The rocks at Kynance Cove on the Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall are spectacular in pattern, colour and texture when viewed up-close. Red and dark green colours predominate in the serpentinite rocks which represent hydrothermally altered mantle peridotites.

18 Replies to “Kynance Rocks 1”

  1. Great photos, lovely place! I went into the caves…pitch black, pointed the camera and got some amazing pictures of multi -coloured rocks that were otherwise never seen.

  2. Thank you, Angela. It is a fantastic place. I would love to explore it when the tide is out, and find the caves. It was stormy, high-tide, December with snow flurries when I visited. I hope I can see Kynance Cove in better circumstances next time.

  3. The rocks from this region are famous. There is quite a trade in objects carved from this serpentine stone. It looks remarkable when polished.

  4. I thought I had heard of serpentine stone, though I am sure I’ve never seen it in person, but I’d sure invest in something made from it (my fingers were itching to stroke the rocks, there is just something about them that really drew me).

  5. Serpentine is a visual feast when it outcrops on beaches and is worn smooth in pebbles; the worked and polished stone is even more beautiful. In Sweden it is used in lots of architectural ways but in Britain it is usually used for small souvenirs in Cornwall.

  6. That is interesting, and the name of the stone rang a bell so I did some looking up. Near me, about 40 miles or so, in southeastern PA, is Brinton’s Quarry, that supplied serpentine stone to the local area, especially buildings at West Chester University (which is what I remembered). It’s unusual because most stone around here is Wissahickon schist, a gray mica-flecked stone. So those greenish serpentine buildings stand out. The Quarry is no longer in production (apparently about 1900 it flooded and it’s now a swim club, I think?).

  7. I had not realised how common it was for serpentine to be used in buildings. I thought it would be an impossibly hard rock to work with.

  8. I’m going to research it more in its use around my area. There are references to how it was commonly used until “problems” or “difficulties” were found, and I wonder what they mean ( like you say, hard to work, did not weather well, etc.) I’ve seen these greenish buildings around, notable because the overwhelming majority here are gray Wissahickon schist, but not thought much about it beyond this. I also wish I could go to this Brinton Quarry, I’m going to check out that and see if I can find any info.

  9. There seems to be an interesting history to the use of serpentine in many parts of the world. I wonder if the red form as well as the green is also used in buildings. Good luck with the research into your local serpentine. You are so energetic, Claudia!

  10. Thank you. Thank goodness for the internet. It makes it easy to figure out some leads. And, I like doing this kind of thing – following a strand and seeing where it takes me. I guess I am just very curious about pretty much anything!

  11. I also meant to say, I’ve never heard of any but the green type around here (I occasionally see some reddish stone, but I think it is some other kind).

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