The James River Park System - Richmond, VA

9 of 10 • start over

South Geology Tour

Stop 9: Stones in Stones

DIRECTIONS: Go back to the concrete path and continue downriver.  Just before you get to the access bridge to Belle Isle, turn right and walk out onto the area of open rock. (37.526440° N, 077.453693° W)

Look for dark gray shapes embedded in the lighter-colored granite.

stones in stones

During the formation of the PLUTON, MAGMA dislodged pieces of the roof of the MAGMA CHAMBER. These chunks of country rock fell into the magma. Some fragments melted and became part of the magma; others did not melt and were preserved in the granite before you. These are called XENOLITHS meaning ‘stranger’ or ‘guest rock’ in Greek.

Scientists use XENOLITHS to investigate the past temperature and movement of the MAGMA , as well as the identity of the country rock.

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