Tessellated pavement

Tessellated pavement

Tessellated pavement is a rare sedimentary rock formation that occurs on some ocean shores, so named because it fractures into square blocks that appear like tiles, or tessellations. It is formed when rock that has cracked through plate tectonic movement of the Earth's crust is modified by sand and wave action.

A well-known example of this formation can be found on the Tasman Peninsula of Tasmania.

It has also been suggested as a possible explanation for the Bimini Road.

The Tessellated Pavement in Tasmania consists of two types of formations, the pan formation, and the loaf formation.

The pan formation is a series of concave depressions in the rock, and typically forms further away from the seashore. As a result, this part of the pavement dries out more at low tide, and allows salt crystals to develop further, resulting in salt forming on the surface, and eroding the surface more quickly than at the joints. As a result, the surface of the "pans" erodes more quickly, while the joints erode more slowly, resulting in the concave pan.

The loaf formations occur on the parts of the pavement closer to the seashore, and as a result, are immersed in water for longer. These parts of the pavement do not dry out as much, reducing the level of salt crystalisation. Water carries abrasive sand, and the water is typically channelled through the joints, resulting in the joints eroding faster than the rest of the pavement, resulting in loaf-like structures protruding.

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