The Starry Night

Year: 
2014
Ranking: 
Second Place
Artist: 
Janelle McAtamney
Department: 
Geology

Description

This photomicrograph of a garnet mica schist collected in the Solu Khumbu region of Nepal near Mount Everest, is a beautiful example of a metamorphic rock that dove to temperatures near 400 degrees Celsius and pressures of .5 GPa, approximately 15 km below the surface of the Earth. Taken under crossed polarized light this photomicrograph illuminates microscopic mineral properties and metamorphic textures that explain the history of deformation this rock has experienced during it's journey back to the surface from depths of 15 km to topographic heights of 5 km where it was found in the Himalayan Mountains. Chemical reactions enabled the growth of new minerals and textures in the rock while other minerals broke down during deformation. This stunning example of a garnet, muscovite, and quartz rich schist is reminiscent of Van Gogh's famous 1989 oil painting 'The Starry Night' and is a beautiful visual record of the growth of the Himalayan Mountains.

CSEP CNSI Schuller Lab UCSB