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February 22, 2009


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I love tafoni, but only learned the word last year when someone posted about it - maybe Dave Schumaker or Brian at Clastic Detritus. That's a neat photo of the rocks near the Golden Gate bridge - I really do associate tafoni with deserts! Nice examples in sandstone - are those columns in the reddish sandstone partly formed first by water and then tafoni-ized by wind? (Sorry about the made-up word!)

To be quite honest, I'm not sure exactly how that tafonization takes place - but (as shown by the mushrooms), sandblasting only operates up to a couple of meters or so above the ground and these examples were higher than that, so the dominant process, I suspect, is water. Another key question is age - were these actually formed when the Sahara was wetter than today??? Wonderful mysteries!

Two hours north of the Golden Gate, at Salt Point State Park, there are mind-blowing tafonis in very homogeneous quartz arenite. Older, deeper tafonis on uplifted terraces also exist inland from the current shore. It looks like a real "moonscape."

This is really interesting - I've seen rock formations like this many times, but never knew that there was a specific word to describe them, let alone one that's so fun to say! Thanks for the informative post!

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