Thursday, April 5, 2007

Bamberger Ranch, Upper Miller Creek, Warbler Trail Branch, Undercut Oaks

Bamberger Ranch, Upper Miller Creek, Warbler Trail Branch, Undercut Oaks. ©2007 Chris W. Johnson

There's a story being told here, but I still don't know the language well enough to read more than fragments of it. On one side of the creek, ashe juniper dominates, on the other, oak. The oaks are growing out of a loose stone aggregate on top of finely layered limestone. The oaks are not remarkably old - forty years? - yet the stone in which they sprouted seems to have retreated, exposing half of their roots. Or has it? There are no major roots projecting out of the stone and into mid-air, as one would expect if the stone had rapidly crumbled away around them. But the stone is obviously being cut dramatically, and continuously, by the creek. Indeed, it appears that the creek bed is primarily composed of fragments of that stone. So, have the oaks really been undercut, and if so, how could the stone be cut away that fast without there being an equally dramatic statement written on the opposite bank? Is it there and I'm just missing it? Or have the oaks grown toward the edge of the ledge above the creek because the creek created a gap in the canopy that gave them access to light they couldn't get where they sprouted? A bit of both perhaps? But how fast is that stone being cut, anyway?

No comments:

Post a Comment