reaching the shale
Sunday, September 21 2014
It was a gorgeous sunny day, with sun and higher temperatures than have been the norm of late. Celeste the Kitten still seems to be suffering from some problem with her left leg, though at least it isn't paralyzed.
Down in the greenhouse, I finally gave up on the few protruding rocks along the north end of the excavation and turned my attention to the generally-flat surface I've been clearing. The standing water was mostly gone, though it still had some muck on it. Hitting it with the pointy tip of my jackhammer, it disintegrated easily, demonstrating that I'd reached a layer of weak shale. It came up in occasionally big pieces, from two to three inches in thickness, and all of shale (as opposed to bluestone). This was much like the rock I'd encountered directly under the soil back when I'd first dug out the greenhouse foundation. The big difference was that it contained fewer cracks, fewer (and thinner) seams of clay, and no evidence of any sort of macroscopic life (either worms or roots). I know from looking at the rock profile exposed in the nearby escarpment that once I enter a non-trivial amount of shale, the rock remains shale for many vertical feet. If I've actually dipped below the bluestone, it means I've accomplished a goal I've been wanting to accomplish since 2011 (and one that I'd known I'd need a jackhammer to pull off). And if I am in the shale, it means excavation from now on will go much more easily. It won't depend as much on having a jackhammer, though of course now that I have a jackhammer, that will make it even easier.
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