Name That Rock

jekeesl (south-central Arkansas)(7b)April 7, 2013

We have areas here with multi-colored rock as shown. Those sites often have pretty unusual wildflowers, so I often wonder what type of rock it is. It's often mixed with sandstone, and is sometimes seen around shale outcrops, but the ones I'm most curious about are multicolored, in shades of blue, yellow, orange, and tan. Those rocks are usually in small to medium pieces less than 2 inches thick.

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

many wildflowers.. thrive in soil with SHARP drainage ...

and the best sharp drained soil.. is rocky ....

in the mountains.. its called scree .... and the wildflowers love it .. see link ..

i too would like to know the rock.. but i doubt the rock itself is the key.. its the drainage of the soil ..


Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 8:19AM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

It is beautiful. Is the rock soft like shale? Shale can come in other colors depending upon what other minerals are present.

Either way, if you look for geological resources for Arkansas, you should be able to find some suggestions as to what it might be given the location. I linked in one that I found. A local geologist could also tell you. Look for a local rock and mineral club, museum, or college for leads to a local rock expert.


Here is a link that might be useful: Arkansas Geology

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 5:51PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

at my link.. down the page..a big black block for some cave.. the next pic.. looks similar...


    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 7:45PM
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Looks like petrified wood

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 11:02PM
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jekeesl (south-central Arkansas)(7b)

Thanks for the link and suggestions fatmorgana. It took me a while to follow up. Those multicolored rocks are, as you suggested, shale. They're probably from the Womble formation, sometimes dense in coverage and mixed in with localized pockets of embedded limestone. The resultant shale barrens are inhospitable to most introduced species, and often host wildflowers that are unknown outside of Arkansas.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 6:11AM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

Very cool. Thanks for the follow up. It is always nice to know what people have found out. When I was a little kid I waffled between being a geologist and an archaeologist - neither happened but I have retained a healthy love for both and enjoyed the follow up.

By the way, our shale here is a very dull, grey color but it is loaded with fossils - trilobites, corals, shells, and more. The rock is so soft you can often work the fossils loose with your fingers.


Our local shale:

A fossil (brachiopod) that popped loose of the shale boulder above with just fingers:

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 8:14PM
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