For those of you wondering, “what in the world is chert?!?!” stick around or click on the link to become enchanted with the wonderful world of geology!
We’ve finally completed coring our first (technically second if you count fussy site U1458… :P) full site: U1459. Yay!
All that’s left to do for this site is:
- Downhole Logging of the deepest hole (U1459C)
- Catch up on data analysis
- Sampling party! (It’s really not what you think…)
If you have been following our Twitter posts, you probably know about our latest addition of coring an extra 70 m below our original depth of 330 mbsf (meters below sea floor). This was exciting news considering there was a possibility of hitting the Cretaceous somewhere in the bonus meters.
So what is chert?
- Chert is essentially a very hard rock made up of fine-grained (or microcyrstalline) silicon dioxide (SiO?). It “grows” within limestone (chalk) to form irregularly shaped nodules that can eventually combine to form acontinuous layer of chert within the other sedimentary layers.
- Chert used to have very interesting uses in the past. It has the ability to break with a conchoidal fracture that allows the edges to be shaped into very sharp edges. Pre-historic people took advantage of chert’s features to create arrowheads, knives, and other sharp tools. You may actually know a type of it by another name – flint! Another interesting use for chert was its use as fire starters. When chert strikes against iron pyrite or steel, it creates a spark that can well… start fires. In more modern times, this led to the creation of flint rock powered guns and campfire starters, and maybe my silly fear of accidentally striking 2 rocks and causing a massive fire(just me? okay…)