Snowball Earth

When WHOI scientist Bernhard Peucker-Ehrenbrink brought me this powder made from a ground-up Namibian rock, I didn’t know anything about “Snowball Earth.”  The Namibian (Snowball Earth) rocks are mostly from 020°11.970’South, 015°00.987’East at an outcrop valley East of the road from Fransfontein, Namibia, about a kilometer north of the town.

Cutting Rock in Namibia

Cutting Rock in Namibia

Then, when I asked other scientists, there seemed to be skepticism about the science and my web searches brought little.  Three years later: it’s better publicized, National Geographic has written about it, and I’ve learned more about using it.

Some of the samples were pinker and this one was most white.

Some of the samples were pinkish, this one was white.

One jar contained this chunk hidden within this powder — note the stripes in the rock that show layers of time.  Lots to find if you do an Internet search.

Some was ground into fine powder, this chunk escaped that fate.

Some was ground into fine powder, this chunk escaped that fate.

It’s tricky to use this rock slurry as glaze and the results are varied, depending on if it’s applied to stoneware or porcelain clay.  Many examples are available for viewing or purchase here.

Having met Adam Maloof, Assistant Professor of Geosciences at Princeton University after he spent several weeks in Namibia, I was excited when he offered me more Namibian Snowball Earth rock because it would give me something to offer if, in the future, there’s an option to do a collaborative residency where students might investigate as I have — while doing rigorous science with full time faculty.

You might be interested in his work, and the technology he’s been developing, about which he speaks in this video called, “Reassembling Early Life”, a TEDx talk by Brad Samuels & Adam Maloof.


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