A few years ago, my longtime childhood curiosity with cool stones at museums and gems at science fairs paid off. My aunt and uncle took me to the Handmade Arcade; a traveling marketplace, if you will, where I bought my first geode!
I remember a shorter ME staring in wonder at this otherworldly object for the first time, wondering, “Neat! What the heck is it CALLED?” There is nothing like being a kid and oogling the teacher’s desk at a hunk of sparkling rock. There’s also nothing like gingerly picking up a rare substance not at all expecting it to be as HEAVY as it is. Geodes are just so dang cool to LOOK at.
Pretty With Age
A geode can have either a cataclysmic beginning, a humble one or a little bit of both depending on where it’s formed. First thing’s first, they all start out the same way. Cavities with nothing in them. An air bubble, dirt bubble, mineral bubble-take your pick. These cavities can form within rocks, once fluid, that are microscopically porous; enough so in order for water or gas to pass through. Volcanic locations, common for geodes, that are above sealevel, create cavities made of carbon dioxide and water vapor. Once the cavity cools and the vapor dissipates, it’s showtime! Deepsea volcanic locations, create magma cavities that cool quicker on the outside than the inside; creating a surface brittle enough for tiny holes that allow remaining liquid to leak out. Non-volcanic locations, such as sedimentary rocks and limestone produce geodes of a harder origin that hollow out due to weathering over time and rainwater bringing in more minerals. The substances that cake within these varying geodes form crystals over thousands of years.
The oldest, if not thee BIGGEST geode is located in Pulpí, Spain, within an old silver mine with the 15th anniversary of its discovery being this year. Gaping and cavernous at 8m long, 1.8m high and 1.7m wide (for other folks out there ^^: 26’2”L; 5’9”H, 5’5”W), the geode can house about ten people inside and still with enough room for all to sit up straight. No thanks! One trip would spell a WRAP for me. Spain’s geode is no place for a klutz. The walls of this thing are pretty much a collective 360° stalagmite sphere of prisms roughly a half-meter long! That didn’t stop one geologist from crawling in there with his socks on! And of course many others like him. More power to ‘em and all the jealousy you can muster. No tours available anyhow at risk of damage from CO2 exposure. Basically, to any owner of a geode, imagine yourselves breathing DIRECTLY on your desktop stone, 24/7 for 15 years straight. And WHILE walking on it. Then think what will happen afterwards. Time created it, and with outside influence, time can destroy it. Well…quicker. Even the stones of my zen garden are still technically aging.
So Rare But So Common: How?
I also remember being a kid, wondering how grown-ups get their hands on these rocks.
While it’s true that at the time I first saw one, online shopping wasn’t quite the “it” thing to do yet. I couldn’t simply ask my parents to go out and fetch me one. The next best way for me to have a chance at such a rock was if I went on a field trip somewhere. Free trips. An increasing rarity with age. Even if a program offered the journey, what grown-up was willing to dish out an overpriced geode to me from the closest gift shop? Regardless of size? To get my money’s worth, patience was a necessity. Something both kids AND adults lack apparently.
Despite everything though anyone of any age can get one. That is, if you’re not afraid to roll up your sleeves a bit. Literally. There are locations of sedimentary rock, volcanoes and mines the world over. Who knows? You might have tripped and stumbled along a location or two during a hike at some point. Easy to do. Geodes look pretty plain on the outside and blend easily into equally plain surroundings. Cool locations to check out and try attaining one, at least in the U.S., include: Utah, Iowa, Nevada, Missouri and Illinois. I hear cracking open these things make for an interesting experience. If you think opening a crab is hard work, why not try a geode?
Such a lesson to live by, no? Equating beauty with age. Perhaps most people consider their lives too short to consider aging a good thing? I know I’m young, but I don’t consider that exempting me from appreciating getting older. I consider it mind boggling to think how people view a rock a million-plus-years old amazing but then find age [insert your NUMBER OF CHOICE ^^] to be the most offensive thing. Maybe that’s because we don’t have mid-life crisis at age hundred-thousand?
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