ultramarinus – beyond the sea

Posts tagged “Ordovician

TALE OF ROCKS, Petra, Jordan

2006.05.21.

The signature quartz sandstone of Petra provides the basis for every single monuments and structures in the ancient city.  The entire city was built by carving into the various sandstones of the region, mainly from the Ordovician (the pale grey and white Disi Sandstone) and Cambrian era (the pale white to red Umm Ishrine Sandstone).  These types of sandstone are common throughout Jordan, but mostly remain underground.  Due to geological activities, these colourful sandstone are being exposed at Petra, Wadi Rum and Dana.  The rhythmic deposition of sand and minerals 540 million years ago have brought us the stunning patterns of the Petra rocks. Likely the carving and excavating properties of Petra’s stone was one of the reasons why the nomadic Nabataeans in the Arabian Desert decided to stay and build their capital city at this location.  The other main reason, perhaps the most crucial one, was the site’s potential to secure water from the surrounding mountains, where winter flash floods would occur after heavy rain.  Today, apart from the majestic Treasury, Monastery and Royal Tombs, most visitors would hardly notice the water channels, underground cisterns, particle settling pools, and mountain reservoirs that once served as the essential infrastructure for the survival of ancient Petra.

rocksApart from its suitability for carving, the rocks of Petra are just simply pleasing to the eye.

06ME37-27Wind and water have played their parts in shaping the rocks in Petra.

06ME37-36But it was the sand deposits and distribution of minerals such as iron and manganese oxides that gave the unique colours to the Petra rocks.

06ME40-22The interesting rock patterns appear in tombs and on building facades.

06ME40-02Many rock patterns appear like abstract paintings.

rock pattern 18 or perhaps Parma ham?

rock pattern 17The colours look brilliant under the right lighting.

rock pattern 16Undulating rock formation.

rock pattern 8The colour ranges from red to orange to brown.

rock pattern 7Some patterns get really complicated.

06ME39-18Another complex pattern.

rock pattern 3Some repetitive rock patterns look like a Futurist painting.

rock pattern 5I spent quite a bit of film (still negative film and positive slides back in 2006) photographing the stone of Petra.

rock pattern 1Not all stone is red and orange.

rock pattern 6Zooming into the rocks.

rock pattern 10Zoom in view.

rock pattern 11Zoom in view.