Smoky Mountain Outcrop
May 26, 2007
The photo above showing nearly paper thin rock strata was taken along the border of North Carolina and Tennessee, in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, on January 4, 2007. This is one of the highest passes in the Park, at 5,048 feet (1,539 m) above sea level. The Great Smoky Mountains are among the oldest mountains in the world, formed perhaps 200-300 million years ago. The flaking away of the sedimentary rock layers pictured above is referred to as exfoliation and is a result of the effects of freeze and thaw over the eons. Note the lichens, at lower right, which have managed to acquire a foothold on this high, windswept outcrop.