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wall holding slope of hill, N. Carolina, 12/30/12

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When I shared with my mate, yesterday morning, about my conjecture about the rocks in MI, he reminded me of glaciation in this area. ; ) I told him I was not going to correct what I wrote, I would wait to see what you said. So, yes, there is the glaciation factor in MI and other parts north.

There is a lovely area in Southern MI called Hidden Lake Gardens, maintained by Michigan State University. There is one glacial kettlehole that is particularly unique in that garden area. I would go there to unwind, when I had to stay longer at school for conferences. I usually took a bite to eat and parked overlooking that kettlehole. It was a good break from my classroom and was doable with a shorter period of time. I lived about 75 miles from the school where I taught.

Yes, about the comment by the student who was wondering what information would be common knowledge when he was old. I was reminded of that with the Henry Lewis Gates series on PBS, and the very sophisticated information gathering that is possible today about one's ancestors. Amazing that from blood studies they can determine a person's heritage from many decades/centuries ago, and the continents from which their ancestors came.


Actually the situation in New England with the annual crop of rocks, stones and boulders is from the much more recent Ice Age glaciation. The ice crept down from Canada (shame on them!) and scraped the land, moving huge amounts of rocks of all sizes down over New England. In the past 10,000 years that has made the top several feet of land in most of N.E. out of a layer of loose rocks held together by the soil that the chipmunks and woodchucks haven't dug burrows in yet... (oops, my gardener was speaking there).

The same would be true of Michigan, Wisconsin, northern Ohio, etc., except that what was left there was ground much finer (no Appalachian mountains in the way to keep the boulders chunky), eventually into fine enough particles to produce clay for the layer that the rocks got stuck in.

The first part of your comment leads me to relate a wonderful story - we had a high school student doing his homework in our office daily and generally getting lots of adult supervision. One day I told him how in my father's schooling, he didn't learn about "galaxies" because scientists didn't accept the idea, their existence was proven during his school years. Then I said, in my schoolbooks they presented the _idea_ of continents in motion but said it was a loony idea that scientists were inclined to reject, lacking the proper data; that data came in the sixties when the ocean floor became directly observable and satellites could be fine-tuned to measure tectonic movement in real time. Without blinking an eye, the student said, "I wonder what we are being told is nonsense that will be common knowledge by the time I'm old?" I think it's a good thing to wonder about at any age.


I had heard about the ancient rock history from my NC family. And, your history is hardly a rant! ; ) I like the info. I also know about the continental shift/drift. A geo. prof at a local university told about the fact that when he first started at that particular university he had colleagues who didn't believe that continental drift had happened. Just looking at the shapes of continents, the concept is clear, the coastal lines look like puzzle pieces. [from Jigidi? ; ) ] Some separation of land was also from rift. Interesting to have a former ag extension agent come to my classes to speak about his trip to Aftica, and he told about this grazing land which was a broad expanse of flat area surrounded with high walls, and I thought, most likely a rift valley. Especially since it was in the right area of Africa for that.

Both son and daughter-in-law are "students" of nature and delve into the history of the area. It is a perfect place for my son, who in the process of getting a second bachelor's degree, took several archeology classes as well.

Is it possible that rocks are easier to lift in the north because of the action of freezing and thawing? I get that concept from my resident conservationist/former farmer who picked a lot of stones/rock in his youth. An annual activity for farmers in MI, who had stone "boats" that they pulled behind the tractor. Also the clay in that area would "glue" the rocks in place, a concept from the c/f f as well.


(After I did that geological history ranting bit, I went googling to see if I could back it up. This webpage has a good version although it is centered on Virginia instead of North Carolina...)


As my Pittsboro friend says, "ah - HAH!" A special construction deal.

This part of North Carolina (central Piedmont slightly west of the Fall Line) rests on the ancient shield of rock that was North America when there wasn't anything else of North America. It bumped into Africa and bounced off again, floating westward as the Atlantic-ish Ocean was created in between, then underwent some massive changes. All this to say, that's what got me, seeing a New England style rock wall here. The rocks that you trip over in these woods are not like the rocks I trip over now in Connecticut - our rocks can be pried up, with a finger or with a crowbar, one way or another - but the rocks that are lying under these trees in central N.C. have been right where they are for 640 million years and you cannot pry them up and make walls out of them. Soon I will post a puzzle of my slab of Phyllite (the particular rock in question) that I broke away with a sledgehammer in these Chatham County woods.


Not along the drive, David, but at the back of the property that my NC family rent. I am not sure if the owners put this in, but most likely. There are also some steps up to where the slope begins. On up that slope and to the right is the newer house that the owners now live in.


This is the first N.C. post that doesn't ring a bell, RH! I don't remember many stone walls from Chatham County. Is this something the owners put along the drive?