Friday, December 18, 2009
A Pluton Monolith
How do you like that title?????? You might be like me and ask, "what in the world is a pluton monolith??????" WELL---I now can tell you!!! A pluton is a big ball of molten magma and a monolith is a single, upright block of stone. SO---the picture above is a pluton monolith. Its name is LOOKING GLASS ROCK and it can be found in Transylvania County, NC, near Brevard in the Pisgah National Forest.
This big ball of molten magma would have liked to have made it to the surface to become the more popularly known 'volcano'. However the magma (which also would have liked to have made it to the surface so it could be called the easier to pronounce 'lava') cooled before it made it to the surface, or erupted. So this big ball of granitic rock lay under the surface of the Blue Ridge mountains in their early formation. As time and weather slowly wore down the mountains, this ball of stone became exposed.
Looking Glass Rock is almost 4000 feet above sea level and can be seen from most anywhere in the Brevard area. Many people who travel on the Blue Ridge Parkway in that area stop and take pictures of Looking Glass Rock. There are other similar rock structures in and around the area --but Looking Glass Rock is the most spherical.
Looking Glass Rock is a popular rock-climbing destination along with John Rock which is nearby. We have seen Looking Glass Rock several times on various trips to the Brevard area--but we got closer to it on our hiking trip last week. The granite face reflects the sunshine ---and in winter, ice/moisture streams down the face, glistening just like glass. That is obviously how Looking Glass Rock got its name.
We drove on an unpaved forest road back into the mountains in search of an old logging road where we hiked to visit three waterfalls. All along this hike, we kept seeing Looking Glass Rock --and I couldn't help but watch it as we hiked. It was as if that big rock was staring at us!!! The picture above was taken when we were there in 2002, and is a picture of Looking Glass Rock, taken from the Blue Ridge Parkway. Below are pictures that we took on our recent trip there.
We took this picture while hiking near the Log Hollow Branch. We were at about 3500 feet above sea level here. That rock is just SO fascinating.
Another good reason to hike in winter is that there are no leaves on the trees... That helps while we are looking at views like this.
Later, on our way to see Slick Rock Falls, we got to another overlook where we had a better view of the north face of Looking Glass Rock. The hiking area near here is closed during part of the year because it is a Peregrine Falcon nesting area.
This was the best picture we got on the day we were there, and the closest. In this picture, you might be able to see the the icy rocks . It was so neat to see the glistening rocks on that cold, winter day.
If you are ever in the Brevard, NC area, be sure and check out Looking Glass Rock. It is truly awesome. And while there, check out Looking Glass FALLS... I'll show pictures of this icy waterfall soon.
Have a great day... Christmas is ONE week from today.... Yow!!!!