How are geodes formed?

At WCCS, what began as Geology Club has evolved into a full-time class

Photo submitted for publication Warren County Christian School students digging up geodes in the midwest. Students from the school undertake the trip every couple years.

A group of students at the Warren County Christian School are working to figure out just where geodes come from and how they came to be.

Essentially a partially hollow stone with – when fully formed – crystals on the inside, students at WCCS have been working with the geological anomalies since 2012.

It started as a Geology Club and has now become a for-credit course.

“The end project is to determine whether they are igneous or sedimentary all of the literature indicates that they are sedimentary,” John Lewis, who teaches the course, said. “The end goal is to find out how a geode becomes a geode.”

Another trip is planned for this summer to do more geode gathering and research. Prior trips have included research in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and western Kentucky. “Each time we do this, we know what we’re looking for a little bit.”

Times Observer photo by Josh Cotton WCCS student Jacob Sorensen discusses electron microscopy results taken from samples of geodes collected by geology students at Warren County Christian School.

“We’re thinking about this differently,” Lewis said. “We hear sedimentation but the evidence tells us it’s not. The evidence says it’s igneous.”

“It seems like geodes are widely dismissed by the scientific community,” Jacob Sorensen, one of the class’s students said. “We’re doing that research. We’re discovering. We’re finding that they’re metamorphic as, generally, all this evidence seems to suggest.”

“We’ve got our hypothesis. We’re going to perform a test to see it through. (We’ve) got evidence to support (our) hypothesis that don’t seem to run contrary. That’s where we’re at at this point.”

“Originally, I joined for credit,” Devon Smith said, noting that he thought geology was “taken care of by the scientific community.”

“Once I found out they weren’t,” he realized he “could be part of a group that finds out what geodes really are.”

Photo submitted for publication Warren County Christian School students digging up geodes in the midwest. Students from the school undertake the trip every couple years.

What (science considered) sedimentary — we’re finding to be igneous.

For Matthew Klenck, an interest in geology started much younger when he “loved collecting even the smallest of rocks.”

Coming to WCCS – and the Geology Club (which is also now a credit course) – Klenck said it has helped him “because I know something more.”

Lewis explained that he reached out to a firm that does electron microscopy and has had a couple of samples examined. The results haven’t been what was expected.

“We’re tying to figure out how and what and where,” Lewis said. “We believe (geodes were) created very quickly with a lot of heat…. There’s water involved somehow.”

He said that they are “at a point where publishing a paper is in the crosshairs.”

Lewis credited the students and the work they have done.

“The kids have worked so hard,” he said. “There’s a tension. An interest, pursuing an unknown, if you will. This is what education is about as far as I’m concerned. I’m proud of these kids, all of these kids who have gone through this. The kids have been working their tails off since 2012 to get all this stuff done.”

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