Sunday, March 21, 2010

Oolite Highway

Oolite is found in certain parts of the world and the Lower Keys is one of those places. It's not found north of Big Pine Key even though the term "Lower Keys" is usually used to indicate all the islands south of the Seven Mile Bridge. However because oolite, known as egg stone -derived from the Greek for egg- nestles among the limestone only from Big Pine south and it creates holes like these:The limestone rock that formed the Keys is similar to the rock that created the Bahamas which makes these islands much more similar geologically to our island neighbors than to the sandy mainland of Florida. Oolitic limestone looks something like this:
And I titled this essay the way I did because this is what one of several wide pathways through the pine trees looks like in the BPK (Big Pine Key) deer refuge:From Virginia Key, off Miami the barrier islands are sedimentary limestone, but down here something different happened when these islands were being formed. For some reason calcium carbonate got deposited on these limestone rocks, possibly owing to corals growing on sandy shoals on top of the limestone, then as conditions changed the coral died and became the calcium carbonate deposits. Pick your theory according to various sources I have consulted but the end result is rock that looks like petrified sponge. And where the rock forms shallow bowls rainwater accumulates leaving behind a mud hole during dry season. And some Labradors happen to find these mud holes inexplicably attractive. The dry season came late this winter and these holes were full of delicious tannic water a few weeks ago. Now Cheyenne could find nothing but mud:
She looked hard and long for water:
Entirely satisfying even though there was no water:
From small acorns as it were, above, do large oak trees grow. In this case mangroves and pines. If you needed a spare limestone rock you might find plenty here for your landscaping, except the Feds don't much care for people removing stuff from public land.
More stuff growing out of the oolite holes:
I stuck my camera into a particularly large hole and turned on the flash to see what I might see.
You could break an ankle in one these if you felt like it. People sometimes stick a branch down the hole to alert walkers to their presence. This was a red letter walk.
By the time we stumped back to the car... ...Cheyenne was ready for a rest. And yes, she got a bath and spent the rest of the afternoon in a sulk in the back of the car. I left the car door open and went upstairs for a well earned cup of tea. To each her own.


judi said...

A dirty lab is a happy lab. A happy lab won't stay out of a vehicle that has an open door either.
Thanks for the interesting facts about Oolite.

lys93 said...

Leaving the car door open so Cheyenne had a comfy place!Pretty soon you will be cooking hamburgers for her like Aunt Ann did years ago for her dog before she went out to a restaurant for dinner.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Sir:

The first time I came across the wod "Oolite" i your blog I thiought it was a miatake. But you referred to it several times, and rather than expose the shallow depth of my stupidity, I figured I'd wait until an explanation was forthcoming.

Oolite sounds like something you'd use in making expensive luggage. "The alligator is nice, but I'd much rather have that bag in Oolite." And I couldn't help but notice that the Oolite pathway on Big Pine Key leg to a gray horizon. Were you expecting rain that day?

I would think the Ooolite holes would be natural lairs for hideous spiders and dreaded Key West Funnel Scorpions. Would it be possible for a fat person to step through an Oolite dome? If so, perhaps warning signs are in order.

Picture #18 is the best of this lot, as it depicts a guile-free dog, who has not only been spared the indignity of the public shelter for canines, but who is no longer the hostage of an insipid family.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Danette said...

Hi Conch! I changed the color of my blog and you should see how lovely your pink-- 'scuse me, fuchsia crocs look on my page! They match! lol

Chuck Pefley said...

After avoiding all those treacherous Oolite traps you deserved a cup of tea -:)

Anonymous said...

Life would be rather dull without our friends the dogs to drag us outside and teach us the worth of stopping to smell the... mud holes, I guess. I tend to sit here and click clack away for far too long, and when my own personal version of Cheyenne (male black lab/rottie) comes along with a whining request to be taken out, I at first curse and grumble at the interruption. But once outside I always realize that I needed a brain break anyway, and taking in blue skies and long vistas resuscitates my muse.


Singing to Jeffrey's Tune said...

The infamous oolite post! nice.

Conchscooter said...

It was 87 degrees today and thirty minutes on the trail had her panting and thirsty so I am thinking Cheyenne pictures may decrease in frequency...She seems much calmer now about being left at home. Especially as she will get the benefit of Aunt Ann, who let Emma sprawl in her home but seemed rather reluctant to waste time on me when there was a dog around. Properly so.