The Highlands-Cashiers Plateau is an area like no other, with an array of unique mountain formations and an extremely biodiverse community of flora and fauna. The landscape offers a variety of habitats from mountain top grassy balds to rich cove forests, southern Appalachian Bogs, and floodplain forests.
The varying topography and gradient of plant communities is all related to what lies beneath – the soil and rock. The geology of an area, in combination with the climate, has a lot to do with the foundation of each natural habitat.
One example is a granite dome mountain. There are several on the plateau including Satulah, Whiteside, and Rock Mountains. These mountains are formed by underground magma that got heated and bubbled towards the surface.
This is similar to how volcanos are formed; however, the magma didn’t crack the earth’s surface, just created a bulge, which formed the mountain. When the magma cooled, the rock that formed became extremely hard. Over time, the softer sedimentary layer that was on top, eroded away leaving the hard, volcanic granite rock exposed.
The habitat on top of these mountains is, dry, windy and with very shallow soils making it hard for trees and other plants to grow tall. The plants that grow on these mountain tops are usually dwarfed and shrubby but adapted to the soils derived from the underlying rocks.
Learn more about the fascinating geological history and formations of the plateau with a Village Nature Series virtual presentation on June 30 at 5 p.m. by Bill Jacobs, geology buff and author of the book ‘Whence These Special Places? The Geology of Cashiers, Highlands and Panthertown Valley.’
To register for this free program, send an email to email@example.com to receive a Zoom link.
Save the date for our July 28 program, “Survival by Degrees- the Impact of Climate Change on Birds.” The Village Nature Series is a free speaker series about wildlife, habitats, conservation, and local cultural heritage, co-hosted by Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust and The Village Green.
The Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust conserves more than 3,400 acres of mountain tops, steams, forests, and other important lands on the Highlands – Cashiers Plateau; to learn more visit HERE.
The Village Green maintains a 13.2-acre sanctuary in the heart of Cashiers, for Cashiers; to learn more visit HERE. The 2020 Village Nature Series is sponsored by Cedar Creek Club.
Pictured at the top of the article is Whiteside Mountain, formed by two radically different rock formations, with an age difference of 100 million years, to produce this iconic mountain and its towering southern face. Learn more with the VNS on June 30.
Photos by Bill Jacobs courtesy of the HCLT
Article courtesy of HCLT