Wednesday, September 1, 2010

What's so special about Poor Mountain?

Ed Kinser, a wildlife biologist, former staff biologist at Mountain Lake, alpaca farmer, and most importantly, a neighbor in our Bent Mountain Community is generously sharing his love of the Appalachian Mountain Environment. Ed, originally from Tazewell County, Virginia is developing a particular interest in the Bent Mountain environment and it's unique place on the northern most peninsula of the greater Blue Ridge Plateau. Ed very recently shared his account of his geological survey with Bruce Davidson:

Quartz veins in granite indicate
a geological fault location on Poor Mountain
Photo by Eldon Karr

"Bruce Davidson, retired geologist, accompanied Bob Johnson and me up Poor Mt. on Wednesday. This allowed the addition of some geological information to our Poor Mt. Natural History, which, in turn, helps to verify that Poor Mt. is unique among the Blue Ridges. From the Parkway, and along 221, and up to the second entry onto Willet, the rock formations are granitic and are a part of the Blue Ridge Formation (Precambrian). Just before getting to the Karr’s driveway, there is a transition zone with a mixture of rocks and lots of fractures, along with intrusions, indicating a fault zone. From there on up to the top, there are sandstones and shales from the Unicoi Formation (younger and Cambrian). Most sources just say that the Blue Ridges are granitic in nature."
A shale concretion on Poor Mountain
Photo by Ed Kinser

"It was so much fun and so interesting-- I took Joanie back over to point out the features we saw. "

"We found a shale concretion that is in the road bank near the top. Think we can convince folks that it is a fossilized turtle? "

Earlier in the season, we also found an American chestnut that looks unusually healthy and has lots of fruiting bodies on it.

An American Chestnut on Poor Mountain
Photo by Ed Kinser

Ironweed and Jewelweed provide a late summer presentation of Poor Mountain colors.
In the late spring, look for displays of  Catawba Rhododendren & Flame Azaelea.
Photo by Eldon Karr