13 April, 2012

A-Z Blogging Challenge: Lithology

Public domain image. SOURCE.
Lithology is the study, description, and classification of rocks. It is closely related to petrology, another branch of geology.

The field developed from geology during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Lithology is tied to many other disciplines of science including stratigraphy, tectonics, paleogeography, geochemistry, paleontology, and climatology. An important theory to lithology is lithogenesis (the formation and change in sedimentary rocks), of which there are four kinds: glacial, humid, arid, and volcanogenic-sedimentary.

Current lithological research looks into the formation, composition, and structure of sediments on both land and sea. Data are gathered by field research, laboratory work, and generalization. Field research includes detailed description of the composition and structure of rocks; laboratory work depends on analysis and experiments (such as thermal analysis, electron microscopy, and observation of optical properties of rocks); and generalization is the expression of collected data (to see an example of technology used in the display of lithology data, go HERE).
 Notable scientist in the related field of petrology:

James D. Myers

James Myers is a professor at the University of Wyoming who graduated from John Hopkins University with Ph.D. in Geology. His research involves the petrogenesis (origins) of island arcs created by magma, the petrography (lithology) of volcanic rocks, and thermal and fluid dynamics (see yesterday's post) of magma.




Do you have any favorite rock characteristics? Color, texture, hardness, crystalline form?

-----The Golden Eagle


Bob Scotney said...

You keep reminding me of geology classes at University and field trips to the Scottish Highlands. All interesting stuff.

Kimberlee Turley said...

I have several fond memories as a child of family car trips to the Mojave Desert. We did a lot of rock hunting, ghost town visits, outdoor shooting, and 4x4 adventures in our non-4x4 vehicle.

I really enjoyed hunting for fire agate and hunting for opal (but unfortunately not finding any).

DeniseCovey_L_Aussie said...

I'm stoked. Finally a term I know. Excellent Golden.


Gail said...

I love rocks and all information about rocks. I could do this

J.C. Martin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J.C. Martin said...

Fascinating. I wonder if lithology has explained the formation of the mysteriously beautiful coloured cliffs in Alum Bay, the Isle of Wight?


J.C. Martin
A to Z Blogger

Rusty Webb said...

We're really lucky to live on a world that has enough clues easily present to see our geologic history right in front of us. If we were living on some world like Venus... and could handle the crushing pressure and heat, we could learn almost nothing from the geology there (relatively speaking) if that was our only frame of reference.

Thanks for all your work in putting these together.

Old Kitty said...

Oooh I never knew about lithology - I just thought the study of rocks was all geology!! Yay! Take care

Anonymous said...

When I was a kid, I once had a pet rock. Nope, I'm not kiddin'! I always wondered where it came from. I wish I knew Lithology back then, but now that I think of it...I don't have my pet rock anymore! :)

True story.

Shelly said...

Well, I'm not a rock nut but my dad's parents were. They believed each stone had a different energy that transmitted out into the universe.

Cool post, Golden.

Your selection of topic for A to Z is great.

Nick Wilford said...

I thought it was all geology too. Thanks for putting me right!

Uluru is an impressive rock and I do like its colour - I've got a little piece of it from my travels. I heard it is like an iceberg and 90% of it is underground.

Jaye Robin Brown said...

I was a jeweler for years so love rocks! Also have a geologist aunt and uncle - On my property I often find garnet and kyonite in the raw. WNC is a hotbed of gems and minerals.

Humpty Dumpty said...

As a kid, I loved collecting rocks I'd find along the beach, especially if it had interesting lines and different colors.

L.G.Smith said...

Very cool. I love geology. We have some great places here in Colorado to study the sedimentary rock layers that used to be inland sea beds.

S. L. Hennessy said...

This makes my collecting and "studying" rocks as a kid look kind of...pathetic haha.

Anonymous said...

OK...if this hasn't been said yet, you need to, when atoz is all done, put these all together in a white paper/pamphlet. So much to be gleamed.

....Petty Witter said...

Interesting stuff. I like rocks that you can look at and think yeah that looks like such and such a thing.

Angelina C. Hansen said...

You've taken me back to sixth grade. One of my best elementary school memories is the months we spent with rocks. My favorite? Obsidian. I love the smooth texture.

cherie said...

Cool beans! I remember collecting rock specimens for my high school biology class. :)

Pat Hatt said...

I knew this one too. Not sure I have a favorite, I just like the layout of some more as a whole, as scenary I guess over some others.

Pat Hatt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's a profession that could go on until the end of time considering the amount of rocks in the world.

Nate Wilson said...

I like my rock to be melodic with a good bass line. That or something with some really colorful crystal; I still remember all the time I spent as a kid mesmerized by the variety of beautiful rocks at the Museum of Natural History in DC.

But somehow, I never knew (or forgot) the term "lithology." I suppose it's not surprising; I've always been rather igneous.

DWei said...

My favorite characteristic of a rock is its value. If it's worth a lot, I like it a lot. :P

Krispy said...

There was a time in my childhood where I totally thought I wanted to be a geologist because I loved collecting rocks. Over time, I realized I was not that interested & I just like rocks because they're pretty! Haha.

Nancy Thompson said...

Ooh, I find this so incredibly fascinating, especially since I only just recently visited the Grand Canyon for the very first time. I looked at all those layers of rock and wondered how and when it was all deposited there. It's the most amazingly colorful place I've ever seen! And it is far GRANDER than I ever imagined!

The Golden Eagle said...

Bob: I'm glad you found it interesting. :)

Kimberlee: That sounds like fun! I love rock collecting--all kinds of stones will end up in weird places because I picked them up somewhere. LOL.

Denise: Cool. :)

Thank you!

Gail: Same here. I used to want to be a petrologist.

J.C.: Interesting idea! It believe it could, though I don't know of any scientists who have studied it . . .

Rusty: Earth is definitely remarkable for that reason!

You're welcome. :) I had a lot of fun writing my A-Z posts!

Old Kitty: Nope! There are other sub-fields of geology as well. :)

Jack: LOL. Pet rocks are cool!

Shelly: Thank you!

Nick: You're welcome.

Now that's an interesting rock formation. Would be interesting to find out just how far deep it goes . . .

Jaye: That's awesome. I love finding crystals!

Humpty Dumpty: Oh, me too! I'm a magpie when it comes to rocks. :P Even if they're fairly ordinary, if something about a stone strikes me as interesting I'll pick it up.

L.G.: That would be fascinating to see!

S. L.: I did the same thing. :P LOL. And still do, kind of!

Stuart: I hadn't thought about bringing them all together, but the idea does appeal . . .

Petty Witter: Same here!

Angelina: I have a few pieces of obsidian. It's an interesting rock. :)

Cherie: Seems like a lot of people here have collected rocks at some point!

Pat: There are definitely some interesting rocks.

Alex: Ha! Yeah, I don't think lithologists will be running out of source material for a while . . .

Nate: We (my mom and I) visited the Museum of Natural History once; they have a huge collection!

How volcanic of you. ;)

DWei: Especially if you've found it, I assume. :)

Krispy: LOL. I think I went through that stage.

The Golden Eagle said...

Nancy: Someday I want to visit the Grand Canyon! It sounds like you had a great trip there. :)

klahanie said...

Hey Golden Eagle,
I'm very sorry it has taken me so long to arrive to your superb site as I go on the tour of loads of folks doing this amazing challenge that brings further awareness of the alphabet.
An excellent and informative article. In fact, this posting 'rocks' :) What the "L", a mighty fine submission to the A to Z Challenge.
Take good care and happy writing.

Carol Kilgore said...

I love rocks. The favorite one I have is blue with white flecks. I have no idea what it is.

Belle said...

I love rocks and have no idea why. I usually pick one up off the ground from every vacation. Nevada rocks are cool.

Tracy said...

very cool...I had a geology professor in college that turned me off from the study of rocks; can you say boring? Well, as I've gotten older and my son's interest in rocks, I'm finding I enjoy learning about rocks! Great L post!

Emily R. King said...

When I look at rock faces like the one in your picture and see the endless layers, I'm overwhelmed by how insignificant I am compared to those ancient rocks.

Lady Bluestocking said...

Your picture looks like my backyard! There's always something to be found in the desert in all those layers. Thanks for dropping by my blog!

LynNerdKelley said...

Hello Eagle! Wow, you're covering some interesting stuff in your A-Z posts. I learned something new today. I can remember the names of my favorite rocks, but if it's pretty, then I like them! One of my kids was always stuffing rocks in her pockets, no matter where we went. It was funny when she'd run over to a boulder size rock and want to pick it up and bring it home! There's a really cool picture book called "Everybody Needs a Rock." I believe that's the title. A great read aloud for classrooms. I used to take a box of rocks with me and let each kid pick a rock out of it, and then encourage them to go out and find their own special rock, too! Fun post!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

My daughter considered geology for a while as her career choice. I learned more aobut rocks than I ever needed to know.

Carol Riggs said...

Striated or striped rocks are cool; I love those. Obsidian is really neat too, and fascinating when they have transparent stripes/areas in them. I used to paint on 1/4" slices of obsidian pieces. Need to do more of that...

Teresa Cypher aka T K CypherBuss said...

Nice post! I can't think of a rock I've "met" that I didn't like. I guess that I am rather fond of the blue limestone found here in western Pennsylvania, USA. I have found some really impressive crinoid fossils in it. But, the local shale has provided a lot of fossils, too. And the sandstone can be amazing. I must admit, when I get up to the New England states and start to see that white granite(?) along the roads, I am simply stunned at its beauty. So many rocks...so little time... :-)

M said...

I am married to a geologist so our vacations usually take us to places with really cool formations. My favorite rock would be volcanic...but I love one canyon in Death Valley with conglomerate rock that is polished and looks awesome at sunset.

Happy A-Z April!

Lily Tequila said...

Rocks all have brilliant history. My favourite is granite :-)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Golden .. very interesting and to think 200 years ago .. they weren't interested in geology as a science in its own right .. and look now - so many separate disciplines ..

Fascinating .. cheers Hilary

Traci Kenworth said...

What an interesting field this has to be to work in!!

The Golden Eagle said...

Klahanie: No need to apologize. I know I've been slow in getting around to people who've visited me as well.

Thank you so much! :)

You too.

Carol: Maybe Lapis Lazuli?

Tracy: Thank you! :)

Emily: They've been there for so long . . . anything that old is impressive.

Lady: Really? I want to move into your backyard. ;)

You're welcome! I enjoyed the visit.

LynNerdKelley: Thanks. I love science, so I decided to take on a slightly different tack from my usualy blog subjects.

That sounds like a great way to get kids excited about geology/lithology. :)

Susan: Even for story ideas? I once read a book that was based on a character with the ability to manipulate rocks; it was quite interesting.

Carol: Wow. I'll bet those looked cool!

Teresa: Thanks!

Oh, I didn't know there was blue limestone. Now I want to head to Pennsylvania and see it. :)

There have been some fossils found in this area, too. Whenever we drive past a wall of rock with obvious layers, I wonder what might be hidden in them . . .

M: Volcanic rocks can take on some really interesting formations.

Thanks! Same to you. :)

Lily: Granite can be so colorful.

Hilary: True. Geology (and its sub-fields) haven't been around as long or as prominently compared to other scientific fields.

Traci: I would think so!

Nas Dean said...

Rocks all have brilliant history.

Interesting article, thanks!

The Golden Eagle said...

Nas: Anytime!