dynamic patterns of water and stone

The beach in Bolinas, CA is composed entirely of Monterey Shale, a thinly-bedded grey stone that formed during the Mioscene era about 23 to 5 million years ago.  Watching the tide come in over the stone beach I noticed that while the water initially wetted the entire surface equally, it dried unevenly and amazing cellular patterns emerged.

When the stone is dry, it was difficult to see the cracks that cover the beach (left). But the stone on the surrounding vertical cliff faces had been shaped by wind erosion along the fractures into striking 3D relief (right).

After I noticed the potential for pattern formation, we started splashing water everywhere to create more and more  wide spread and intricate patterns.  The forms disappeared quite quickly so we were free to play as much as we wanted.

You can find a lot more pictures in my flickr stream.  Went a little overboard on the pictures because it was just that awesome and surprising.

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