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Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Boudinage, Cactolith, Crozzle, and Slickensides: Say that Three Times Fast and with a Lith

       Enjoy this smorgasbord of fun, fun-to-say, and funny geologic terms. Be sure to dust off your best French accent for bou-di-najjj, or sausage-shaped features formed by extension in rocks.

        Boudinage is the geological term for structures formed by the aforementioned extension, where a rigid tabular body is stretched and deformed amidst less competent surroundings. The competent bed begins to break up, forming sausage-shaped boudins. Watch this 2-minute video to see boudinage forming in an ice cream sandwich.

         A cactolith is "a quasi-horizontal chonolith composed of anastomosing ductoliths, whose distal ends curl like a harpolith, thin out like a sphenolith, or bulge discordantly like an akmolith or ethmolith." This quite tongue-in-cheek definition was described by Charles B Hunt in 1953 in the Henry Mountains in Utah to describe an intrusive feature resembling a cactus. It's a long lith. . .

      Crozzle is partially burned coal. {The by-product of burned coal is called clinker.} Some underground coal seams have been burning for centuries.

     One of my favorite geologic terms is slickensides which are polished, striated rock surfaces caused by one rock mass sliding over or past another. The word describes well the result of slick features moving past each other in fault zones:

      One can almost hear the grinding and sliding of rocks past each other. . .

      It's one of the most tactile surfaces in geology:

       Have you touched slickensides? Seen a cactolith? Do you have a favorite geologic term?  Or do you have a favorite term from your profession?

What's on your lith? ;-)

Oui, and speaking of French words and mirror planes, may 2016 be filled with much "Joie!"


  1. Great new words, Steph! (new to me, anyway) I plan to work the words slickensides and crozzle (at the very least) into my many future cocktail party conversations and badinage (which I believe may be similar to boudinage).

    The only word with which I was familiar is "clinker." I spent a summer vacation during my high-school years shoveling clinkers from a barn-sized pile of clinkers near a riverside factory where my father once worked. I spaded them into a wheelbarrow-loads and transported them to another pile about 100 yards away. It was exactly the type of job that people who go to hell will be engaged in!

    In the Army, new recruits are ordered to dig holes in the ground, and then fill them back up. At least that is the urban-military legend I have heard. Sounds to me like another one of those "jobs from hell."


    1. Oooh! Let's have badinage about boudinage after we finish slinging that clinker around, Lego. And, lo, we may clinker our glasses together ;-) in a toast to the Epiphany and to 2016 de vivre.

    2. Boss Kean was mean to me all right, but I kept my strength up by snarfing down 50 hard-boiled eggs. Sure I was a wiseass and Ol' Boss had it in for me, and, as a result, I had to spend lots o' time in the prison-yard klink.


    3. "Was" a wiseass?

      We can dig it, Lego! Great song when you're moving clinker (or not).

  2. We discussed boudinage in September, 2014, in the context of plate tectonics, the French Foreign Legion, and nosebleeds. Coincidentally, I read your blog while having my lunch of Campbell's grilled chicken and sausage gumbo soup, which was OK, but not as good as the wonderful chicken and andouille sausage soup that my wife and my niece made last week. Must be Sausage Week here. May be more examples, but I'll save the wurst for last.

    Either that's not your Estwing rock hammer above, or it's a very old photo.

    My comment on your boudinage video: You gonna eat that? Reminds me of the layered Ice Cream Earth my son's class made in 3rd Grade.

    Your bonne année card brings to mind Scott Kim's family greeting from 15 years ago.

    1. jan, thanks (?) for recalling your Le Boudin post; I was hoping to forget ;-). Sausage does seem to be the word of the week.

      Not my rock hammer (not my monkeys?!).

      The chicken and andouille sausage soup sounds wonderful. Trader Joe's has great andouille sausage.

      The family Happy New Year is brilliant; a little tricky around a few letters but still a wonderful thing. Hmmm, wonder what I could do with our family (more to come, perhaps).

  3. William Smith would be proud. . .and likely astounded--First Digital Map of Alaska

  4. Maizie and I trekked to the Paint Mines Interpretive Park near Calhan, CO, today to check out the colorful clay and sandstone hoodoos.

    A new post will be coming later tonight or, more likely, tomorrow, about painting with natural clays (from near the Paint Mines) mixed with wheat paste.

    1. New post on "Hoo Doo, Hoo Doo You Think You're Fooling: Paint Mines Interpretive Park on the Plains of Colorado" is now up!