reading ... !! I hope you'll continue to enjoy the eclectic postings when I get back to writing them this week ..

@ Sara - the seas have wonderful formations ... and gliding over the cliffs at Perranporth with the beach in the distance was a fantastic experience ..

The drainage ditches are such a good example of early man's ingenuity ... and I'm sure your book would have been reasonable accurate about the practice ...

@ Michelle - couldn't resist Victor Hugo - early photograph ...

Granite counter tops are popular, as are composites made to match ..

Yes - gliding - something I failed to do in South Africa, which I definitely should have taken the opportunity ..

Thanks so much .. I'm glad my R post evoked such interest ... Hilary