Stone River Sculpture, Andy Goldsworthy, Stanford University

Mundane Monday: Rock Wall

A sculpture on the campus of Stanford University. Constructed of sandstone from university buildings destroyed in the 1906 and 1989 earthquakes
Photo credit: Stone River,

While out hiking or geocaching, especially in Massachusetts but also in California, you end up seeing a lot of rock walls. But this particular mundane-looking wall is part of a larger sculpture by Andy Goldsworthy called Stone River on the Stanford Campus.

The sculpture wasn’t here yet while I was attending graduate school; it was built in 2002. It is made of sandstone bricks from campus buildings damaged in the earthquakes of 1906 and 1989, among others. The local sandstone is known for its color and the pinkish hue it reflects, especially at sunset.

Stanford Quad at Sunset, Long Shadows
Photo credit:, “Long Shadows at Stanford”

International EarthCache Day Souvenir 2016The landmark has now been made into an Earth Cache. Earth Caches don’t have physical containers, but instead bring you to a unique location and teach you a geological science lesson while geocaching. My husband and I went yesterday for Earth Cache Day, during which cachers are encouraged to find an Earth Cache and earn a geocaching souvenir. Earth Cache Day is also the last Sunday of World Space WeekWorld Space Week, and the first Sunday of Earth Science Week.

My shadow on the Stone RiverOne of the questions we had to answer in order to log this Earth Cache was what colors we observed in the sandstone and where those colors come from. According to my internet research, the tan color comes from feldspar, and the pink from iron oxide.

At the educational non-profit where I work, we have many earth science lessons in our curriculum. Back in the Boston area I taught several of these lessons, including Celestial Mechanics and the Rock Cycle. I never had a formal Earth Science class in school, so I’m learning right along with the students!

For the Mundane Monday Challenge #80.


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