the rock grows harder
Sunday, November 10 2013
I had a medium-grade hangover for much of the day. It sapped my ambition and eventually forced me back to bed in the late morning (after walking the dogs; Gretchen had an early shift at the bookstore). After a nap, though, I managed to face the day. Still, it was hard to muster the mental faculties for doing the stuff I should have been doing, so I pounded away at bedrock instead.
Down in the greenhouse, I've eliminated all of the easy rock and now I've run into a difficult layer of bluestone that is even less geometrically consistent than the layer of bluestone I'd encountered above it. That higher layer tended to break chaotically, but it did so in large generally-flat pieces, some of which were too large to remove without further work. This new layer is full of knotted clumps with layers that wrap around those clumps and then head off in unpredictable directions. It's possible to break it up, though it's rare to break loose chunks weighing more than ten pounds. Typically, pieces are much smaller than that, about the size of deck of cards. I remember this layer from when I did the excavation of the east half of the floor. Unfortunately, my experience there indicates that the rock just keeps getting harder as one goes down. Gradually the integral cracks (perhaps a legacy of flowing glaciers overhead) disappear and the rock must be broken or cut instead of simply split along existing fractures. Eventually, though, if one digs down deep enough, one encounters a thick seam of shale. I know that shale can't be too far away because it's exposed not too far down the escarpment about 100 feet to the east. I need to investigate those outcrops to better determine what I'm up against. It's possible a jackhammer would make quick work of the intervening bluestone, but it's also possible that there aren't enough years in a human lifetime to dig down to it.
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