Science for Everyone

granite

Field Trip to the Maine Granite Industry Museum

Steve explains how the quarrymen drilled holes in the 1830's before the advent of steam drills. This was a 4 person job, with 3 "strikers" wielding 8 pound hammers, and one man seated on an iron box who was in charge of holding and turning the drill to chip out a 2.5" hole.

Steve explains how the quarrymen drilled holes in the 1830's before the advent of steam drills. This was a 4 person job, with 3 "strikers" wielding 8 pound hammers, and one man seated on an iron box who was in charge of holding and turning the drill to chip out a 2.5" hole.

Cait and I were down in Bar Harbor yesterday (April 24, 2014) and had a chance to stop by the Maine Granite Industry Historical Society Museum, which is tucked away just past Somesville on Mount Desert Island. The Museum was founded, curated, and is run by Steve Haynes, who is a fantastic wealth of knowledge about the quarrying process, and who, over the past 46 years, has personally collected and polished granite samples from all of Maine's quarries, interviewed tool boys who worked in the quarries, and collected historic photos and documents of the era. Steve is a stone carver himself, and he took time away from preparing granite memorial stones to step us through the quarrying process and to explain all of the tools that helped cut, shape, move, and polish the granite. We are looking forward to getting Steve out to Hurricane Island, and you should definitely visit the museum if you find yourself on Mount Desert Island! Thanks for everything Steve! You can read about Hurricane's history as a granite quarry town here.

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Hurricane Geology

Last weekend Bowdoin undergraduate students came to Hurricane, and I tagged along as they toured the different pocket beaches around the island. Although all of Hurricane's bedrock geology is granite, there are other types of (mostly igneous) rocks found on the island that traveled over from Vinalhaven and North Haven when the whole region was covered by a large glacier. Glacial till is characteristic because it is unsorted, which means that there are several different clast sizes and many rock types. The Flow-banded rhyolite, pictured below, was found in a pocket beach just east of Gibbon's Point. Flow-banded rhyolite is chemically equivalent to granite, in that it has high amounts of potassium and silica, but it formed in very different conditions. 

A professor holds out small clasts of Flow Banded Rhyolite,  

A professor holds out small clasts of Flow Banded Rhyolite,  

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