Apr 23, 2009

Outdoor Hour - focus on rocks

In this week's Outdoor Hour (#4) we are encouraged to pick a focus topic, to give our Nature Time a bit of direction for the next few weeks. Given Miss5's obsession with bringing home pocketfuls of rocks, I thought that would be a good place to start.

We went for a wander around the neighbourhood. We live in a hill suburb that was part of the post WWII housing boom in this country. I had a pretty good idea that if we ventured down one of the roads cut into the side of the hill we might get to see some exposed rock and perhaps discover what sort of rocks lie beneath our neighbourhood.

Sure enough, we found this lovely cutting only a block from our house. The road cutting is at least 40 years old, and possibly more than 60 (the suburb expanded in the 1960s, so the road may have gone in then, or it may be from the early days of the suburb in the mid 1940s).

Close-up of the rock layer

We've got no way of taking a rock sample, since we don't own a rock hammer or pick, and after emailing a geologist friend of mine, we aren't going to buy one. They are expensive pieces of equipment to have on hand for what might be a passing fancy in a 5 year old! However, she did suggest that a heavy household hammer and a heavy duty chisel in the hands of an adult would do the trick for most rocks, being careful of flying rock chips and shrapnel (i.e. wear safety goggles!).

So as yet, the rock remains unidentified, but at least we found it!

Then we wandered around to a nearby playground. The kids chased a magpie, rolled down the grassy hill, played on the swings and merry-go-round and generally had a good time.

While walking we also stopped to use our ears and heard little warbly birds which we think were probably silvereyes/waxeyes - since they were the birds we could see in the tree close to us.

Another fun trip out!

1 comment:

Barb said...

What a great idea for studying your local rocks and geology. I was thinking about all the things you could learn just by observing the rock layer in your cut away bank.

We have several rock collections going on at our house and the boys have been gathering them over the last five or six years. Rock identification is hard for me but if you get a proper field guide it is much easier.

I checked the link for the bird you saw and it is very pretty. Thanks for sharing your links this week.

Barb-Harmony Art Mom

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