Photos of Forest on Rocky Face Mountain, NC

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jamesrobertsmith
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Photos of Forest on Rocky Face Mountain, NC

Post by jamesrobertsmith » Fri Nov 16, 2012 5:18 pm

I went on a brief hike in the newly created Rocky Face Mountain Recreation Area in Alexander County. It's located in Hiddenite NC (not far from the emerald mines). It was once part of a granite quarry, the area bought by the Nature Conservancy to preserve the rare vegetation on the mountain. The peak itself is a classic pluton of impressive size. It stands about 700 feet above the surrounding area. I was completely unaware of the mountain until a friend went hiking there and told me about it.

The soils are thin above the granite bedrock, and pretty dry. Forests are a mix of pines, oaks, and cedars mainly. I did see some mountain laurel high on the slopes, which surprised me.



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dbhguru
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Re: Photos of Forest on Rocky Face Mountain

Post by dbhguru » Fri Nov 16, 2012 6:36 pm

Robert

I had never heard of Rocky Face Mountain either. Great photos. When did you take them?

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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jamesrobertsmith
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Re: Photos of Forest on Rocky Face Mountain

Post by jamesrobertsmith » Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:58 pm

I took them on Sunday. There was still just a tad of Fall color left.

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edfrank
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Re: Photos of Forest on Rocky Face Mountain, NC

Post by edfrank » Sat Nov 17, 2012 10:36 am

Hiddenite is a pale-to-emerald green variety of spodumene that is sometimes used as a gemstone.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiddenite

The first specimens of the hiddenite variety of spodumene were recovered about 1879 near the tiny settlement of White Plains, west of Stony Point, Alexander County, North Carolina. According to contemporary accounts, a young man named Lackey brought them to the attention of J.A.D. Stephenson, a local merchant who was also an ardent collector of minerals. Stephenson brought the discovery to the attention of exploration geologist William Earl Hidden, who had been commissioned by Thomas Edison to search for any sources of platinum in North Carolina.
398px-Spodumene_var._triphane_(USA).jpg
hiddenite - lithium aluminium silicate, LiAl(SiO3)2

Hidden recognized the value of the emeralds and the potential of the new gemmy green spodumene. He acquired a tract of poor quality land, which was either the site of the initial discovery or near to it, for $1500. The Emerald and Hiddenite Mining Company was organized and excavations on the site quickly recovered loose hiddenites and emeralds in the red, gravelly clay. At a depth of about 26 feet they struck bedrock and soon were recovering hiddenites from solid rock.
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

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edfrank
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Re: Photos of Forest on Rocky Face Mountain, NC

Post by edfrank » Sat Nov 17, 2012 10:53 am

James Robert,

Lithium is pretty toxic to plants. I am wondering if there are any "lithium" barrens associated with the spodumene deposits or species adapted to tolerating the metal in the area?

Ed
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

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jamesrobertsmith
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Re: Photos of Forest on Rocky Face Mountain, NC

Post by jamesrobertsmith » Sat Nov 17, 2012 11:09 am

Perhaps. The next time I visit the area I plan on going to one of the emerald mines (which is actually adjacent to the park). While there I'll ask someone who works the mine about such barrens.

The only relatively barren areas I saw on my hike were the granitic domes and some grassy spots where the yuccas were growing.

I plan to take one of my nephews there. He's a geologist who works for DIA so I'll have someone with mineral knowledge along.



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