Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Mull April 2017: Some textures of Mull and Iona

Being surrounded by bold landscapes and wild seascapes, it's easy to ignore some of the detail closer by. Quite often the textures and patterns under your nose are just as interesting. Here are a few that caught my eye on Mull.
Barnacles and seaweed by the pontoon at Ulva Ferry.
I'm not a Geologist but we were travelling with one and John was able to explain the morphology and origin of the rocks we were seeing. The area of Mull around Fionnphort is characterised by pink Ross of Mull Granite and this gave the cliffs a rosy glow when the sun was on them. Rocks on the beach had some interesting grey striations caused by a darker mineral cutting across the pink granite.
I call them grey striations but to geologists they are a secondary  intrusive rock which rejoices in the wonderful name of “porphyritic microgranodiorite”. Of course, how could you mistake it for anything else?

Here are some of the many pebbles that make up the shingle beach on the southern tip of Iona where St Columba supposedly landed after sailing from Ireland. Search the mosaic and see if you can find any of the yellow-green serpentine marble stones that are common here. But whatever you do, don't confuse them with the much more common epidote-green pebbles which are much more common. The Iona marble is yellowish; the epidote is pistachio green. Got it? Good. And I don't know why we've got yellow print and dots on this bit. Strange.

A nice collection of lichens covering pink Ross of Mull granite.
Basaltic columns on Staffa. More on their origins in another post - possibly.
The columns are not all vertical. Movement after their formation 'squished' them into various shapes.
Neither are they all hexagonal. Count the varying number of sides in this photograph if you'd like something to do.
Light and wave patterns on the Sound of Iona
No, not more basalt from Staffa but the breast feathers of a Shag. You might think that Shags are all black but, as the photo shows, there is a green undertone to their colour.
And now for something completely different? Any guesses as to what it is?
It's a detail of a wire statue of St Columba in Iona Abbey. A total contrast to its surroundings and I wasn't sure about it the first time I saw it. I went back to it a couple of times and, I'm afraid, it just doesn't work for me there. Maybe if it were somewhere else more modern? To me it adds a discordant note, without adding anything. Having said that, I did like the intricate tracery of the wires and can appreciate the skill and artistry behind it. I'm sure every home has something like this: a gift that you aren't too keen on that you need to put on display somewhere out of the way.

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