The Story Behind the Black Slab:
The engraved black slab on the East Vandergrift Memorial Park Monument was donated by a local family.
James and Victoria Paschis and son James Paschis, Jr.
Our community greatly appreciates this generous gift.
Jim Paschis, Jr. (studied geology at Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado) has provided the following background on the “black slab” that he acquired many years ago.
The rock that forms the Hawaiian Islands is called basalt. It was emitted from volcanoes deep in the Earth. When it reaches the surface the lava (magma) rapidly cools leaving some small sized crystals mostly which are hard to see by eye. The lava is similar to the “black slab”. They both contain mostly elements of silicon, magnesium, oxygen, calcium and iron. The major difference is that the “black slab” originated from a magma which never reached the surface. Instead it stopped about 5-7 miles beneath the surface allowing it to cool very slowly over millions of years. This slow cooling permitted the development of different combinations of elements to form distinct minerals which were large, (some over an inch long) and interlocking without any pore space. With this chemistry and crystal size it is named as a ‘gabbro’ by the profession of geologists. Rocks like this gabbro are valued when quarried without cracks and then they may be sawed into slabs and polished smooth. This gabbro was actually quarried in Norway then shipped to clad a building in downtown Denver, Colorado. The building was being demolished and Jim was able to buy the gabbro slab (1973) and transport it to his parents’ home here in East Vandergrift.
So now thanks to the Paschis Family Morning Sun has a very unique engraved “Gabbro” plaque as part of our Veterans Park Monument.