Beginning at the Ending: Railroad Ballast and Slag

I’m starting this field trip report, not at the beginning, as I am still running down identifications of a few things . . . .

Toward the end of my last field trip I walked to the Union Pacific railroad tracks that run alongside I-15 in this area. Railroad ballast intrigues me because its rock could come from nearly anywhere. Or, maybe not rock. Maybe other things.

Railroad Ballast Collecting? from Thomas Farley on Vimeo.

Although collecting isn’t permitted on any active railroad lines, there were some scattered rocks nearby that represented the ballast at this location. Old railroad beds are first choice for investigation.

As I describe in my video, ballast can be made of several things, including slag, minerals, or rock. I look at all three in this video and I mention meteorites along the way. By the way, I am going to redo this video, I don’t like the way it came out in a dark room. I’ll do this on a tailgate soon. And vesicles can occur in meteorites, although extremely rarely.

Railroad Bed Collecting: Slag, Minerals, Rocks, and Meteorites from Thomas Farley on Vimeo.


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