Do you know what a geode is?
Believe it or not you probably do. You know those pretty rocks that when cut in half are full of shiny crystals?
- A small cavity in rock lined with crystals or other mineral matter.
- A rock containing such a cavity.
Yep those are geodes.
This past weekend WizKid and I took a drive south to spend a couple of days with Grandpa and new Grandma. Wow I say like he got her off a showroom floor. Well she is pretty special but I promise Evelyn didn’t come with a rebate or five year bumper to bumper warrantee. She’s family by marriage now and well she’s pretty stinking awesome.
Evelyn moved to Florida after Dad took her to weddin’, from Arizona. Talk about culture shock right? Goodbye dry arid, high altitude; hello muggy, humid swampland. Too bad for the desserts rats, yay for us!
Well when Evie moved she brought all her stuff with her which included clothes, dishes, crafty stuff, antiques, rocks, furniture, quad runners..huh? Rocks? Oh yes rocks. She brought lots and lots of rocks. Not just your every day, run of the mill, kick-em-down the street rocks. She brought pyrite, crystals, minerals, thousand pound rocks of petrified wood and a lot of geodes; cracked and unbroken. As it happens, being Arizona is actually ABOVE sea level fossils and and stuff from days gone by is laying about all over the place. unlike here where it’s all pretty much under water.
So Evie has a whole crate full of wholly intact geodes and has been saving them for when WizKid could come down and crack some open. Which is exactly what we did this past weekend.
Let me tell you something about geodes. On average they’re pushing the senior citizen discount upwards from thousands to millions of years old; usually look like round balls of rocks and can range in size from really tiny to the size of a cave. Yes a cave. Look it it up.
Regardless of their age and size they’re hard, really hard, and in no mind towards cooperating when it comes to cracking one of those suckers open. It takes some serious whacking power to split them; something Grandpa and Grandma were more than prepared with.
I did tell you they were hard right? And those tools in Wiz Kid’s hands; uh huh, a five pound hand sledge and a pick hammer…and yes those are bare feet. The very adorable bare feet of my youngest off spring. The bare feet that took me nine painfully glorious months to make that cute. Bare feet that belong to a child who brought nothing more to wear than flip-fops.
Thus there were a few ground rules here:
1) There will be absolutely no breaking of off spring toes at any time. That goes for blood too. UH-UH!
2) At no time during the cracking of said Paleolithic rocks is the photographer or her (me and mine) camera to be hurt or damaged in any way.
3) For pete’s sake don’t hit the car! There’s only a year left on the lease for crying out loud.
Tools in hand, eye protection donned and ground rules established Wiz Kid set to break those geodes. Grandpa, who WAS wearing shoes, being the good Gramps that he is, offered my young-un some pearls of wisdom. “You wanna smack that right there son.”
“Use the Force Luke!”
One finger Zen. Don’t know what that is? (points to Mr. Sweet Butter), Ask him.
Well The Force didn’t work so Grandpa gave it a big strong manly whack. You know what that geode did? Did it break? Noooooo it bounced off the solid steel hammer and concrete pavement like a rubber ball.
“Wee look at me roll away!” I swear it was taunting them.
Well Grannie Evelyn has had a bit of experience with teaching these geodes who’s boss. She teamed up with Wiz Kid and showed him how it was done. One holding the splittin’ hammer, one holding the banging hammer, a few stubborn smacks and those two gave them geodes a right old “what for”.
Wiz Kid eventually got the hang of it and with some of that 13 year old determinatio, and strength that comes from doing 50 perfect push-ups each day; he smashed some of those million year old crystallized rocks clean open.
No, geodes are much like a box of chocolates, “you never know what you’re gonna get.” The more hollowed a center the more formed crystals they’ll contain. All of the ones Wiz Kid opened were solid and looked a lot like snow balls. Hence they’re actually called, “snowball geodes.”
(not to confused with actual snowballs. For clarifications see comments regarding density and mass as well as rules listed above.)
Wiz was hoping he would have one that had amethyst in it as many do but he was still thrilled with the snowballs. Some had a few large crystals in them. The look above, I think he was more bummed there was nothing else to smash.
Its kind of humbling knowing we were the first humans ever to lay eyes on the inside of these rocks. They’ve seen thousands, if not millions, of years of Earths history. The dinosaurs kicked them around and walked over them. They’ve seen man settle the land and through it all have remained. I almost felt bad to have destroyed them. But they tell us their story now and Wiz Kid simply loves them.
You can actually buy lots of unbroken geodes online for pretty cheap.
Happy to report no persons or objects, geodes not withstanding, were harmed in the cracking of the rocks.
Have you ever found anything unique in nature? Next time you’re out, look around and see what wondrous things may be laying about. Oh and wear shoes!
Enjoy. I’m history!