The Dynamic Earth View Multimedia Version

Main Menu >  GeoGallery >  Rocks >  Sandstone
TITLE: GeoGallery

Choose one of the following Rocks for more details:

Arkosic Sandstone

Arkosic Sandstone

This sandstone from southern Nevada is part of the sediment veneer that covers the ancient metamorphic schists of the craton. The near-shore sandstone was in turn overlain by deeper-water limestone as a shallow sea encroached.

Coconino Sandstone

Coconino Sandstone

Compare this sandstone with its layers intact with specimen 76943---the same stone but with crushed and melted sand grains from a meteor impact.

Sandstone

Sandstone

A meteorite struck the Earth. Within seconds, the impact sent out a shock wave that created cone-shaped fractures, called shattercones. Their tips originally pointed to the impact site.

Sandstone

Sandstone

Coconino Sandstone. A small four-legged animal walked across a sand dune 265 million years ago, leaving behind its foot- and claw-prints. Before the tracks were erased, another sand layer covered and preserved them.

Sandstone

Sandstone

Marine animals--probably trilobites--scratched out furrows in the mud 500 million years ago. Sand filled in the furrows, and both eventually turned to rock. Cambrian Period.

Sandstone

Sandstone

Contains 1.6% water by weight. Water volume: 126 milliliters.

Sandstone

Sandstone

Sandstone faulted during compaction.

Sandstone

Sandstone

Fountain Formation, Pennsylvanian Period. Sandstone is a sedimentary rock--one that formed from sediments deposited at Earth's surface by water, ice, or wind. The sand and pebbles that make up this sandstone are fragments from older rocks. The fragments were carried downhill by rivers and streams 300 million years ago, deposited in layers, then bound together by natural cement.

Sandstone

Sandstone

Sandstone, Potomac Formation. Cretaceous Period. Beach sand may one day harden into rock like this. The Smithsonian Castle is made of a red sandstone from Poolesville, Maryland.

Sandstone baluster from Capitol

Sandstone baluster from Capitol

This weathered baluster once adorned the Capitol's East Front. Even layers of white paint couldn't keep parts of its surface from weathering away in layers, like those of an onion.

Sandstone baluster from White House

Sandstone baluster from White House

The base of this sandstone baluster is missing its edges. They broke off along the layers under the weight of the sandstone itself and the stone railing the baluster supported. The circular marks were made by a saw when the piece was removed.

Sandstone brackets from Capitol

Sandstone brackets from Capitol

Carved brackets, Cretaceous Period. These two carved brackets were nearly identical when installed in the 1790s. Over the next 160 years, many layers of paint were applied to protect the easily weathered sandstone. The one with more paint retains more of the original detail.

Sandstone from White House

Sandstone from White House

Potomac Formation. A microscope photo of the sandstone reveals that it contains too much clay to be very durable. It also has other flaws (not visible here) that can cause big problems for a building stone: isolated large pebbles and clay lumps, and uncemented areas.

Sandstone lintel from White House

Sandstone lintel from White House

Lintel with concrete patch.

Sandstone with gastropods

Sandstone with gastropods

Turritella mortoni, Paleocene Epoch. What time is it? If you found this index fossil in a rock, you’d know. The animal was once widespread but quickly became extinct. Only a small percentage of fossils meet these criteria.

Shocked Coconino Sandstone

Shocked Coconino Sandstone

Look for the crushed and melted sand grains and no visible layers, shocked by a meteor impact. Look at sandstone 6812 to see what it looked like before.


bottom navigation bar Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Department of Mineral Sciences website Credits