Geophile, for Bruce from Ottawa
I walked another section of the Stony Swamp Conservation Area after work today.
For the most part, the reserve is a normal climax forest with the occasional stone poking above ground in a natural way. But the region has numerous natural escarpments and ancient shorelines, dating to the retreat of the ice 10-15 thousands of years ago and in some cases from long before that. Elsewhere in this same area is a marvelous display of 450-million-year-old beach ripples! The region has had a varied geological history.
Below these escarpments is the normal rockfall material: blocks that have broken off the rock faces and rolled a bit before stopping. No surprise there. But I'm noticing that on top of these little escarpments are frequently found small rock piles, a few feet back of the edge.
I'm seeing this consistently here. I don't see a natural causation for this. Neither do I see how these piles could be field clearances, as their positioning doesn't make sense as a field clearing pile, at least in my opinion.
Also, these piles are not places where soil erosion has revealed buried glacial stones - the stones are above-grade.
I started viewing the Rock Piles Blog a while back and didn't think it possible that the phenomenon came this far north. While I don't say the piles I'm seeing here are great examples, I do now believe the as-found landscape here has been "customized" for some purpose by past inhabitants of the land. (The proliferation of beer bottles on the ground indicates a new customization for somewhat less noble purposes!)
/bruce/ He also thanked everyone on the blog for their work in this area.
While I'm on here, if anyone knows anywhere near Springfield, Massachusetts where there are accessible rock piles or other stone features, I would be grateful if you would tell me. I'll be going there soon and I would love to see a site or two. Thanks!