Friday, 26 April 2013

Fake rocks could save lives

Following a fatal accident in Hamburg N.Y, real rocks have been removed from a roundabout on a traffic junction and replaced with artificial rocks.   The traffic roundabout or traffic circle, is a common site in the UK, but still rare in the US.   Many UK roundabouts have been driven over either by accident or on purpose, but all British drivers will be aware of this common road feature.

Real rocks on roundabout

The fatal roundabout junction was relatively new although construction had been going for for several weeks.   Had the traffic circle been constructed with much smaller rocks the fatality could have been avoided although the visual impact of the larger boulders would have been lost.

It may have been preferable to use the fake rocks in the first place but at least fatalities due to impact with such an unforgiving material will now be avoided.

Fake rocks on roundabout

More of this story can be seen in the videos below.

One resident mentioned that the rocks don't look real.   The shape and detail are real enough and it's the colouring and new appearance and possibly the positioning that makes them look fake.   Artificial rocks are one of the few products that don't look at their best when new and appear more life-like when they are aged with dirt and mud.

Signeage and markers can be included on the face of artificial rocks

Artificial rock with sign (simulation)

Friday, 19 April 2013

Double-hard danica

Driving along a busy dual-carriageway the other day I noticed a beautiful sliver of tiny white flowers that had spread along the narrow strip of grass adjacent to the road.   The flowers were on the very edge of the road, in the areas where the grass had receded due to the constant pollution from the vehicles and the salt spray from where the gritters had been hard at work keeping our roads free of ice in the winter.   That has to be one of the toughest plants in Britain.   Less than a minute's research on the internet revealed that it was  Cochlearia danica or danish scurvy-grass.

The plant mostly grows on coastal areas and but started spreading inland some thirty years ago. This hardy wild flower thrives on the high levels of salt created by winter road gritting and the seeds have been propagated by the internal combustion engine. Rich in vitamin C, the leaves were eaten by sailors on returning from voyages as this cured the vitamin deficiency known as scurvy.

Cochlearia danica

Duallus carriagewayicus

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

The Secret life Of Rockpools

In yet another fascinating BBC wildlife program, professor Richard Fortey investigates the extraordinary lives of rock pool creatures.   In order to assist in this study, a dedicated laboratory was created at the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth.   You can create your own lifelike rock pool with readily available aquariums and our rock panels:

Sunday, 14 April 2013

These rocks look too fake...

...the thing is, they are real!  The rocks in the images below are ventifacts.  Ventifacts are rocks that have been abraded, pitted, etched, grooved, or polished by wind-driven sand or ice crystals. These geomorphic features are most typically found in arid environments.

An image search on Google will reveal many other wonderful shapes although the 'stealth' rock below has to be one of my favourites.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Marvel's Guardians Of The Galaxy Movie.

We've just supplied a number of rocks for the forthcoming Marvel Comics movie 'Guardians Of The Galaxy'.   All piled up and waiting for the art department to colour up.   There are a number of aeroplane parts in the images so there will probably be a plane crash or two in the movie!

Fake rocks for Marvel's Guardians Of The Galaxy movie.

Artificial rocks for Marvel's Guardians Of The Galaxy movie.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

That's what I'm talking about..

As proud as I am about my very natural and life-like looking artificial rocks, I can't help but be humbled by architect Péter Kis's Great Rock. Many of us are aware of the large man-made mountains in theme parks but Budpest zoo was an early adopter of artificial landscaping on this scale, with massive rock shaped animal enclosures that included useable internal areas.   Construction started in 1909 and lasted for three years.   Time has taken its toll and Péter Kis has refurbished and added to the original, creating and additional 3000 m2 of internal space.

Courtesy of PLANT - Atelier Peter Kis

Courtesy of PLANT - Atelier Peter Kis

Courtesy of PLANT - Atelier Peter Kis

Read more here:

And read about a similar rock at Vincennes zoo, France, here:

Monday, 1 April 2013

Blowing up boulders

I describe my artificial rocks as lightweight and most are easily carried by one person.   There are some that are a little unwieldy due to their size and need to be carried by two people.   Say you wanted a large rock but were working somewhere quite remote and were working alone.   Landscape photographer Paul Zizka has come up with a solution: inflatable rocks.
More details here: Paul Zizka's Port-A-Grounds.

Paul Zizka's Port-A-Grounds

Blowing up a boulder with a Coleman CPX Quick Pump

Italians against unemployment demonstration

Posted by Keith Wheatley, 1st April 2013