Saturday, September 23, 2017
There are loads of beautiful crystalline rocks 💎 on the property of our little casita here in the hills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. I’m guessing that these stones are what make the soil sparkle and why this mountain range reflects so much light. I thought these might be quartz, pink feldspar or perhaps a combination. However, after posting this on social media this was shared with me.
"All around the flanks of the Ancestral Rockies, groundwater entered the newly deposited basin sediments. These sediments were not composed of pure quartz, but of unaltered, chemically unstable grains of feldspar and iron and magnesium minerals, such as hornblende and biotite. As soon as oxidizing groundwater began to react with these unstable minerals, iron began to move out of the minerals and into adjacent pore spaces, where it formed an insoluble gel of iron oxide. This gel gradually crystallized to the red iron oxide mineral, hematite. Today, this hematite gives the rocks their red color that imparts a red-pink glow to the mountains (especially at sunrise and sunset). Perhaps it was the red hematite that inspired 18th century Spanish explorers to name the mountains “Sangre de Cristo” (Blood of Christ)." ~ Pub.usgs.gov
The Sangre de Cristo Mountains are the southernmost starting point the Rocky Mountains here in northern New Mexico. What a magical place this is!