Tag Archives: sandstone

Unusual Sandstone Formations

There’s no shortage of sandstone in the Sydney area, almost the entire extent of Garigal National Park sits on whats known as the Hawkesbury Sandstone. The Sydney 1:100 000 Geological Sheet classifies it as “Medium to course-grained quartz sandstone, very minor shale and laminite lenses” I wanted to highlight two sandstone formations, both of which are a bit of a mystery as to how they form.

I came across these formations on a trail run on a section of single track in Belrose that runs from the end of Ralston Ave down to the Bare Creek trail next to Bare Creek.

The first formation is called tessellated pavement.

tessellated pavement on the trail down from Ralston Ave to Bare Creek. Shoe for scale

There are a number of different types of tessellated pavement. The type I came across is seen on flat sections of sandstone that have been fractured into 4-6 sided geometric shapes. Some of the blocks are surrounded by deep grooves with rounded edges. It really looks like a man made road or path the way the blocks lock together. It’s not known how this structure forms.

The second formation is even more of a mystery.

Grooves and ridges on the trail. Is it rundkarren in sandstone?
The same formation with shoe for scale

It was on the same section of trail near the tessellated pavement. Found on a gently sloping section of sandstone, it had rows of deep grooves all running in the same direction from the top of the slope to the bottom. They looked like they could have been worn over many years by the trickle of water. Above the trail was a minor gully, there wasn’t any visible creek but it looked damp and swampy. In wetter times perhaps water could have drained slowly over the sandstone. This is all guessing, I couldn’t find any information on this type of formation. The closest I came was rillenkarren or rundkarren which is the weathering of similar channels in limestone by the slight acidity of the water dissolving the rock. Rillenkarren has sharper ridges and is thought to form out in the open while rundkarren is more rounded and thought to form under a superficial covering like sandy till, peat or a layer of plants and lichen.

Wikipedia

British geological survey

Speliogenisis

One Mans Funnies

Unusual Rock Formation

This is a collection of unusual structures on the underside of a small sandstone overhang. It’s made of different material than the surrounding sandstone, it’s a hard to the touch with no visible sand grains. Most of the surface is made of tiny nodules that almost look like condensation on a cold surface. In the center is a more prominent raised area that looks like a cast of an animal burrow.

Unusual formation in a sandstone overhang. Looks like a cast of an animal burrow. Camera cap for scale

It’s located at the base of a gully near a creek, it looks like it goes through wetting and drying cycles as rain runoff flows and drys. I wonder if it ¬†could be the slow build up of minerals that are carried in the water then are deposited as it drys out.

 

Wider view of the same area. The surrounding nodules are visible. The wet overhanging sandstone can be seen at the top left.