Special Places # 56
Photo Art by H.J. Ruiz
1 – Top left – First tier:
Stone Mountain Park is Georgia’s #1 tourist site. It is a quartz monzonite dome monadnock and the largest piece of exposed granite in the world. Stone Mountain was once owned by the Venable Brothers and mined for its granite for global use. Stone Mountain is well known for not only its geology, but also the enormous rock relief on its north face, the largest bas-relief in the world. The dome of Stone Mountain was formed during the formation of the Blue Ridge Mountains around 300–350 million years ago (during the Carboniferous period), part of the Appalachian Mountains. It formed as a result of the upwelling of magma from within the Earth’s crust. This magma solidified to form granite within the crust five to ten miles below the surface. It was purchased by the State of Georgia in 1958″as a memorial to the Confederacy.” Stone Mountain Park officially opened on April 14, 1965 – 100 years to the day after Lincoln’s assassination. It is the most visited destination in the state of Georgia. Stone Mountain is more than 5 miles (8 km) in circumference at its base. The summit of the mountain can be reached by a walk-up trail on the west side of the mountain or by the Skyride aerial tram. Between its sheer face to the sloped sides, the only way to truly appreciate Stone Mountain is to see it in person.
2 – Top Left – Second tier: Arches National Park has the densest concentration of natural stone arches in the world. There are over 2,000 documented arches in the park, ranging from sliver-thin cracks to spans greater than 300 feet (97 m). How did so many arches form? First, you need the right kinds of rock. Sandstone is made of grains of sand cemented together by minerals, but not all sandstone is the same. The Entrada Sandstone was once a massive desert, full of shifting dunes of fine-grained sand. The grains are nearly spherical so, when packed together, they formed a rock that is very porous (full of tiny spaces).
3 – Top Left – Third tier: Huascaran National Park covers a considerable part of the Cordillera Blanca, the highest tropical mountain range in the World. The most overwhelming visual feature is the aggregation of 27 snow-capped peaks above 6,000 m.a.s.l, in particular the Nevado Huascaran or Mount Huascaran, Peru’s highest elevation at 6,768 m.a.s.l. From the property’s lowest elevations at around 2500 m.a.s.l. to the summits, there is a stunning altitudinal difference of more than 4 kilometres spanning varied and rugged terrain and vegetation. The snow-covered peaks, the tropical glaciers and glacial lakes, the high plateaus intersected by torrential creeks running in deep ravines and the variety of vegetation types form a spectacular landscape of rare beauty. Among the rich flora, the famous Queen of the Andes, known for its colossal inflorescence, stands out. The diverse fauna includes charismatic mammals and birds, such as Vicuna, Spectacled Bear and Puma, as well as the Andean Condor and the Giant Hummingbird.
4 – Top Right: Joshua Tree National Park is an American national park in southeastern California, east of San Bernardino and Los Angeles and north Palm Springs. It is named after the Joshua trees native to the Mojave Desert.
5 – Bottom: On the way to Sequoia Nat. Pk. during winter time quite above the clouds! Sequoia National Park is an American national park in the southern Sierra Nevada east of Visalia, California. The park was established on September 25, 1890, to protect 404,064 acres of forested mountainous terrain.
© HJ Ruiz – Avian101