In January 2020, an article in the American daily newspaper, the Washington Post, reported that scientists had found the oldest known material on planet Earth — a meteoric rock containing “microscopic grains of dead stars” — 7 billion years old, about half as old as the universe.
Of the many mysteries in the deep layers of our planet, rocks are some of the oldest. They tell a story, etched in their formation and composition, a chronological timeline, and in some cases, the preservation of ancient materials and fossils give geologists clues to form a story of the past.
One of the most curious geological gemstones I’ve come across is the enhydro agate. Formed in volcanic activity, the agate is part of the chalcedony stone family. At first glance, it appears solid, cloudy, of a variety of colors, and semi-translucent. Its name, enhydro, Greek for water, reveals its secret.
Within the agate is ancient water, 70,000 + years old, trapped by the natural mineral buildup and formation of layers around pockets, or inclusions, of air and water. When shaken, you can hear it sloshing inside. The new water bottle? Perhaps, not. Possible mineral impurities in the water make drinking ill-advised.
The rare enhydro agates can be found on the Oregon coast, a testament to the Pacific Northwest’s fascinating geological and volcanic history.
I am no geologist, but to me, the diversity of mineral formations — from enhydro agate to sparkling amethyst, moonstone, granite, obsidian, mica, and quartz — is evidence the Earth is capable of magic, with the existence of life being one of those great magical curiosities.
Creation stories from around the world show the ways ancient people have made sense of existence. According to Maya cosmology, humanity was born from two deities, B’itol K’ajolom the Maker, and Tz’aqol Alom the Creator. The late Maya priest, Carlos Barrios, describes this in his book, The Book of Destiny, Unlocking the Secrets of the Ancient Mayans and the Prophecy of 2012. In a time of humanity’s greatest need, four divine beings named B’alamed’ came to Earth from the stars, bringing knowledge to restore peace and balance to the planet.
As a lover of stories, I like to think that science and mythology can coexist in the hearts of humanity. Perhaps the history of our Earth is as multifaceted and complex as we are.
One thing is certain, the Earth’s story is our story. As many indigenous cultures have reminded us, we are not separate.
When I ask the question where are we from and where are we going? I feel the answer in my bones, the blessing it is to call this Earth, this rock — sparkling, water-filled, and sprinkled with stardust — home.
Pictured: enhydro agate, moonstone, aragonite
From my heart to yours,
OMEC Board Member