Scenic--Rocks--Rt 27, Stratton to Farmington

For those of you who are interested in seeing pictures of rock formations , colorful stones and fossils around the Stratton area and would like to follow my journey into geology this summer, I am posting a journal of sorts on this  site.

I must warn you ahead. This subject can be very addicting. Also you will be getting some very, very long download times because I refuse to cut the sizes on the pictures and am limiting my pages. It is best viewed by getting a disk copy of the Nature pictures pages (updated yearly) by obtaining a $20.00 yearly subscription.

If you are coming, I know you will enjoy it. I'm learning as I go along and some things that I'm not certain of, such as mineral identification, will be added as I gain knowledge and confidence.

About 500 millions years ago,  at a time before land and bony forms of life existed, on what was then the continent on which North America stands, the early continent 'drifted' across the Iapetus ocean and crashed into parts of Europe and Africa in the equatorial zone--forming the super continent, Pangaea. The resulting zone of impact caused the plates to break, uplift and redefine themselves from the terrific heat and pressure very much as they do today in the Himalayas. Thus, the Apalachian mountains , which were as great as the Rocky Mountains, were born. Several times the plates were thrust up, the newly formed mountains were eroded and the process renewed. In the continual movement of plates covering the earth, the Continent of  North America 'drifted' northwesterly from Africa and Europe to it's present position in the newly formed Atlantic. The remaining mountains became severely eroded by the several glacial advances within the millions of  years. The pictorial journey which follows is an attempt to study the dynamics of this history as it can be seen in a hundred mile radius of my home area of Stratton. The story is as intriguing  as any murder or romance novel. It is a story of detecting little clues from pieces of rock history called ":formation" and fossil finds. I will expand on the story as I learn and explore. I hope that I don't make too many mistakes. If you see errors please help me to correct them. I'm very grateful to several geologists who have given me guidance and assistance in furthering my education.

I know that you will enjoy the scenery as much as I do. This is one reason that I refuse to cut down my pictures. This is also the reason that I am putting this section under the category of  "Scenery"

We will begin by exploring the rock  and various formations in existance and in the making from Stratton southbound on 27 towards Farmington.

The Carrabassit River

A gravel bar on the opposite bank shows the gradation from large to fine sand deposits

A boulder which has been split by the action of freezing water.

The Carrabasset river in summer appears gentle compared to the raging torrent from spring snow melt.

Another large boulder showing the power of freezing water.

This is a southbound view of the Carrabasset Valley showing the rocky river--the valley is miles wide

The bedrock on the Right is Basalt and Metamorphic rock

A basaltic lava. The dark area is a fracture where the rock was chipped from a powerful impact--perhaps an auto accident.. The fracture is somewhat concoidal, somewhat like chipped glass which shows that the rock is dense and fine-grained.

Taken in Carrabasset Valley along Rt. 27 in May, 2004

The hole at top right from which some young trees are growing is a pothole. The gentle sloping of the weathered rock face is from left (south) to right (north). It appears that the river was flowing north  at the time of the erosion of this rock as you can see by the angles on the worn surface. Now the river flows south.

Carrabasset stream was once a raging torrent of huge proportions as it drained the meltwaters of the lofty glaciers. The stream had to be big and powerful to wear down the rock above.

Carrabasset valley

Notice the horizontal scratch marks made by flowing glaciers.

The is a contact zone between two very different rocks. The rock at left is an igneous rock which flowed in a molten state into a pre-existing rock of slate, causing the slate to form  under the heat.

Brenda at work with her rock hammer

The heat from the molten intrusion allowed  for the separation of iron and formation of pockets of other minerals.

Here, as we advance towards Kingfield, we see evidence of greater pressure and heat on former beds of slate which have changed (metamorphosed) into a schist with criss-crossing crystal formation.

Here you have a better view of the schist and the crystals--A very pretty rock

Further towards Farmington, in New Vinyard, we stopped to gather samples of slate and pyrite crystals from an old slate quarry. Slate originates as mudstone and shale, which under pressure and heat redefined into a very compact rock which cleaves readily into sheets of desired sizes. It is frequently used as flagstone, roof covering, "blackboards', etc... and comes in different colors depending on mineral and elemental content. The slate found at roadcuts in Farmington are less green and more gray.

Shale outcrops just leaving Farmington on rt. 4 southbound.

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