Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Looking Glass Rock

This morning was our weekly trip up the Blue Ridge Parkway to have breakfast at the Pisgah Inn. Afterward, we decided to drive west, to see the views of Looking Glass Rock.

Looking Glass Rock is a mere 5 miles northwest of Brevard. However, one must drive about twenty miles to see the north face. The Blue Ridge Parkway winds around several faces of the rock. Located within Pisgah National Forest, it is a popular destination for hikers and rock climbers.

Looking Glass Rock reflects the sunlight, especially when water or ice collects on the faces. (Hence the name.) It was formed by underground volcanic activity and is a mass of molten rock which hardened beneath the earth. Centuries and centuries of erosion exposed the underground rock and shaped it into the marvelous dome we saw today.

The mountains were blue and hazy again today. The Blue Ridge mountains have always been blue, thought to be due to the release of hydrocarbons from evergreens, especially pines. In the past, however, the mountains were blue but not hazy. They were blue and clear. There are still some very clear days, but not recently.
The haze we currently have is generally due to pollution. Several coal-burning power plants are located within the Blue Ridge mountains and they are the biggest polluters. In fact, in some areas of the Blue Ridge mountains, the air quality is worse than in some metropolitan areas. So much for pure mountain air.
The power industry lobbyists are seeking relaxation of the pollution guidelines. They want to have a "mean" yearly rate of pollution controls. With this proposed plan, the plants could far exceed safe pollution on some days as long as they are far under the maximum on others.
As one of our State legislators said, "They would like to have you think that if your right hand is burning, and your left hand is cold, it is all right because the average temperature is 'normal.' But the damage to the right hand is severe regardless of the average."
And I would add: this type of regulation is absolutely insane. Monitoring would be done after the fact. The damage would already be done before the mean pollution could be calculated.


KGMom said...

It is so frustrating when something of such beauty is threatened by human activity--or inactivity.

Jayne said...

What a beautiful formation Carolyn. It is a shame that the haze may get worse. What we do today impacts far into the future. Why is it so difficult for law makers to get that concept?

Anonymous said...

It really ticks you off when people are so greedy as to destroy such beauty. How did that rock formation form? I know it cannot be glaciers because they did not spread that far south. Is there some kind of river nearby or something?

troutbirder said...

I really really enjoy your pictoral tours of the parkway. We camped in Great Smoky N.P in early June several years ago and I had a bad case of the flu for several days and wasn't up to much hiking or anything really. I hope to go back someday and even see the mountain when the fireflies all light up at the same time!

Dog_geek said...

More great pictures! I sometime really feel like shaking people who don't understand how important it is to protect our environment and our air quality. Frustrating!

NCmountainwoman said...

Donna - I grieve every day about what is being done (or not done).

Jayne - It's all about the money and whose lobbyists are most successful in bending politics.

Helen - Thanks

Science guy - There are rivers nearby, and you are correct, the glaciers didn't play a role. It's that the Appalachians are so very old, the erosion that beat them down, allowed the underground molten rock to be visible.

Troutbirder - Come back for another visit.

Dog geek - Oh, I am so with you on that one. It's as if they don't believe future generations will have any need for our planet.

Margaret Cloud said...

You are so lucky to have mountains to view, here in Michigan we only have our beautiful sand dunes.