Schist Happens: How I Fell In Love With A Bunch of Rock

It’s called Vishnu Schist. It’s estimated at 1.8-2.2 BILLION years old. It was waiting for me at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

So....black...

So….black…

It’s black–black as tar-covered ravens in a coal mine at midnight. It’s shiny. At river’s edge, it’s fluted into perforated columns I wanted to climb into.

So....shiny....

So….shiny….

This was, of course, impossible, because A) I was paddling past the schist with 6 other people, and B) since the air temperature was around 115 degrees, the schist would have branded me all over.

Still, what a way to go.

Know what else is amazing about schist, aside from its age and its looks? It’s made from metamorphosed limestone. Think about it: WHITE rock created from the bodies of once-LIVING sea creatures turns, with enough time and heat and pressure, into this:

There's even a word for that shine: "schistocity."

There’s even a word for that shine: “schistocity.”

Talk about a metaphor that rocks!

There are other rocks in Grand Canyon to love, and I will write more about them in the coming days. But right now I’m still reveling in the memories of that sleek, black, geological poetry.

2 thoughts on “Schist Happens: How I Fell In Love With A Bunch of Rock

  1. I too was mesmerized by Vishnu Schist while boating the canyon some years ago. I especially loved the contrast, or the Great Uncomformity, as the strata overlies the schist, charging the imagination with wondering what happened in those missing hundreds of millions of years. Thanks for your post, it’s good to know others are inspired too.

    • Yes! I have a picture of my hand spanning the millions of missing years in the Great Unconformity–another incredibly cool reality that is also a great metaphor. Will probably blog about that later. Rock on.

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