We might say that the earth has a spirit of growth; that its flesh is the soil, its bones the arrangement and connection of the rocks of which the mountains are composed, its cartilage the tufa, and its blood the springs of water.Leonardo da Vinci
Earth’s story is told most clearly in its rocks. There the layers of the past are revealed to us, viewing in the present. And each of those rocks is shaped by the elements, evolving over time into natural sculptures, often of great beauty.
So for Amy’s Lens Artists challenge this week I trawled my archives for images where the story of our earth can be ‘read’ in its geology. I’m certainly no geologist however, so these shots are chosen purely for aesthetic appeal and captioned with a similar level of ignorance! I’ll start fairly close to home, in England, before heading further afield.
The dramatically eroded Brimham Rocks, Yorkshire, England
Cheddar Gorge in south west England – our answer to the Grand Canyon!
Durdle Door, Dorset; part of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. Here coastal erosion has exposed rock formations from the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.
The coast at Arnarstapi on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Iceland
Gerðuberg, a row of perfectly shaped hexagonal basalt columns on the Snӕfellsnes Peninsula in Iceland. That country could be a geology lesson all by itself!
We can’t talk about earth’s story as told in its rocks without mentioning the Grand Canyon. This is a very old slide of the view from Point Imperial on the North Rim.
And this is an equally old slide of a flight over the Grand Canyon.
While we’re on old slides, this is in Monument Valley, Utah, while my featured photo was taken in Arches National Park in the same state and shows Turret Arch.
This is La Ventana Arch in El Malpais National Monument, New Mexico.
The dramatic view from Sandstone Bluffs, also in El Malpais National Monument
The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, nearly as dramatic as its much larger namesake
Quilotoa crater in the Ecuadorean Andes, created of course by a volcanic eruption.
Semi-abstract reflections of rock layers in another crater lake, Mount Paektu, North Korea
Rock formations in Bai Tu Long Bay, Vietnam
Touched by human hand
But people are part of earth’s story too, of course. Here are a few final shots of places where people have literally left their mark on the earth.
Petroglyphs at Twyfelfontein in Namibia
Petroglyphs in Bandelier National Monument, New Mexico
Pictograph in one of the caves at Gila Cliffs, New Mexico
Register Rock, Wyoming; here travellers on the Oregon Trail camped for the night and recorded their names and the dates of their passage.