Weekly Photo Challenge – Transient – Crinoid Stems

Second Hosie Limestone - Seafield Castle Beach

Firstly, a quick note about the images, I took the first 3 photos. The featured photo is a view of the Second Hosie Limestone, on Seafield Castle Beach, near Kirkcaldy, looking south over the Firth of Forth towards East Lothian. The second and third photos show crinoid stem fragments (white) in the muddy (dark) Second Hosie Limestone. The last two photos are public domain images, the first of which shows a museum specimen of a full crinoid/sea-lily, the second portrays how geologists imagine that sea-lilies would have looked like.

Crinoid Fragments from the Second Hosie Limestone
Crinoid Fragments from the Second Hosie Limestone

These crinoid fragments are relatively transient, in the grand scheme of things, they once flourished on the seafloor, approx 323 million years ago, they then died and the stems broke up (photos 2 and 3). At this point in time, this part of what we now call Scotland, lay somewhere near the equator. The crinoids were then buried (probably to a depth of many thousands of feet), in an organic rich calcareous mud (note black colour of the matrix of the rock). Over a period of millions of years, the limestone was gradually uplifted again, and is at the present time, now getting eroded again, and the sea-lily/crinoid stem fragments are once more about to return to the sea floor. This whole process has taken approx 325 million years, which seems an incredibly long time, but is just a transient moment compared to the age of the universe (13.8 billion years).

More Crinoid Fragments from the Second Hosie Limestone
More Crinoid Fragments from the Second Hosie Limestone

 

Example of a Museum Fossilised Crinoid-Sea Lily
Example of a Museum Fossilised Crinoid-Sea Lily

 

What a Sea Lily is thought to have looked like
What a Sea Lily is thought to have looked like

 

And modern human beings are even more ‘transient’ in nature, having been around for just a mere 200, 000 years!!

 

 

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32 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge – Transient – Crinoid Stems

      1. I took geology classes in college for fun. My dad did lapidary work as a hobby and I have continued with his passion . I’m a bit of a rockhound! I would love to be able to carve into rocks. I have not done a lot of research…that is a winter project! I think I need a diamond bit for my Dremel…??

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      2. I’m guessing that you’re right about the diamond bit Roda, I know very little about lapidary, or any othat side of geology ie gems and the such like. Mind you, it sounds like a fantastic project to carry out some stone carvings, and polish them afterwards. The closest I’ve got to that side, is making thin sections of rocks (30 micron thick slices of rock stuck on a glass slide – these can be viewed down a microscope, to identify minerals, and more importantly, tell the diagenetic history of the rock). To cut up the rocks in the first place, you use a diamond saw blade 🙂

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      3. Diagenesis of rocks, especially sedimentary rocks, is one of my favourite aspects of geology, you can see so much of a rocks history, just from one thin section – it’s something I really miss about not working in that environment any more.

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    1. That’s how I started out with my love of geology, but thankfully for us in the UK, I didn’t have to contend with ticks or any other wee beasties! Hopefully your daughter’s interest will remain with her 🙂

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    1. It is an amazing thing when you find some fossils Valentina, as you say, they all tell you a story about not only what life was like back then, but also the type of environment that the rock came from. In this particular case, warm tropical clean shallow seas. Which is a wee bit different to the Scottish coastline nowadays! Lol! 🙂

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      1. Sorry for taking so long to get back to you Valentina.
        Warm tropical seas existed at that time in this part of what we now call Scotland, because this bit of land was on the edge of a much bigger continent, and lay in the position of roughly the equator. Since then, this super continent has broken up, due to plate tectonics and continental drift, and this bit of land, or seabed, drifted northwards. At one point in time, these limestones would have been buried under hundreds of feet of other sediments, but the whole mass of rock has been uplifted due to mountain building processes, and the covering rock worn away to expose the present crinoid beds on a beach in Fife 🙂
        Hopefully that makes sense! 🙂

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      2. Don’t worry about the late answer Andy, we are all busy. I appreciate your answer and yes, it does make sense. The world is constantly evolving and in the near future it might not be any longer as we know it today.

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      3. The world is certainly constantly evolving Valentina, the present sea level rises we see today, have happened many times before, but with mankinds help, we are unfortunately speeding up this process 😦

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  1. How interesting! We just shared lunch with another RVing couple and discussed the challenges of travel here in the western U.S. a hundred years ago. When we see fossilized rock, 100 years is merely a blip in the ages. Last August I visited the Petrified Forest in Arizona and found it immensely interesting.
    Nice collection of photographs.

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    1. Thanks Ingrid 🙂
      That’s amazing that you were recently discussing the difficulties of travelling in western US a hundred years ago, I watched a video only last week, about Horatio Nelson Jackson – he was the first American to drive right the way across the US. A small version is available on You Tube, but I think it may be pirated

      I’ve seen photos of the Petrified Forest, it must have been amazing to see it in real life! That forest is almost exactly 100 million years younger than my crinoid stems 🙂

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      1. Sorry for taking so long to reply Ingrid, but it’s a bizarre thing, once you’ve worked within geology, especially the stratigraphy side, you tend to think of 100 million years as being a relatively short time period. We tended to think of rocks that were less than 65 million years old, ie the Tertiary, as not being “real” rocks! Lol! 🙂

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  2. Very interesting! I love fossils and other reminders of how little time we humans have been here for. And I love to imagine what it must have been like on earth in other eras. Thank you for this and what a great response to the photo challenge.

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    1. Sorry for taking so long to reply Anne.
      My wife gets infuriated with me constantly trying to interpret our past from any rocks we happen to see! Lol! I’m glad you’re a kindred spirit, we can learn so much about our past, pre human times, from the rocks around us. A famous geological saying, which is the reverse of what we are saying, but is equally true (and a key geological concept), is
      “The Present is the Key to the Past”
      ie what we observe happening nowadays, can be found within the geological history of the earth.

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      1. The worrying part, Anne, of that particular quote is that during every major extinction event that has happened previously, it’s always the most specialised creatures that die off first, it’s the simple creatures that survive – which doesn’t give the human race much chance!! But on the bright side, a catastrophic event isn’t due for about another 50 to 60 million years yet! 🙂

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      2. I suppose it all comes down to the idea of relative amounts of time, Anne. Humans have been around for a mere 200,000 to 300,000 years, which geologically speaking is less than a blink of the eye! We’ve not had to cope with any real major catastrophes, but hopefully you are right, and our ancesters will continue on for millions of years into the future 🙂

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      3. I take your point. I was thinking that the humanoid species that we have evolved from have been here for longer and surviving. I read a book about horses and their evolution which ran alongside ours and that is where I came up with the idea we had survived drastic climatic change. Horses have also evolved to something very different as have we. Anyway…I hope we will find solutions and also be able to evolve to deal with change. Thanks for your replies to my comments.

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      4. Your most welcome for the replies, it’s what makes wordpress such a great platform for bloggers 🙂 (I sound like a salesman for wordpress! Lol!)
        That’s fascinating about the evolution of horses, I must read up about the subject, I know about some types of very wee fossils, ie foraminifera, pollen and spores etc, but very little about bigger animals. From the quick look I had just a moment ago, I see what you mean, the first horses were basically the size of dogs, which is amazing!!
        And I’m sure the human race will eventually sort its self out, so we start looking after our planet, and fellow animals, and develop solutions to meteorite impacts, or massive volcanic outpourings! 🙂

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