Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tafoni: Architecture by Nature

To be surrounded by tafoni is to be transported to another world...a cavernous labyrinthine world where one loses all sense of scale and space and time.

This series of tafoni photographs was taken just north of Santa Cruz, California on the San Mateo Coast. The geomorphology of the area is so strikingly similar to Point Lobos (which is sixty miles to the south), that geologists actually believe that this stretch of coast sheared off from Point Lobos several million years ago, and that it has been transported northward along the San Gregorio fault to its current location (and that it is moving still!).

In his book, Introduction to California's Beaches and Coast, Gary Griggs writes:
"Tafoni seem to start as shallow pits, although why and when they start is not well understood. In some cases, the pits may form due to differences in the distribution of mineral grains or structural weaknesses within the rock that allow salt water, or the salt that crystallizes from the water, to etch, dissolve,or begin to break down small circular sections of rock. This process continues slowly over time as the pits deepen, expand and eventually coalesce. Tafoni continues to be a curiosity whenever we find it and stimulates even non-scientists to ponder on its origin."

While the science of tafoni formation may be complex, there is no doubt that it makes for a most fascinating tactile landscape that totally captures your imagination and begs to be experienced and explored.

All of the images posted here are available for purchase as 8x10 and 5x7 fine art prints and A2 size greeting cards (all printed on archival water color paper) at http://DigitalYak.etsy.com/.  Be sure to send me a message if there is something you'd like that you don't see listed, or if you'd like a custom size or item, as I truly enjoy creating one of a kind items that hold special meaning. Thanks!!

1 comment:

  1. Deepika, as always, beautiful photos and such interesting insights. Can't wait for more!!