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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!!!!

Hugs,

49 comments:

Darla said...

I would have never known that Betsy...very interesting and the Looking Glass Rock is awesome!

Kirigalpoththa said...

That is a solitary giant! The last picture is the best!

Great creation of mother nature..

Waiting to see the three waterfalls :)

Valerie said...

I love the trees on top and the smooth sides. What a name though!

One of my reasons for loving the leaf-less time of year, is exactly yours - you can see so much more - that is usually hidden in the summertime!

Diane AZ said...

Fascinating and beautiful! I've never seen anything like it. Your last picture is awesome with the branches framing Looking Glass Rock.

Jayne said...

How interesting Betsy! I can almost see the face in the rock too...lol!

Pam said...

Thank you Betsy, you take me on such wonderful journeys to places I have never seen. Looking Glass Rock reminds me of Half Dome in Yosemite, just a smaller version.
Have a great day.

Busy Bee Suz said...

One week? you just burst my bubble. :)
This is gorgeous and I love saying:pluton monolith...it is the word of the day now!!!
Happy Friday

Arkansas Patti said...

What a facinating piece of information. That has got to come up in a crossword puzzle and is a killer word for scrabble. Pluton Monolith--how neat.
Be heading for Florida for now so I won't be around to see you for a while.
Have an absolutely wonderful Christmas.

Dorothy said...

That's an interesting name for a big rock!! We didn't see Looking Glass Rock, but we did see Looking Glass Falls! Happy week before Christmas!

Jen said...

That rock looks too slick to climb. I'm glad you and George were only interested in Looking at it.
Great pictures.

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

WOW!!! That is some huge rock.It reminds me of the Devils Tower,which I saw many years ago,only this one is more smooth.Thanks for sharing these interesting pictures.Hope this day is going to be filled with joy for you.
Blessings,Ruth

Bren said...

These are beautiful images. I can't wait to return to see what you share over the CHristmas week. THe great state of Tennessee is truly one of my favorites!

Happy Christmas Garden Friend!

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Betsy: The areas natural splendor, nicely shown.

mountain.mama said...

Thanks, I learned something new today!

Tricia said...

Transylvania county, NC? WoW!
Very informative post, Betsy, & the photos are really neat. And at 4000 ft, it's HUGE! WOW!

Susie said...

Very interesting Betsy. I guess Stone Mountain in GA is one too without any water of course.

Hope you have a great weekend!

Roses and Lilacs said...

We don't often think of volcanoes in the Smoky Mountains. I love the name of the county... Transylvania. It sounds very old and exotic.
Marnie

from our front porch... said...

We live in such a God-inspiring place, don't we, Betsy!

Misha

Day4plus said...

This just fascinates me. I am amazed by the huge rocks. The huge mountains out here are mostly rock and I just love them. It is amazing how in a little tiny crevice a seed will find it way and a tree will grow. Like I said Fascinating. MB

bookbabie said...

Very cool Betsy, I do like the last photo best too. The leaves on the branches in front of the rock make for great contrast and interest!

Katherine Aucoin said...

Very interesting Betsy. In the last picture the side kind of reminds me of the sculptures at Easter Island.

You two certainly find some interesting places to visit in your hikes.

Katherine Aucoin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cheryl said...

Wow Betsy, what spectacular photos! I am just amazed by this huge rock, I have never seen anything like it. Its awesome. With no leaves on the trees one certainly gets a much better view. Thanks for taking me along on this adventure, I had a great trip! And one week til Christmas....oh no!

Diane said...

Thanks for the pictures, Betsy. I agree with you, the last one is vey beautiful with the water and ice. You might check out Devil's Tower here in Wyoming on the net. It's like that only different.

Beth said...

What great shots of Looking Glass Rock, Betsy! I've only seen it from the Parkway---never so close. It really is awe-inspiring, especially up close. And I really enjoyed your entertaining and interesting explanation of a Pluton Monolith--thank you.

Kay said...

Wow, you can actually see the lava flow in the rock.

Karin said...

Wow! Totally amazing photos of this pluton monolith! Great photography! Thanks for sharing this information; we'll probably not get anywhere near NC, but if I see something similar I'll know something about it!! Have a wonderful week you two!

Sunny said...

Wow, that is so interesting...what a magnificent monolith. I think we will have to plan a NC vacation next year.
Have a lovely weekend.
Sunny :)

Snap said...

Wonderful shots and I just love geology. Mother Earth is a fascinating place.

Neal said...

Very interesting. That looks like a place that we would like to visit!!

Pam said...

That is beautiful! Love those smoky mountains in the background.

Joy said...

What beautiful pictures! Winter is my favorite time to hike, as well. Plus the fact it's also when and where my husband proposed to me.

Sandra said...

well now, that big ROCK, ha ha I mean Stone is certainly a monster stone/rock. I was about to ask why the name looking glass, but then i got to the paragraph about Very interesting, Betsy and the other photos are goregous

Betty said...

That is a mouth full"Pluton Monolith"It does look a little like Half Dome in Yosamite,but way back when it was whole(LOL)
~~Hugs~~

imac said...

Enjoyable info and post Betsy.

mint said...

WOW!!!!!

Gena said...

That's fabulous, Betsy! I would love to be able to travel around as you do. Maybe some day.

So glad you haven't disowned me.

I would be proud to have my Grandbaby born on your birthday. You share a birthday with my brother, too.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

That is a beautiful formation Betsy. It is similar in appearance to the Devils Tower we saw this past summer in eastern Wyoming. The Native Americans have many legands regarding it and honor it as sacred land.

We will get snow tomorrow but hopefully not a blizzard. The far eastern end of Long Island is supposed to get the most as the storm heads out to sea. After seeing snow in Denver for a week I'm ready to see some here :-)

storyteller said...

How interesting ;-)
I had no clue about any of this and love learning new things so thanks for sharing!
Hugs and blessings,

Joy said...

Thanks for the tour of this beautiful Rock. I would love to see this. Your pictures are great.

Joy

Tricia said...

The Weather Channel says the east coast as far back as Tn will be getting lots of snow, you two be careful! Enjoy the scenery, but be careful!

Robert V. Sobczak said...

That's quite a geologic wonder. I've never heard of it, but am inspired to go someday ... as I am all the water falls you show. Have a great weekend!

SquirrelQueen said...

As much time as I have spent around Looking Glass Rock I never thought about what it was or how it was formed. Very interesting information. It is a truly awesome place.

diane said...

Those mountains look so beautiful. Thanks for the information we have huge monoliths here but I don't think they are pluton monoliths. Great shots especially the last one which is all glistening.

FIONA said...

Another WOW photo essay.

I love the ice on the bald face of the rock. That must have been a fun trip.

Daisy said...

Wonderful photos, Betsy! Really incredible views. I really love that last one. :)

Queen of Dreamsz said...

Hello Betsy,

This Looking Glass Rock is awesome..I hope to go see this one day.

No...Thomas is not home right now..he'll be in next Wednesday for 10 whole days!! woohoo!!!!!

Yes, I had snow arrive yesterday and then ice and then more snow..and then I lost POWER!! boohoo...we are 2 weeks away from having our whole house standby generator installed...the pellet stove has a small fan so it even has to have electricity. We bought it for it's efficiency...it only draws about 180 watts when it's running and the heat is wonderful...

Oh, and by the way...I checked into putting a 36" fireplace (one that will really heat the house and it't around $6000 and that's not doing anything special with stone!!!!) You can buy just a plain fireplace that really doesn't put out much heat (more for hearthside warmth for $2000)So I smiled and left the store...LOL

So anyhow at 3:30am this morning I lost power..all day it kept blinking off and on...oh, what a bad feeling...knowing that the power company may not be able to get to my area to get the power back on!! By stroke of luck at 7am my power came back on. I applaud the guys and gals that travel these treacherous roads to restore power..and especially for those like me that are two weeks from being totally prepared..LOL

I really didn't realize or think about how often I could lose power up on this ridge...that's what led to the decision for the standby generator...back in the summer the power guy told me to remember that once winter arrived depending on how bad the roads are (ice) they wouldn't be able to get to me.

So we finally got the thing ordered and is supposed to be installed the week of Jan. 4th...what a relief that will be. Miss Morgan and I snuggled in bed with lots of blankets as I started thinking about eating COLD soup from a can!

Life's just one adventure after another...hehe :0)

Thanks for stopping by for a visit...oh, and I'm supposed to get a little more snow tonight and tomorrow and then it's out of here! I'll get happy about a snow storm again when the generator is installed..LOL

Hugs,
Stephanie

Nina P. said...

Amazing photo's and an amazing hike! Merry Christmas to you and yours. Love and Light, Nina P

The Retired One said...

I LOVED that first photo, just gorgeous! You could frame that one!