Amethyst Silicon Azurite Bismuth samples from Peter's collection

Amethyst, native Silicon, Azurite and native Bismuth samples from a friend's collection, clockwise from top left. All of these are naturally-occurring minerals that you can pick up from the surface, if you're looking in the right place. Amethyst and Azurite are used as gem stones; Silicon and and Bismuth are two of the few elements which can be found in pure solid form in the ground. Crystalline Bismuth is unusually dense so the sample feels "heavy" compared to expectation. Thanks Peter.

Winter hike on the cliffs of Cap Morgiou (221 m.) above the Mediterranean.

Cap Morgiou (221 m.): view of the massive limestone cliffs flanking Mt. Puget (564 m.) down to the Mediterranean in the Calanques National Park between Marseille, Cassis and Cap Cannaille (394 m.), just visible far away in the mist.
A brisk hike up from Les Baumettes prison, the terminus of the convenient bus route. Once on the cliff route, misty despite a breeze but big views over the Calanques of Sormiou and then Morgiou. A rare treat to see the snows on the peak of Mt. Ventoux (1912 m.) far away to the North whilst hearing the waves of the Mediterranean crash on the base of the cliffs 200 m. below the cliff path. What a view for lunch on my first hike of 2016!
The prominent peak top centre of my photo is La Grande Candelle (454 m.) which I hiked up to in 2014: see Massif de Mt. Puget, Sept 2014

My photo postcard from West Penwith: Porth Nanven & Botallack mine ruins

West Penwith: Porth Nanven & Botallack mine ruins

A trip to almost the extreme west-most point of  England. Porth Nanven and Cot Valley just south of Cape Cornwall, are famous to ornithologists for rare birds, to geologists for an exposure of a series of rock layers chronicling the periglacial eras which overlay the granite, also egg-shaped boulders which were shaped by the action of the sea when water levels were much higher. And Porth Nanven beach is famous to landscape photographers for long exposure images of The Brisons, a granite outcrop a few hundred metres offshore.

Read more: Porth Nanven & Botallack