Sculptural Scallop Shell Beach


Both my regular readers will know that I think nature is pretty cool!

I mean REALLY cool!

This post features an incredible place visited last year where the results of tide and time have created an amazing phenomenon in a beach made entirely of fragments of shell.
The photos below illustrate how this little beach is made up of millions and millions of fragments of scallop shells.

IMG_1981  IMG_1983

What is so cool, is the way that all the shell fragments have settled upright & vertical, in a tightly packed formation around the shape of the rocks on the beach. The effect is astonishing! and it covers the entire beach area. At first you don’t even want to tread on the beach for fear of breaking it!

But how incredible that this occurs!?

Firstly the tide has washed these shells (presumably farmed) all to exactly the same place/location. They don’t litter the rest of the shore line. Just here. The size and weight of the shells, together with the direction of the currents around the coves and headlands must all conspire for these to make landfall at the exact same spot.

Secondly all the pieces are pretty much the same size: To start with, the shells are washed up on the lower beach. Here the wave action gradually smashes them up, and they are flung higher and higher up on the shore line. Until on the upper shore they are all uniform in size – pieces about 20mm long.

Finally the eddies of water washing incessantly back and forth have lined up all these millions of shell fragments, between and around the rocks. This has created the effect of the pieces weaving around the shape of the rocks and tessellating perfectly.

IMG_1992

IMG_1993

The effect when you walk on it is surprising. It is compact and solid rather than soft, like shell-sand.
I’m sure a physicist or mathematician could explain the reasons for the alignment of the fragments. To me it is small marvel of nature where, by millions of small steps, things settle into the place where they best fit.

IMG_1995   IMG_1997

IMG_1990   IMG_1996

IMG_2012

This was an unexpected highlight of 2015.

It is great to be continually surprised and impressed by the little things around us.

Keep your eyes peeled pop-pickers!

 

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3 thoughts on “Sculptural Scallop Shell Beach

  1. It was lovely to revisit such a worthy subject and to see those stunning vertically arranged rosettes of shell edges again, as well as those corridors between the rocks chock full of them, like hundreds of Ginger Thins all trying to squeeze through at the same time!

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