The Wave – Earth Waveform Oscillations

The Wave (detail)- Weshargrove
The Wave (detail) – Weshargrove

The Wave is a prominent geological feature located on the Colorado Plateau near to the Utah and Arizona border. Composed of striated waves of cross-bedded sandstone, the landscape appears to have the quality of a frozen liquid, its appearance not unlike cooled molten lava fields. The layers of ribboned red coloured rock are in fact generated by what could be described as one of Earth’s many endlessly long doWhile loops – millions of years of precipitation of water and deposition of oxidization minerals. These geological linear patterns of self-organisation generated by this repeating process are know as Liesegang rings and are commonly found in other sedimentary oscillation ‘computations’ – a good example being Banded Agates (There is also a cross-referencing here with the spatio-temporal output of the Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction).

Linear Landscape (detail) - Leonardo Solaas
Linear Landscape (detail) – Leonardo Solaas

Both Leonardo Solaas’s ‘Linear Landscape’ set and Jared Tarbell’s ‘Happy Place’ applet have used algorithms to generate artefacts with notable similarities to the geological patterns found at The Wave. The former uses a particle system to create an illusion of three-dimensional organic surfaces, the latter a node system to give rise to broken sedimentary textures.

Further Viewing & Reading
360 degree Panaroma of The Wave
The slot valleys of Antelope Canyon as a hydro-dynamic computation
The Melodies and Megaliths of Pseudocrystalline Terrains

4 Responses to “The Wave – Earth Waveform Oscillations”

  1. isomorphismes writes:

    Unbelievable. You write science-poetry. And you can explain how the algorithmic art looks like the science. What you’re doing is awesome.

  2. paul writes:

    Thanks a lot for your comment! Enjoy the ride here isomorphismes :)

  3. Jesus writes:

    “And with them, or after them, may there not come that even bolder adventurer—the first geolinguist, who, ignoring the delicate, transient lyrics of the lichen, will read beneath it the still less communicative, still more passive, wholly atemporal, cold, volcanic poetry of the rocks: each one a word spoken, how long ago, by the earth itself, in the immense solitude, the immenser community, of space”.
    Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Author of the Acacia Seeds And Other Extracts from the Journal of the Association of Therolinguistics”.

  4. paul writes:

    Thanks, this is a wonderful quote :)

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