Old rag powerpoint show versionPresentation Transcript
Old Rag, Geology, & Natural Resources: Taking a Hike with Mr. & Mrs. S.! VA Science SOL 4.8 Created by Shawn R. Sthreshley
Old Rag Mountain is located in the Blue Ridge region of Virginia. It is considered natural, since it was not made by humans. Today, you will digitally-hike with Mrs. S. and I as we look out for, and get introduced to, the natural resources and geologywe encounter. Geology is the study of the Earth, the materials of which it is made, the structure of those materials, and the processes acting upon them.
One can see clearly why this part of the Appalachian Mountains is called the Blue Ridge.
This is a view of the mountain we will be digitally hiking today. The picture was taken from Skyline Drive. Old Rag is over 3,200 feet in elevation. Not only is Old Rag one of the most popular places to hike on the East Coast, it is also made up of Old Rag granite which is over one billion years old!
Old Rag Mountain is a part of a mountain range that formed because of the movement of continental plates 400 million years ago during the creation of the supercontinent known as Pangea. This was when all of the continents were one continent, before the continental plates began moving away from each other. This process is called plate tectonics.
Meet your hiking guides!
To energize ourselves before the hike, we stayed at the Belle Meade Bed & Breakfast, Organic Farm, and School the night before.
As you can observe, Belle Meade has beautiful scenery. What do you think the word scenery means?
This is the view of Old Rag's summit from Belle Meade. It is hard to believe that before the end of our hike today, we will be sitting on one of those rocks looking out over the whole valley!
Animals are natural resources. What does the word resource mean?
How is a chicken a natural resource? What resources are provided to you from a chicken?
Think about all of the natural resources that go into an organic farm (organic means natural; not artificial). What plant, animal and nonliving resources can you find in this picture?
Cows are an animal resource. What do they provide?
We woke up to a hearty B & B breakfast, so we will have plenty of energy for the long hike ahead of us.
Here is Old Rag mountain. This was taken as we were driving to the parking lot where the hike begins. What do you observe about the mountain?
Our hike begins! Follow the trail posts…
Trees are natural resources. How do humans use wood in our everyday lives?
This is an example of frost heave. In winter, the ground freezes and the rocks go slightly up the mountain. As the ground thaws, gravity forces the boulders further down the slope.
This picture shows weathering and erosion. The wearing away of the rocks is called weathering. Hikers, animals, rain, and wind may cause weathering. The movement of the rocks is called erosion.
Tired yet? It is 3.5 miles to the summit, and then about 6 more miles back to the parking lot.
This hike's greatest resource to hikers is its beautiful scenery of the surrounding landscape. Because it is a protected national park, the water and air are clean. It is not polluted.
` Spring is here! See photosynthesis in action. What is the energysource for life at Old Rag?
This Old Rag granite rock is also plant food! It takes millions of years of weathering to break the rock into fertile soil. On a long hike, how else could this boulder be used as a naturalresource?
Granite is an igneous rock. There are three types of rocks: sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous. These rocks, billions of years ago, were actually magma (lava) under the ground. Once forced to the surface, because of the creation of Pangea (through plate tectonics), the rocks cooled into their solid form.
Time for a break on a billion-year old chunk of cooled magma to enjoy the scenery!
If you look at these rocks closely, you will see at least two minerals: quartz and feldspar. Quartz is a type of crystal, and feldspar has a rectangular crystal pattern. These are the two most common minerals on Earth's surface. Rocks are made up of minerals.
Remember that granite eventually turns into fertile soil. Could this be why these pine trees are able to grow in the cracks between boulders? You will notice trees growing in strange places throughout the hike.
Old Rag granite is very resistant to erosion. Many of the other mountains are composed of less resistant rock types.
Many of the trees along the ridge are eastern white pines. Why do you think the branches are all pointed in the same direction?
Are these wild plants grown and raised by people?
Did you know that these mountains were once as high as the Rockies? What may have caused them to become smaller in elevation?
The rock scramble part of the hike begins. Shoes with good traction are vital. Hikers should follow the blue stripes to stay on the right path.
How is Old Rag mountain different from the other mountains in this picture?
Look at the rocks. What geological processis causing the breakdown of these rocks?
Do you observe the earth's spherical curve at the horizon?
The rock scramble part of our hike is the most enjoyable, but it is also the most tiring part of the hike. Often, hikers will take a break on the flat surface of a granite boulder to drink water or eat a snack. The rock scramble is like an obstacle course made by nature!
Remember to enjoy the scenery along the way!
This picture shows an example of planarfractures. Weathering from wind and water round the edges of the planar fractures. Eventually the boulders have a spherical shape.
See the planar fractures?
Do you remember what type of cloud is on display above Old Rag here? Is it cumulus, cumulonimbus, stratus, or cirrus?
Sometimes you may see small algae living on the sides of rocks. They help to break down the rocks, which in turn creates the fertile soil of Old Rag mountain. This small algae is called lichen. The plant grows slowly and can live for up to 4,500 years!
Please don't fall on me, rock!
This is a natural staircase made up of columnar joints. The joints were created as the diabase (an igneous rock) cooled and then became smaller. The wedged boulder is Old Rag granite. Do you notice a difference in color between the diabase steps and granite boulder? The diabase was formed from quick-cooling magma, whereas the granite was formed from slow-cooling continental rock.
Rocks, like this Old Rag granite boulder, are made up of minerals. Do you remember the two most common minerals on the earth's surface?
The Old Rag granite rock in this picture first crystallized one billion years ago in a geological age called the middle Proterozoic age. It is a part of the Precambrian period. To put that in perspective, the first humans began walking the earth 98.5 million years later!
Some parts of the hike are tricky, so you have to wait your turn.
Follow the blue trail markers!
Do you think weathering is happening here? Why, or why not?
Name an important natural resource that is a fossil fuel used as an energy source… Hint: we have not seen it at Old Rag on our hike...
We made it to the top! We can see all around the mountain range and valley. We have 360-degree, panoramic views of the scenery!
A thumbs up on making it to the top of Old Rag!
Nothing like taking a break to read between two Old Rag granite boulders at the summit!
That’s where we were at this morning! By the way, this picture was taken with full zoom.
"The Beauty of the Mountain reveals only to those who climbed it..." Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Rachel Carson: "Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts."
“Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So... get on your way.” Dr. Seuss
If you look hard enough in the soil and pebbles at the summit, you will see blue quartz. Blue quartz is highly resistant to weathering; in fact, 600 million year old chips and pebbles may still be found here!
One last look from the summit before hiking down.
This is the sign pointing back towards where we came from.
Old Rag mountain is itself a thriving ecosystem. What living and non-living things make up its ecosystem? Along the way hikers may see birds, bears, deer, insects, squirrels, and many other animals. As we descend from the summit, we should think about protecting and preserving this ecosystem.
A look back at the summit
After hiking down for 45 minutes, this is a view back to the summit.
After 1.5 hours of hiking down the mountain, here is a view of the summit. Because it is early spring, hikers can still see back to the summit.
We were really tired at this point in the hike. Thankfully, there were no more rock scrambles!
At the bottom of Old Rag mountain is a land area that collects and channels water. Higher up the mountain is a spring which provides the water for this stream. This stream will eventually become the Hughes River.
This river joins other rivers and the water flows to the Chesapeake Bay. This means that this land area is a watershed, which is a land area that collects and channels water to a common outlet (in this case, the Chesapeake Bay).
The forest, land, and wildlife in this picture are examples of Virginia's natural resources.
What is natural and what is artificial in this picture? We are almost back to the main road which leads to the parking lot.
The next three pictures were taken as we drove away from Old Rag mountain. In the end, the actual hike took 5 hours and 37 minutes. We went 9.46 miles. We started our hike 1,000 feet above sea level, and ascended to the 3,268 foot summit, therefore on our hike we ascended 2,268 feet. Along the way, we worked on our fitness, enjoyed the beautiful scenery of nature, and learned a lot about geology and natural resources!
I used the following texts for some of the factual information in this presentation. I also recommend them as further reading: 1. Geology: Old Rag Mountain (A Hiker's Guide), Paul Hackley 2. Hiking Shenandoah National Park (3rd Edition), Bert & Jane Gildart 3. Old Rag Mountain: Rebirth of a Wilderness, Henry Bashore