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Identifying Rock Types?
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Mar 31, 2005, 12:24 AM
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Registered: Nov 10, 2004
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Identifying Rock Types?
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Hi, I'm try doing a little bit of Trad/Aid/Sport climbing, I travel all over Africa and I stay in some really remote places, but, where ever I go there is rock, as well as people to join me on a few climbs. I grab my shoes and off I go, I am finding allot of the rock in the area's I am in very "flaky", does anyone have advice on how to identify the type of rock that I climb, not just here but in general, any links I could visit or books I could try and get? Thanks in advance.


Jul 25, 2005, 9:01 AM
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Registered: Sep 8, 2002
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Re: Identifying Rock Types? [In reply to]
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I would imagine in south africa the rock would be mostly sandstone or granite.

sandstone is very gritty in texture. If you look closely at it you should be able to find actual sand granuals. Sandstone is a very soft rock and it holds water like a sponge so it weakens in rain. many times small flakes for handholds can tear right off with little pressure. Protection can be more prone to failing also.

granite can be either smooth or coarse. If you look closely at the texture you should be able to see the feldspar and quartz granuals which are much larger than sand. usually a half centemeter or so. Granite usually form crack systems and has "slabby" face sections. Good granite is very solid and dries quickly after a rain.

Limestone or dolomite can be very sharp or smooth with pockets and wierd water formed textures and water streaks. the texture should be silt sized or even smaller than sandstone. Dolomite is usually very blocky and can fracture easily. Good limestone has many pockets and can form crack lines aswell. Pro will hold in limestone but not as well as granite. Limestone becomes VERY slippery when wet.

Hope this helps a little and have fun climbing.

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