Smooth faced rocks and electric fields that turn liquids into solids

14 Oct 2011

Two very interesting stories, one is geological and the other, physics. At - it seems that rocks and boulders rubbing against each other can produce smoothing - something normally attributed only to water action. Bumping and grinding in response to the earth shaking in its bowels creates a smooth surface over time - just as rocks and boulders being jostled by water, in rivers, on coasts (by the tides) and during flash floods etc. In this instance the process was visibly taking place - in a dry desert at high altitude.

Meanwhile, at another discovery involves inducing an electric field to solidify liquids. The experiment shows that under the influence of strong electric fields liquid droplets will become solids - or clot. They form crystallites at temperature and pressure condition. It goes back to the 1940s when Ingram Taylor was studying the effect of lightning on raindrops when he found they altered shape in response to an electric field. Could it be that safe geological interpretation might not always be so? Might lightning have a role to play in some kinds of sedimentary processes?