My roots branch from the Eastern Atlantic coast, in Nova Scotia. I was born here, yet I lived a lot of my life in Ontario, Canada. Recently, I moved back towards the coastline, only much farther south, to my current home in Central Florida.
There is something very enchanting about any coastline and about the mystical formations that are created and thrive here.
As soon as school was out, I trekked with my family to the magical world of the East Coast. Just like any typical Maritimer, I visited with my relatives and watched the summer pass by as I played on the beaches and swam in the ocean all day long.
The Eastern Atlantic coastline is part of the Appalachian mountain chain. These are really old mountains that consist of sedimentary rocks-rocks formed out of debris over time due to weathering and from water and other marine conditions.*
Everyone climbed on these rocks and tottered along them with a carefree spirit. There were no signs on them that cautioned to stay off them.
These rocks were magical castles and make-believe forts to us kids.
Looking back, never once did I hesitate climbing and exploring these enchanted formations. Dangerous? Probably... but, not even a stubbed toe or scraped knee could keep me off my wonderful coastal playground!
As an adult, I have seen many Appalachian-like rock formations all over the world, but none that have mesmerized me like those of my childhood on the east coast.
At least not until recently, when I visited the beautiful islands of Hawaii.
The Hawaiian Islands were formed from volcanoes that erupted billions of years ago. The lava that flowed from these eruptions later became many different types of rock formations and can be seen throughout the various islands.
All of these extraordinary rock structures started as a single molten rock called basalt. Even though basalt is the most common type of rock on earth, I have never seen this form of basalt lava rock before like I had in Hawaii. The Hawaiian Islands are almost entirely built from basalt lava as well as another rock called Pahoehoe. This is the Hawaiian word for a ropy, wrinkled-looking lava flow. (1) It has a smooth surface that is so lava-like to look at and it was formed in a flowing manner all down the landscapes. Fascinating!
Pahoehoe lava flowing down Hawaii's gentle volcanic slopes form natural tubes or caves. Many billions of years ago, as the lava surface chilled in the air, the molten rock underneath continued to flow, creating its own conduit. Big flows are often a series of tubes.(2)
I had the opportunity to explore a lava tube on one of the islands I visited. I wanted to climb in and all over this magical cave and set up fort the minute I entered it. As I ventured into the tube, I was transported back in time...
...to the rock formations of my childhood.
There are so many volcanic rock formations that I have had the opportunity to discover and enjoy on the Hawaiian islands, but I definitely like the captivating flow of the basalt lava rock deposits the best.
What is it about these rocks that I am so entranced by?
...and my summer playground by the shore.
Tracy Bryan is a self-published author for kids aged 4-12. She writes whimsical picture books about emotions, coping skills, mental health and mindfulness. Tracy also likes to tackle social issues and speak directly to her readers about important topics that affect everyone.
Tracy lives in Central Florida with her family and two dogs Jack and Rusty! Please visit Tracy's website tracybryan.com or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
*To learn more about the Appalachian mountains and sedimentary rocks, please visit http://geology.com/rocks/sedimentary-rocks.shtml