It has been a long day in a big, downtown building with many stylolites:
The official definition of a stylolite (The Free Dictionary) is: "A secondary structure found along contacting surfaces of adjacent calcareous rock layers, the contact zone appearing in cross section as a series of jagged interlocking up-and-down projections that resemble a suture or the tracing of a stylus."
What they really are are reminders that limestone, under pressure, changes to marble and the dark bits of various insoluble minerals like pyrite, clays, and iron oxides remain in the stylolites making them visible. Stylolite is from two Greek words, stylos or pillar and lithos or stone. The stylolites are serrated or tooth-like surfaces at which darker minerals have been removed by pressure dissolution, in a process that decreases the total volume of rock. In other words, they are dark reminders of intense compression and stress:
I believe it is no accident that they are found in Courtroom buildings around the world. They may look styling and cool, but they are reminders that dissolution under pressure leaves behind a dark, dark image. And, similar to the vegetable ash layer in the Humboldt Fog Cheese, (See November, 19, 2013 post) it is that layer to which our eyes are drawn.
Yes, stylolites can be quite beautiful:
I hope to remember that in decompressing this evening (pun very assuredly intended) from today's proceedings.
Next week: I am considering writing about hydraulic fracturing or fracking. We shall see. Thoughts?
Here's hoping your day did not include stylolites (unless you are researching or admiring them).
Word Woman (aka Scientific Steph)