St. Francis of Assisi

    I got a Warm welcome on my journey to Auckland New Zealand. The day was filled with presentations for the year 5-8 students at St. Francis of Assisi. In my lectures, I always talk about what it’s like to live at McMurdo station. I mentioned how I eat all my meals at the cafeteria in McMurdo station. That’s when I learned that schools in New Zealand don’t usually have cafeterias! Instead, the students told me everyone brings a packed lunch from home. Where I’m from, every school has a cafeteria, I never even considered that kids in New Zealand might not know what a cafeteria was!

    St. Francis of Assisi
    Everyone is always interested in Big Red! I always enjoy any opportunity to share more about the Weddell Seals. Photo Credit: Alex Eilers
    After we got our cafeteria conundrum cleared up, I was happy to continue my lecture on the scientific data we are collecting on Weddell Seals. I explained how excited I was to be in Auckland, so near one of the places I wrote about wanting to visit while I was in New Zealand.

    Pancake Rocks Update

    In my journal about New Zealand I mentioned wanting to visit Paparoa National park.

    Well, I got to go and it was phenomenal! My journal mentioned the unique pancake rocks in the park. When I got to see this geological anomaly for myself, they were even more interesting than expected. I couldn’t wait to share my findings with you guys.

    Besides the gorgeous views, I couldn’t peel my eyes away from the bizarre rocks that made up the formations. The term ‘pancake rocks’ is an accurate name. The rocks look like someone cooked up about a million stony pancakes and stacked them in walls all around.

    Pancake rocks
    Can you count how many layers of pancake rocks there are? Each rock is so flat and level, it’s easy to see the seams between the layers. Photo Credit: Alex Eilers
    The recipe for these pancakes is a little less appetizing than your grandma’s recipe! First, you are going to need to collect your main ingredients: Limestone, bones, shells, and minerals. Start by stacking up lots of layers of limestone. Then, begin the stylobedding process by burying and compacting your shells and bones with the limestone. Apply enough pressure to liquidize the solution, mixing all the ingredients together. Time to dash in your minerals to form some thing seems of mudstone. Now it’ s time to wait. Set your timer for 100,000 years and let the forces of the sea and weather erode your pancakes. Soon you will notice the mudstone becoming more eroded than your limestone giving your pancake rocks that pancake look you so desire. And there you have it, your very own pancake rock recipe!
    Even through it was a cloudy day, the view was still awe-inspiring. Even with this wide shot, you can still see the layers of all those neat rock formations. Photo Credit: Alex Eilers
    Weather and the forces of the sea also help to create odd shapes in the geography as some types of rock erode faster than others. Take a look at what years of erosion have sculpted here.
    Rock Formations
    You can see where the sea and weather have eroded these rocks into unique forms all along the coast line. Photo Credit: Alex Eilers
    Notice all the different colors and layers in the rocks. There are even a few plants growing up there! When I look at this rock formation, it reminds me of Paradise falls in the movie Up. What do you see when you look at these rocks? Let me know in the comments section!
    What do you see?
    Sign text- the pancakes are slowly being eaten away. By the wind, the rain, and the sea every day. Some strange folk are out there to, having a feast. Creatures who come from north, south, west & east. What’s that you say? They aren’t really there? Well, I sure can see them, they’re ever so clear. Photo Credit: Alex Eilers