I get all kerfuffled and can't figure out what to call it.
If you don't already know this: Earth (which I have recently decided to re-name The Music Planet) is the most amazing thing of all. Can't we just be in awe and treat her right? We need to. Out of simple respect and awe, I tell you.
On the coast of the Pacific ocean north of Santa Cruz, California there's a small unassuming beach known as Bean Hollow. It is here that I'm pretty sure the aliens landed thousands of years ago and became embedded in the rock and have never been able to escape back to their home.
At least this is what I think when I go there. So interesting. So incredible. Go there. To rekindle your awe of this amazing planet. It's not the Grand Canyon. It's not Mount Everest. It's just Bean Hollow and your jaw will drop open.
You have to be a little bit part mountain goat to crawl up a short cliff and your balance has to be pretty decent to clamber over rocks. Then you crest the hill and below you just at the edge before the waves are these amazing rocks. What the...?
My daughter learned about this in her Geology class at Cabrillo. Here's the science behind this phenomenon: They're called tafoni and they are small cave-like features found in granular rock such as sandstone, granite, and sandy-limestone. The rounded entrances and smooth concave walls are often connected, adjacent, and/or networked. They often occur in groups that can riddle a hillside, cliff, or other rock formation. They are most abundant in inter-tidal areas and semi-arid and arid deserts.
The current favored explanations of what controlled the formation include salt weathering, differential cementation, structural variation in permeability, wetting-drying, and freezing-thawing cycles, variability in lithology, case hardening and core softening, and/or micro-climate changes and variation. Tafoni have also been called fretting, stone-lace, stone lattice, honeycomb weathering, and alveolar weathering.
Anyway you look at it or whatever you call it, it's Our Amazing Planet Earth.