The Wave is a prominent geological feature located on the Colorado Plateau near to the Utah and Arizona border. Composed of striated waves of cross-bedded sandstone, the landscape appears to have the quality of a frozen liquid, its appearance not unlike cooled molten lava fields. The layers of ribboned red coloured rock are in fact generated by what could be described as one of Earth’s many endlessly long doWhile loops – millions of years of precipitation of water and deposition of oxidization minerals. These geological linear patterns of self-organisation generated by this repeating process are know as Liesegang rings and are commonly found in other sedimentary oscillation ‘computations’ – a good example being Banded Agates (There is also a cross-referencing here with the spatio-temporal output of the Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction).
Both Leonardo Solaas’s ‘Linear Landscape’ set and Jared Tarbell’s ‘Happy Place’ applet have used algorithms to generate artefacts with notable similarities to the geological patterns found at The Wave. The former uses a particle system to create an illusion of three-dimensional organic surfaces, the latter a node system to give rise to broken sedimentary textures.
Further Viewing & Reading