shale rock


Hey @sixpenceee @sixpenceeeblog , last semester I went on a field trip with one of my geology classes where we study the sediments and structures of rocks. One of the places we visited is in Chestnut Ridge in Orchard Park. This location is known as “Eternal Flame”, because in a crevice in the rock behind a waterfall, there is a fire that never goes out. The reason a fire is possible is because of the surrounding rock called shale, which contains a high methane content. Many researchers do not know why it only occurs in this one particular area, perhaps because there is a bubble that doesn’t allow much oxygen to enter. 

100% scientific grading of all (most) Dragon Age companions/advisors


Alistair: Is a sweetheart who does his best and is a fantastic tank and has great hair, great sense of humor, I just want to hug him, rating: A+

Dog: Faithful, loyal, pees on things, (Happy bark!), rating: A+

Leliana: looks like a cinnamon roll but can actually kill you, likes the way you do your hair, is a sweetheart, rating: A+

Morrigan: will put a spell on you (and now you’re hers), #1 witch, becomes a great mom even though her own upbringing wasn’t that great, rating: A+

Oghren: goes into the Deep Roads to try to find his wife, doesn’t give a flying nug, rating: A+

Shale: is a giant rock, great voice, great backstory, rating: A+

Sten: so Qunari he makes the Arishok look small-time, learns over time to respect the Warden, rating: A+

Wynne: #1 Grandma, great healer, is playing the long game so she can troll everyone in Asunder, rating: A+

Zevran: Best accent, beautiful hair and skin complexion, “for you I would march into the Black City itself, never doubt it!”, rating: A+

Loghain Mac Tir: honestly you don’t have a daughter like Anora unless you’re kicking ass and taking names yourself, rating: A+


Anders: is fucking adorable, will save all cats, ~Anders’ spicy shimmy~, #1 healer but seriously make him an Arcane Warrior for a good time, rating: A+

Justice: Fade spirit just doing his best, wants to help everyone, looks good in plate, rating: A+

Nathaniel Howe: Loves Amaranthine, defends his family but also learns to see their faults, is definitely gonna bang my Cousland on top of his dad’s grave, rating: A+

Oghren: “You joined the Grey Wardens?  Really?”  “You said it would be hot!”  “WE WERE ROLEPLAYING!” rating: A+

Sigrun: oh my god she’s so cute but also smashes darkspawn in the face, DESERVES A BETTER ENDING for sure, rating: A+

Velanna: Goodnight shemlen b/c Velanna is coming for you, doesn’t give any shits, is prob. one of the biggest badasses in the series, rating: A+


Anders: WAS RIGHT, fuck the templars, how can one feathermage be so pure, has loved Hawke for three years oh my god? voiced by Adam Howden who donated money to a GoFundMe for my sister’s sick cat (true story), rating: A+

Aveline: WILL TANK ALL OF THEDAS, do no harm but take no shit, will beat Hawke’s ass if necessary, “real nice night for an evening!” rating: A+

Bethany: who’s the best BETHANY’S THE BEST, Hawke’s #1 biggest most supportive fan, definitely best haircare routine and the most pure, rating: A+

Carver: does his best, actually secretly loves Hawke deep down inside, they probably built pillow forts together as kids and were def. best friends, rating: A+

Fenris: best spiky broody elf in any franchise, prob. the smartest individual in the entire Kirkwall Crew honestly, trying his hardest to move on, voiced by Gideon Emery and everything that guy touches turns to gold, rating: A+

Isabela: #1 pirate queen, has a heart of gold and loves Hawke, she just loves Hawke so much????? she’s going to let the Kirkwall Crew live happily ever after on her pirate ship I’m so proud of her, rating: A+

Merrill: dESERVED BETTER in every respect, just wants to help everyone??? Loves Mahariel and Tamlen so mucH?? Merrill/FHawke is such a pure ship omg, rating: A+

Sebastian Vael: definitely tries his best and wants so hard to live up to his name, will shot you with bow, makes that outfit look honestly stylin’, #1 accent in all of the Free Marches, rating: A+

Varric: Actual #1 Bro™, there is no bro who has ever bro’d harder, HIS FRIENDSHIP WITH HAWKE IS honestly, probably the best friendship in any game, like this if you cry every tim, rating: A+


Blackwall: Can we discuss that beard tho, just doing his best, honestly the best banter, “What can a grey warden do?” “save the fucking world if pressed”, rating: A+

Cassandra: holy shit is htere a bigger badass in Thedas no there is not, did you guys watch the anime holy shit.  if she met Aveline it would be the unstoppable force meets the immovable object honestly, rating: A+

Cole: pure spirit child, “he’s only 12 years old and already more psychic than his dad” - dril, dies a lot when he’s in my party i’m sorry Cole, rating: A+

Dorian: actual most  styling man out there, had to leave Tevinter because he was so damn stylish he was putting the rest of the Imperium to shame, oh my god he’s just like, best friends with your Inquisitor and it’s so?? pure? rating: A+

Iron Bull: lmao it’s over for you if you get in trouble with this guy also the Chargers are basically? great? and he’s so good to Krem?? voiced by a guy who loves this job and loves video games, rating: A+

Sera: is gonna throw bees at your head and is looks good in plaidweave, deserves better, most unique accent in the series, has good taste in ladies, rating: A+

Solas: it was Egg who caused the trouble but honestly he’s doing his best, gets approval anytime you’re nice to like anyone, GREAT artist, i heard there was a secret chord that david played and it pleased the lord but you don’t really care for music do you? it goes like this the fourth the fifth the minor fall the major lift the baffled king composing hallelujah???  rating: A+

Varric: guess who’s back, back again, Varric’s back, and tbh he’s just so good and he helps everyone and is helping the inquisitor b/c he cares so much, rating: A+

Vivienne: WOW has anyone ever looked so goddamn gorgeous, probably not, way too stylish for you plebeians, i only wish i could raise myself to her level, but i also don’t want her to ever lower her standards which she would have to do to even talk to me, rating: A+

Cullen: has been through a lot of shit and come out surprisingly chill, admits his mistakes, loves dogs like all good Fereldans, definitely got that lip scar from Hawke though, rating: A+

Josephine: honestly the best fashion sense in Skyhold, those ruffles though, is very pure?? I just want to cuddle her on the couch forever, make her some rice krispy treats and then take her on a vacation because she deserves it, rating: A+

Leliana: Murderpope best pope, rating: A+

Here Barbie and her friend found an outcrop showing some turbation. In particular, this is weather-related turbation. The water in the area was down the hill a ways, so it had no effect on this stone. It is no form of human or animal turbation, so the last thing it must be is weather.

Barbie’s travel partner theorizes that possibly this is due to freezing rain or snow. The trees are encircled enough that this is probably not wind, but if enough rain or freezing moisture gets into the cracks of the rocks, it can expand and break them apart. Since the shape is rough and uneven, and is more “scooped” rather than “snapped,” it is not some kind of pressure or force that broke this apart. This is time and weathering.

Going based on the shape, color, and the stone common to the area, this looks to be mostly shale, with a mix of some limestone underneath. The shale on top is darker and the stone beneath is lighter, signaling that at one point this used to be an entirely separate layer rather than the mixed rock it has been pressed into now. So the area beneath the surrounding stone is a victim of force and pressure, but the weathered break in the stone is not. The patchwork of nearly-porous indents in the top surface is more evidence of rain altering the rock rather than force.

I feel so bad for any geology fans out there with tags full of alien rock people like “fuck I just want to read about shale convergence in metamorphic rock who is this square lady god fukkin dammit”


Leaves, fissile shale layers, and a slowly flowing stream.

People who say fracking instead of freaking seem so passionate about the process of drilling and injecting fluid into the ground at high pressures in order to fracture shale rocks and release the natural gas inside.

Pyrite suns

Some pretty cool things can happen as a dark and stinky organic rich mud filled with the life forms of rot slowly turns into rock in a multiplicity of processes known under the umbrella term of diagenesis. In the first stage water gets squished out of the pore spaces in between the sediment grains as the weight of further sediment being laid down above compresses it, and it often has dissolved elements such as iron and sulphur in it.

In the boundary zone (if there is one, which is not always the case) between anoxic mud and oxygenated water, a stratigraphic hierarchy of microorganisms are at work, each squeezing energy out of the excretory products of the one above along its own chemical and enzymaytic pathways. As you go deeper into the mud the reactions get progressively more anoxic, and ions that started out oxidised such as sulphates get reduced to sulphide. At that point they join with any iron in the solution to produce pyrite, often with the direct help of archaea, in this case as discs of radial fibrous crystals that grew outwards pushing the surrounding mud/shale away as they expanded.


Image credit: Bijoux et Mineraux

Puns of Episode 55: Umbrasyl

For future reference, just because one is named after a rock does not mean that they will have any more luck investigating a rock than anyone else.

  • (1:53:45) Grog: How could you have a staff and not give it a name?  Shale: Only men name their staffs.
  • (2:11:00) Sam: Grab Shale.  Shale’s a rock.
  • (3:40:22) Sam: Oh gosh this is a ……critical roll. 

Hardraw Force Falls in Yorkshire - thought to be England’s highest unbroken waterfall. The falls hit shale at the bottom and the cliff is made of sandstone and limestone layers.