Friday, April 24, 2015

Just How Old Is That Retaining Wall?

We've been in Capitola at the beach house since last Sunday and heading down to southern California tomorrow (Saturday) to spend the week with my mom. The time here on the central coast has been quiet with overcast skies and cool temps, and definitely not photography weather in any way. We've been seeing dolphins, sea otters, shorebirds, and several breaching whales. You'll have to take my word for it, it's been grand even if we couldn't get a decent photo of any of it.
We did get out for a walk everyday to take a good look around at everything. We decided to go a different route one day and came upon this lovely retaining wall in front of two neighboring homes. It stretched for quite a distance along the block.
When we took a closer look at some of the rocks we could see that a good chunk of this retaining wall had been made of rocks that are filled with ancient fossil mollusks. They were probably gathered a long time ago from the local beach.
These are pretty good-sized rocks, and incredibly full of fossils. When I look at this rock, I think of hieroglyphics, like a message sent from 2.5 - 6 million years ago.
How crazy it seems to see such a sight in a mundane retaining wall. These are rocks from the Purisima Formation.
So how old is this retaining wall? Some of it is older than the language it takes to write these words. Older than cave paintings and religion. Older than every story we tell. This is one story of time written by clam shells and whale bones more than a million years ago.

19 comments:

  1. That is so gorgeous and wonderful, Robin.

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  2. Wow. That's right. Older than every story we tell. I've been drawn to the old stories of the Purisima Formation ever since I first saw some of them at New Year's Creek Beach in the late 1960s.

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  3. That is pretty cool. I once got a load of river rock that was full of fossils. It didn't seem right to bury it all underground again like I had to.

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  4. Things like that give me goose bumps. You touch what lived so very long ago.
    Have a safe and pleasurable trip to see your Mom.

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  5. Amazing what you can find when you need some photos to fill up blog pages, isn’t it?

    Thanks for noticing. Now I know something about the Purisima Formation, something I’d never heard of before today.

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  6. I've often found that stone walls are the best places to find fossils. These are great.

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  7. isabelita-- We love seeing the remnants of the Purisma Formation. Those rocks are everywhere.

    am-- We've been drawn to the cliffs above Monterey Bay ever since we took a minus tide walk and found the most amazing fossils. Such an incredible sight.

    Mark -- Makes me wonder how long it will be before those rocks are uncovered and discovered again.

    Arkansas Patti-- There really is something about holding fossils in your hands that is pretty compelling. We had a safe drive down and are hanging out with my mom, who is doing quite well!

    Loren-- It's true. It's incredible what we can find to write about and photograph when we take a good look around. We wrote about the Purisma Formation in March 2005 here on the blog. Amazing that a whole decade has passed since then. Here's a link:
    http://newdharmabums.blogspot.com/2005/03/walk-on-beach.html

    John-- So glad you liked this wall and the fossil rocks.

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  8. Oh, how grand! I really like that the rocks are in use, still, and shared with the passersby, even if our time here is shorter than they've been around.

    Noticed, too, that some rocks you didn't photo more closely have holes in them. I have a rock like that from the santa barbara area -- think that later creatures took out the shell parts and made their own homes, but who knows for sure?

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  10. Thank you for posting those pictures. Those rock pictures are really enjoyable (I like rocks...a lot! :)

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  11. kathy a-- The cliffs of Capitola are full of fossils. It's quite a sight. Seeing these rocks in a human-made wall is both beautiful and crazy. Yes, the rocks with holes are very interesting. Would love to know the natural mechanisms behind that.

    oldwhitelady-- So glad you liked these pics. Always good to hear from you!

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  12. you have a talent for seeing through the every day reality and finding the magic. i love this post, and that rock is gorgeous and does send the mind reeling.

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  13. Tara--Thank you! You know how much I like looking around and seeing what's out there. The world right in front of our eyes can be pretty amazing.

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  14. The rocks in the wall might be old but the wall is not. Fulnny what you see in the rocks like that

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  15. Bill-- True, a young wall and some very old rocks!

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  16. What a lovely thought. I've never taken the time to consider a retaining wall that closely, but I like the idea of the wall being formed over centuries. And it just goes to show what a little aesthetic effort can mean to people. Something as simple as a retaining wall can be a work of art. http://www.abodegroup.com.au

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  17. The way that this wall is just stuck together is really attractive. Everything is mismatched and therefore matches. When this method is used on anything, it really creates a beautiful mosaic. I'd never stop finding beauty in a retaining wall like this.
    http://www.abodegroup.com.au/retaining-walls

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  18. The way that this wall is just stuck together is really attractive. Everything is mismatched and therefore matches. When this method is used on anything, it really creates a beautiful mosaic. I'd never stop finding beauty in a retaining wall like this.
    http://www.abodegroup.com.au/retaining-walls

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