Friday Rock Blogging: Berea Sandstone
The world’s most generic sandstone comes from a narrow strip that runs from northern Kentucky through the town of Berea, Ohio, and then into Pennsylvania. It’s an area that, 330 million years ago, was occupied by a large bay off the epicontinental sea that covered most of what is now the central United States. Delta deposits from rivers that flowed into this bay are now known, collectively, as the Berea formation.
What makes the Berea sandstone so generic? Well, there’s a lot of it, it’s easy to quarry, and it has a good marketing team. As a result, it’s a popular choice for scientists who just want to fracture, deform, drown, thump, poison, or otherwise torture an innocent piece of sedimentary material. The properties of Berea sandstone make frequent cameo appearances in textbook tables of “approximate values for various rock types”.
If you’re a sedimentology nerd local to the Berea formation, here’s a field trip guide.