03.08.2022 Gneiss Swirls

It’s hard to sense just how hot the core of the earth is and what it is like where two tectonic plates meet, one subducting below the other. The heat so intense that rock melts and swirls into patterns such as we see here and in the rocks I posted yesterday.

At one time I could have photographed this from close up but after a few accidents the potholes have been fenced off from above so I had to shoot this with the 100-400 doubled for framing. But that resulted in a reasonably sharp image throughout where closer would have required either stacking or a tilt/shift lens which I don’t own. This was the more interesting of the abstract patterns but there are many to choose from.

The potholes are created over time.ย  At first by the motion of the water flowing over the surface of the rock bed removing the softer areas and loose grain until a depression is formed.ย  A rock, or in this case two, gets settled into the depression and the continuing flowing motion over an eon or two wears away more stone until a hole is formed, permanently capturing the rock, water swirling it around the hole, and enlarging it.

The area is called the Glacial Potholes but, as one geologist pointed out, they are actually “post-glacial” since they were not formed until after the glacier had receded.


About Steve Gingold

I am a Nature Photographer with interests in all things related. Water, flowers, insects and fungi are my main interests but I am happy to photograph wildlife and landscapes and all other of Nature's subjects.
This entry was posted in Abstract, ecology, Intimate Landscape, Landscape, Nature Photography, Patterns in Nature, Western Massachusetts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to 03.08.2022 Gneiss Swirls

  1. Great swirls. They look like something I’d expect to see out west. The pothole’s attractive, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful abstract. Too bad it was fenced out though. Thatโ€™s becoming more and more common as more people are out in nature and get into accidents.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jet Eliot says:

    Fascinating to see these photos, Steve, and the magnificence of earth. Very gneiss. I thought this was from Yellowstone until I read your tags, will go see yesterday’s post.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Peter Klopp says:

    Your post clearly demonstrates that inorganic material can also be fabulous. The shapes of the once molten rock are very attractive.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. shoreacres says:

    I’m fascinated by the smooth interior walls of the pothole. I’d love to run my hand over it; it looks even smoother than some of the water-tumbled rocks I’ve collected over the years. I didn’t say so when I saw your previous photo, but the first image looks for all the world like unbaked cream cheese brownies after a knife has created the swirls in the batter.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, now you’ve done it. Waffles and maple syrup followed by cream cheese brownies. Num num.
      Yes, those walls are very smooth. Sadly I can’t go down there and sample the texture but it does seem as polished as the stones that come out of one of the machines.


  6. bluebrightly says:

    Well written, Steve – you actually made everything clear. It’s always hard to imagine those geological forces in action. I remember a spot somewhere in Maine with potholes like that, and I could look at them all day. There’s something about rounded rock. I hope you keep going back – it’s not too far, is it?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Eliza Waters says:

    Those potholes are something special. Living by them all my life, I tend to take them for granted, just like I do Chapel Falls. Thanks for putting them in the spotlight in order to appreciate just how marvelous they are!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad that you enjoyed this, Eliza. I imagine you visited them close up before the fence was erected. I’d love to be able to do that now but it is dangerous.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Eliza Waters says:

        Yes, a stupid few party-ers ruined it for the rest of us, alas. We used to take the kids down there and there were plenty of safer areas to explore. It was like a bunch of mini-swimming pools. ๐Ÿ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s the sad reality at so many of the popular natural spots in recent years. Stupid self-endangering activity is bad enough but the damage/defacing done to ancient locations is downright criminal.


  8. Gneiss is pretty hard stuff, too, so imagining it swirling fluidly like that helps convey the intense heat. Beautiful patterns. I saw potholes like that drilled into a little island in the Mohawk River, in Little Falls, NY. Also really dense, hard rock but I donโ€™t remember what kind.

    Liked by 1 person

    • These are among the largest potholes in the world and I believe one is the largest…at least in the U.S. The power and strength of water’s flow literally can move mountains…and create holes as large as caverns.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Todd Henson says:

    I love the bit of geology lesson here. It’s been so long since I really stopped to think about these things. Seeing the pothole has me wondering if this same sort of feature is what causes the holes that whitewater kayaks can become stuck in when the current is strong.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Ann Mackay says:

    The swirls are a dramatic illustration of the state of the once-molten rock. Something that’s hard to imagine otherwise. I like the potholes with their captive rocks. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Interesting! Love the pothole used as a container for the rocks!

    Liked by 1 person

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