In accordance with Western Carolina University’s policies in response to COVID-19, the Highlands Biological Station is currently closed to the public, but is open to researchers and faculty on a limited basis. Researchers and faculty interested in reserving research and residential space should contact the HBS office (828-526-2602) for information on availability, rates, and reservations. Field courses, workshops, and HBS Nature Center programming are cancelled for the 2020 season. The HBS Botanical Gardens remain open, except for trails that are closed due to construction.

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CANCELED: Geology of the Plateau Workshop

August 5

$60 – $100

The Geology that has shaped the Plateau with Bill Jacobs

August 5th

$60 for morning session, $100 for morning session and hike to High Falls

This workshop has grown out of Bill Jacobs’ recently released book, Whence These Special Places? The Geology of Cashiers, Highlands & Panthertown Valley. As reflected in both the book and his talks, Bill is particularly fascinated with how geologic processes, some dating back more than 500 million years, have produced today’s mountains and waterfalls. Participants will learn the answers to questions such as:

How did the rocks in our mountains form and get to where they now are, and how has that history determined the appearance of today’s landscape?

What created the high-elevation area we call the Highlands-Cashiers Plateau?

Little Sliding Rock and Glen Falls are both much-loved cascades on the Plateau, but one is so smooth you can slide on it and the other is a series of jagged precipices – why the difference?

What in the world is Shining Rock, and is there anything else like it in the world?

Why is Rock Mountain gently rounded while nearby Chimneytop has a chimney?

What gives Whiteside Mountain its unique character, with precipitous cliffs standing high above a more gently rounded base?

The workshop format will provide time for a richer discussion than is possible in shorter talks, as well as for questions and examination of rock samples and geologic maps. After about 2 hours in the classroom, we will round out the morning with a short hike to Sunset and Sunrise Rocks, where some of the principles that Bill discusses are on display. After lunch, a smaller group (limited to 15) will join Bill for an expedition to High Falls, below Lake Glenville Dam. At this extraordinary site, participants can examine up close how complexly different rock groups have been mixed together, and how their different characteristics are reflected in both the exposed rocks and the overall shape of the falls. (Note – this excursion requires over 600’ of steep elevation gain on uneven surfaces, as well as rock-hopping around the base of the falls. It should be undertaken only by experienced, confident hikers).

As in the book, Bill will use language and concepts easily understood by non-scientists, with numerous photographs and illustrations. He will also be delighted to respond to questions, whether about the book or the geology.

Signed copies of Whence These Special Places? will be available for purchase through The Nature Center. Additional information about both the book and its author may be found at www.GreatRockPress.com.

Bill is a graduate of Swarthmore College and Duke Law School. After retiring from his Atlanta-based legal career in 2011, he pursued his curiosity about the extraordinary landscapes of the Eastern Blue Ridge, particularly the Highlands-Cashiers Plateau and surrounding areas. His curiosity led through a wide array of on-line and in-person courses, and of academic, professional and popular books and papers – as well as lots of feet-on-the-ground field work, at times in challenging terrain. Eventually, it led to writing “Whence These Special Places?”, which focuses on how geologic history has shaped not just the overall landscape, but also individual mountains, waterfalls and other natural features. Bill lives in Asheville with his wife Susan and two dogs, but spends most of the summer in Cashiers. Either place, if he’s not geologizing or hiking with the dogs (or both), he’s often found on his bicycle.

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Details

Date:
August 5
Cost:
$60 – $100