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I once asked what Pagoda rock was made of, and I
think others on this list have wondered too.
Here's the answer: chert
(image of 2 nice specimens in that page)
Striped chert pebbles like these are common along
parts of the California coast. Chert is a rock type
composed mostly of the mineral chalcedony-
cryptocrystalline silica, that is, quartz in crystals of
submicroscopic size. It can form in parts of the deep
sea where the tiny shells of siliceous organisms are
concentrated, or where underground fluids replace
sediments with silica. Chert nodules also occur in
There's more info at that webpage.
Some of the pagoda rock I've seen at a LFS has a
rusty color to it and is quite heavy. The above-
mentioned website says that reddish chert is associated
with iron deposits, and is called jasper. This is a
*very* attractive rock.
For some stunning examples of pagoda rock as
used in suiseki, see
whimbrel at comcast_net