Friday, January 11, 2013

Looking for cleavage

What is it that is so satisfying about cleavage?
Just ask a geologist who loves his job or a mineralogist, or a mason, or most men.

The term was introduced into geology in 1816 as "action of splitting (rocks or gems) along natural fissures," from cleave meaning "action or state of cleaving or being cleft" .

Cleavage is a profound property that results from a mineral's molecular structure, and cleavage is present even when the mineral doesn't form good crystals. Cleavage can also be described as perfect, good or poor. Fracture is breakage that is not flat.  A mineral may have good cleavage in one or two directions, but fracture or fault in another direction.

There is something wonderful about splitting a rock open along a straight smooth plane producing essentially - 'cleavage' .
The tools are not weapons. The hammer and chisel are instruments of an artist, a sculptor. It is a creative act.  It's not a violent thing at all.

There is the teasing - the stone looks like it wants to be split. But where? I think the attraction is more pronounced when things are hidden. 

Then there is that anticipation which increases as the line is 'worked', and finally there is the amazing parting of the stone, the fresh inner surface is exposed. It's all so new and evocative. 

Stones are no different from humans.  They have attractive features. Women are different from men too, of course. Maybe it's more about admiration than attraction.

Hopefully the act of looking for (creating) cleavage or talking about it and enjoying it, is not in "poor taste", whether it be geological or not.

Again, I'm just wondering why the meeting of/splitting into two planes (and they can be curved too) is so satisfying.

Anyway it's fun to ponder these things. All I know is , it's better than finding faults.


  1. ......and the satisfying "tunk " as the stone submits.

  2. Betcha have dirty knees!

  3. Think I need a cold shower now. All that talk of cleavage has got me reaching for my chisel...