Tag Archives: machiasport

day 2238: in search of jasper.

south and east of the bad little falls in machias, you’ll find jasper beach in machiasport, maine.

of course, if you’re visiting jasper beach, you might rightly expect to find some jasper, but it occurred to us that none of us could identify jasper if it hit us on the head. which, i think, is the same reaction we had the last time we went to the beach. but, hey, it’s still a grand time looking for coole rocks even if they aren’t jasper. a grand time, that is, once you get past the fact that the ocean is take-your-breath-away freezing even in august. and the stone beach can be a little rough on tender feet 🙂

it seems that odin has inherited our humble love of rocks and, at least for now, enjoys strolls along rocky coastlines looking for Just The Right One.

you can find all sort of neat rocks, but which are jasper? well, it turns out, NONE! that’s right, according to the maine geological survey the red rocks on the beach are a volcanic rock called rhyolite and not actually jasper:

“Although Jasper Beach is named after the red volcanic stone that is common on the beach, that rock is not truly jasper. Jasper is a form of silica that is enriched in iron, whereas the red stone on Jasper Beach is a fine-grained volcanic rock called rhyolite. Its attractive appearance is also due to the polished surface formed by constant abrasion against sand grains.”

so, these fine specimens certainly aren’t jasper. or even rhyolite, but they’re still pretty neat ( bonus points will be awarded for helping me identify the rocks ).

odin, switching feet while balancing on a wet, slippery rock as the waves come and go. what could possibly go wrong ( thankfully, nothing, this time )!