Sunday, September 09, 2012

Monadnocks!

We had a really weird day. So weird that I'll have to write about it. Just some other time.

In the interim:

Monadnocks! What are they? And how does Mother Nature make them?

North Carolina has a number of monadnocks. In a nutshell, a monadnock is an isolated mountain, usually standing as an area of relatively high relief and surrounded by a large area of relatively low relief. Most monadnocks are formed because they consist of tough rock that is surrounded by soft material. The soft stuff is carried down slope to the sea, while the tough rock remains, eventually revealing itself and standing in some cases as a mountain.

The term is named for Mount Monadnock in NEW HAMPSHIRE (I had it listed as in Vermont...DUH!). We have a number of impressive monadnocks here in North Carolina, and quite a few of them are so special that the state has protected them as official state parks. Thus, we have Crowders Mountain State Park, Pilot Mountain State Park, and Hanging Rock State Park. Most monadocks are so isolated that they don't have an active aquifer associated with them. But Hanging Rock is actually part of a complete range of monadnocks (called the Sauratown Mountains) that have their own systems of streams.

Last year I visited Hanging Rock State Park, so here is your geology lesson in photos and video. Enjoy.

This formation is part of a huge cliff face called Cooke's Wall. Visible from the famous summit called Hanging Rock, it is proof that a race of space-faring apes once colonized Earth.


I caught this view of Hanging Rock on the hike to the summit.

A great view from the top. What looks like a road below is actually the very wide and graded trail leading to the park's signature mountaintop.
Looking up at the park's namesake: The Hanging Rock itself.
 
Although the quartzite capstone that created the range of monadnocks is tough, as you can see, water eventually has its way with the stuff.
The State of North Carolina has lavished much attention and infrastructure on the park. Here is part of the very nice and complicated trail that leads down to the park's most spectacular waterfall (one of several in the park).

I like the waterfalls in the park. They're all located down in cool, shady grottoes.

2 comments:

Elisa Campbell said...

Nice photos and amusing captions. However - Mt Monadnock is in New Hampshire, not Vermont.

HemlockMan said...

Oops! Yer right! I'm a maroon!