Monday, August 28, 2006

Miner Pile -- A Closer Look (Plus Split-Wedge)

by JimP
Bob Miner sent me the following photo that gives us a closer look at the huge pile.

And while I was at it I figured I'd throw in this nice split-wedged boulder also from the Miner Farm.


JimP said...

Bob Miner told me a little history of this pile that I want to share with you.

Bob says that about 64 years ago this pile was covered with grape vines and loaded with grapes.

About 35 years ago AT&T came through to create a right-of-way and bulldozed boulders into the pile.

About 20 years ago goats ate up all the grapes and then bittersweet covered the pile to the treetops.

Three years ago Bob cleaned up all the bittersweet and rebuilt part of the pile from the damage AT&T caused.

pwax said...

Phew! I guess I was wrong that this looked like a young pile. But it is an interesting point that plant growth on a pile, when removed, can make a pile look you and lacking in lichen.

So the lichen statement is wrong too. Absence of lichen is possible if there is plant growth instead.

JimP said...

I think you're exactly right Peter. What the grape vine likely did was cut off the sunlight that the lichen's algal partner needed for photosynthesis. No sunlight, no slow lichen growth.

Sometimes too much sunlight can cause the same effect -- by drying out the substrate so quickly that there is no usable moisture. No moisture, no lichen.

There are many other reasons why lichen may not grow too, as I said in my comment in the other post. All of this isn't me talking, either. This is from a good friend of mine who's a biologist and works at the Boston Museum of Science.

I wanted to know more about lichen growth because of my interest in rock piles. I consulted him. He knows his stuff.