Pretty Rock Photos

Over the past few weeks, I have been taking pictures of rocks. Hundreds of pictures of rocks. I often take two or three dozens photos of a single rock, photographing it from every angle before cutting it or crushing it. Then, I photograph the pieces before I pulverize or sub-sample them further for chemical analysis.

I am photographing these rocks for science. I focus on the features of the rocks I am trying to record. Yet, however scientific my photography, I am realizing that there is also an element of art. I sometimes stop and angle a rock up just a little more… or I center it better in the frame of the camera. There is no scientific reason why I need to make these small, aesthetic adjustments. They just make the photographs look a little better, which I guess adds an element of art to my science.

Some of my rock photos are visually quite stunning. I am no photographer, so the credit goes to the beautiful rocks. I thought I would share a few of my favorite recent photographs. These are all rocks from Oman. Some of them are real lookers… though maybe I just think so because I am fond of rocks. In any case, I hope you enjoy!


Evelyn is a geologist, writer, traveler, and skeptic residing in Cape Town, South Africa with frequent trips back to the US for work. She has two adorable cats; enjoys hiking, rock climbing, and kayaking; and has a very large rock collection. You can follow her on twitter @GeoEvelyn. She also writes a geology blog called Georneys.

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  1. The first one reminds me of granola…but it’s time for breakfast. ;-) The others remind me of Jackson Pollack paintings.

    Very attractive work, Evelyn!

  2. You know what would make these photos even better? If you put top hats on the rocks. I’m a firm believer that everything looks better with a top hat on it.

    Very nice pictures. I would like to see more.

  3. I’m glad at least some of you like the photos! I’ll try to post more soon… I’m currently working ~10-12 hour lab days (weekends, too!) and am exhausted when I get home, but I should have a little time off on Saturday. You know, because I have to do laundry sometime.

    Non-believer: These are all rocks from the Oman Ophiolite. An ophiolite is a fragment of uplifted ocean crust. My thesis focuses on how the rocks of the ophiolite alter, specifically how they alter to carbonate minerals. So, that’s why these rocks look beaten-up- they are! Ocean rocks do not belong at Earth’s surface, so they get very beaten-up when exposed to air and freshwater.

    The first rock is a highly-altered peridotite coated in some kind of carbonate- I haven’t determined the mineralogy yet but I’ll know soon. Peridotite is the stuff the Earth’s mantle is made of… it’s a rock from deep inside the Earth. Very uncommon at Earth’s surface, but actually most of the planet is made up of peridotite. Peridotite *definitely* doesn’t belong at Earth’s surface, so that’s why it alters so quickly and in such interesting ways… The texture of the carbonate on this rock is really interesting… I believe it’s a precipitation texture. We call this texture “dinosaur teeth”… a very technical term :-).

    The second rock (the round one) is a peridotite nodule that I found embedded in talc and serpentine- I think this is a piece of peridotite that was preserved in a shear region of a fault. Talc is very soft and slippery, so while the surrounding peridotite got squished in the shearing, this nodule (and dozens of others like it) survived and became rounded. The lime green coating on the outside is a mixture of talc and serpentine. the inside was once peridotite but has since been altered- the black rim is completed altered to serpentinite, we have no idea what the whitish rim is yet, and the yellow interior is relatively fresh peridotite (well, at least compared to the exterior).

    The final “Christmas Rock” (white/green/red) is carbonate (probably magnesite, the white stuff), serpentine (the green stuff), and probably altered, oxidized fragments of peridotite (the red stuff).

    Hope that helps… I wonder if the above comment makes any sense to the non-geologist :-). When I’m more rested, I’ll try to write up more about peridotite… it is my favorite rock, after all!

  4. Those are gorgeous! One of my favorite classes I took in college was geology. I’m fascinated by the amazing variations of all the different types. Anyway, beautiful rocks! :-)

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