Flinty

The National Museum of Copenhagen is filled with flint tools from the pre-metal millennia. This stuff makes for very sharp edges. The stone of Europe’s Stone Age, flint stones were also used to start fires and spark guns into the 19th century. The Baltic beaches were littered with nodules of this dark chert. It’s a finely-grained quartz, not, as I first thought, obsidian (which is volcanic glass). This fist-sized and rather knuckle-like piece was my Swedish souvenir, found on a beach in Malmo. Here’s the verso and recto of a piece I split on the Northumberland coast a few years ago when my dearheart said the original piece was too large to carry back on the plane.The white coating here is typical. According to this site, “The thick white crust, the cortex, is not made of chalk, but of fine-grained opaline silica.”

3 Responses to “Flinty”


  1. 1 Ellen November 9, 2017 at 8:23 am

    I am so glad I am not the only one who brings back rocks in their suitcase. I have some similar to second pic that I picked up on a hike in England.

    • 2 mthew November 9, 2017 at 9:03 am

      We’re definitely not the only ones, and we’re not even geologists. They probably take extra bags and get very curious looks from security.

  2. 3 elwnyc November 9, 2017 at 11:02 pm

    I try to find interesting (small) rocks wherever I go on vacation – I bring them to a geologist friend. He’s been able to use some of them in his classes.


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