Agates – Time Compiled

Agates – Time CompiledAgate – Pascal Petit

The linear patterns in agates are a kind of Earth process data visualization, their intricate coloured bands, much like the tree rings in dendrochronology, are encoded recordings of palaeoclimatic environments, oscillating temperature and pressure events as well chaotic chemical interactions. The patterns are partly generated by self-organization through chemical feedback processes – a cybernetics of geology where fractal patterns appear as lithic printouts of non-linear dynamical chemical processes. Each band in these geological chaos diagrams represent a chemical reaction phase before it stabilises and shifts direction. Agate Patterns can be accurately modeled using fractal functions modulated with Brownian motion algorithms.

Agates – Time CompiledCrazy Lace Agate – Agatehill

Agates – Time CompiledSumatran Agate – Agatehill

Agates – Time Compiled Laguna Agate – Agatehill

Agates – Time Compiled Mexican Lace Agate – Agatehill

Thermal pulsing combined with the presence of iron and manganese metal oxides generate the rich colouration. Sometimes bacterial decomposition of organic matter consumes some of the iron oxide, modifying the reaction still further. Fitting then that some agates contain microbacterial-like patterns as if the stones themselves were bacterial colonies fossilized. Imagine an Agate playback device capable of translating these million year long earth recordings into intelligible data representing all those interacting processes.

Agates – Time Compiled Algorithmically generated ‘Musgrave Agate’

Agates – Time Compiled Czech Agate – Michal-Z

Agates – Time CompiledLaguna Agate – Agatehill

A selection of agate photographs can be found in this Flickr gallery

Related Posts:
The Writing of Stones – Roger Caillois
Hypogean Wildstyle: Dominik Strzelec’s Byzantine Geology
Banded Agates, Sonic Hydrodynamics & the BZ Reaction

4 Responses to “Agates – Time Compiled”

  1. David Haworth writes:

    It’s 4:30am & I’m writing a chapter of my PhD on Caillois & The Writing of Stones. I take a quick break, open up Facebook on my phone & there you are with your “lithic printouts”… Inspiring & beautiful.

  2. paul writes:

    Thanks for the comment David.

    A PhD chapter on the Writing of Stones, now that is something I’d like to read. In fact I am curious about the subject of your PhD in general? You probably noticed the link to a previous post on Caillois’s amazing book.

  3. David Haworth writes:

    Hi Paul,

    Yes the Caillois post was my introduction to your amazing website. My PhD is in its early stages, but I’m looking at the idea of nature as an artist in people like Caillois, Haeckel, and some writers. Ideas of anthropomorphism, algorithms and apophenia abound. I will be looking through dataisnature very carefully for inspiration!

  4. Recent reads. | perry street palace writes:

    […] Agates – Time Compiled. Prudence, P., Dataisnature (Nov. 2014). [Ooooh. Pretty. -Ed.] […]

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