December 1, 2008
Rocky’s home undergoes numerous additions as quarry expands during its lifetime.
by Bill Langer
Recently, I was pondering how to end this series of Aggregates Manager articles about Rocky. I left my desk for a short while. When I returned, I found this article on my computer.
My life has been quite a ride. I started out at the bottom; as sediment at the bottom of the ocean, that is (January). When I wasn’t looking, Wyoming, and the continental plate it was riding on, came swooshing down and buried me deep in the earth. It was hot, dark, and the pressure was unbearable.
I sat around for what seemed like forever with nothing to do except rearrange my mineral structure (April). I lined up all my minerals into these neat red and black layers that I have. Pretty gneiss, huh?
It was so dark that I couldn’t see what the heck was going on. But my magnetic minerals started acting up, and I could tell I was shifting around on the globe (February). Some of the time, if I was really quiet, I could hear the waves of the ocean over my head. That happened at least a couple of times, as I recall (August).
Just when I thought I’d go stark raving mad, things got really exciting. The continents started coming together (January and March). Africa crashed into Arkansas and hit so hard that it rumpled up Texas, New Mexico, Utah, and even Colorado. The upper stories of my house were pushed up into mountains. No sooner were they done growing than the mountains washed away and spread out as layers of sand, gravel, and mud. Next, it got warm and started raining. Tropical plants started growing in the mud (June). Then dinosaurs, who thought the plants were good eats, showed up. When they croaked, their bones were covered with mud. Not too long ago, some of you humans had fights over those bones (May).
Another plate floating around on the earth smacked into California and shoved everything up on top of Utah. All that weight made things sink, pulling Colorado down with it. Once again, I heard waves slapping around overhead. More water; more sand; more mud.
Yet another plate ran amok and slid under Colorado, pushing up the Rocky Mountains (named after me) you see today. Volcanoes erupted and spewed ash all over the place (July).
Bam! The cold set in. Glaciers in the mountains dug away at my distant rocky cousins (October). Torrents of water carrying loads of sand and gravel rushed down mountain streams. I’ve been told some of you humans use the stuff to make roads and buildings. I’m also told forensic scientists solve crimes looking at the sand (September).
But the craziest ride of my life happened a few days ago. I’ve been hearing rat-a-tat-tats and soft booms for about 30 years now (November). But just the other day the rat-a-tat-tattin’ got real loud. Next thing you know – KABOOM – I’m flying through the air. For the first time since I was sediment, I saw the light of day. I was sitting in a pile of rock when some geologist picked me up. The rest of my kin folk got scooped up, dumped into a yellow truck, and last I know, they were headed for a big noisy machine. Lucky guys.
Me? I’m stuck here in this office.