The James River Park System - Richmond, VA

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North Geology Tour

Stop 7: Rockin' Around

DIRECTIONS: At any point along the walk, look out at the rocks in the river.

Notice that the large granite boulders in the river have a rounded, curved appearance.

large boulders with rounded appearance

As sand in the river grinds the boulders, it carves a shape that is often longer than wide. The upstream ends of the boulders, where water first crashes into the rock, are often the most rounded.

see caption

Rock with concave edges (left photo); water swirling back on the downstream edge of a rock (right photo)

Sometimes the downstream ends of rocks can be steep or concave. This shaping is caused by the grinding action that results when water rolls back on itself, creating whitewater.

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