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Thursday, 12 December 2013

When pumice comes to visit

In July 2012, a seamount in the area of the Kermadec Islands, between New Zealand and Fiji, began to erupt. The result was a huge raft of floating rock. We call that rock pumice.

We have been picking up a bit of pumice recently, just odd lumps here and there, but in the past few weeks. the coast of eastern Australia has been getting quite a share of it.

What's more, the pumice has been carrying passengers, so over the last couple of days, I have collected a few of these to share with you.

In the first shot, there is an Australian $2 coin, which is there as a scale: it is 2 cm (8/10 of an inch) across.

I didn't use a scale on the others, but the life forms will let you jump from one to another.

The passengers included gooseneck barnacles, but only on a few of them, and sadly, the barnacles came adrift as I was carrying the pieces home.

The main other passengers were bryozoans , also call polyzoans, as seen on the left. To get a scale, look at the tubeworms (probably Galeolaria) in that shot and below.

The last shot is just a closer look at the bryozoan.

I am busy right now, working on a project called Cornish Boy, but sooner of later, I will get around to Not Your Usual Rocks, when I will talk about pumice, the only rock that floats.

 And why does it float?  Wait for the book!


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