Monday, April 30, 2012

Return of the Conglomerates

"Peep into Hades". As suggested by John Lovell's circa 1870 photograph.

An afternoon was spent scrounging the central Berkshire countryside for signs of marble; finding dolomitic, calcitic, and contacts with the local schists. Even a couple quasi-cave formations presented themselves. But the next day, it was time to return to the conglomerates: my somewhat dormant projects within the Connecticut River Valley.

More ledges were examined for long lost formations photographed by John Lovell from Amherst over 140 years ago. No success to be found here. But I returned to a well known site that Lovell also covered at one point. Here a premiere cave formation exists that has long been know to history - for almost two hundred years! I recreated a number of Lovell's views, shot a few of my own modern interpretations, before moving on to another set of ledges.

In returning to Graves Ledge - or Rock Shelter - I came with a much more 'improved' image of Etta's Nook courtesy of a recent internet auction. Although I must have visited Etta's more than a dozen times in the past, I finally got to see exactly where JL had taken his photo from. A modern 'now' photograph is pretty much obscured with tree growth. But before leaving the Valley again, I was able to visit the ledge above Etta's and see it's geologic connection with Graves' Cave. The Cave is formed by gravity assisted movement of a large section of the cliff that is adjacent to Etta's, and forming the Nook's left wall.

"Etta's Nook": As suggested by John Lovell's circa 1870 photograph.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Quartzites and Marble

Outcrops of Cheshire Quartzite overlooking the Town of Cheshire

The central Berkshires, to the north, offers a significant area of Cheshire Quartzite. Of course, the type locale would be Cheshire where a marvelous exposure exists at the Cobbles. This also happens to be somewhat across the valley from the schists and Stockbridge Marble karsts where many of the central Berkshire caves can be found.

So with my vacation plans to the Ocean thwarted by foul weather, I used the opportunity to ascend the Cobbles, accessible via the Appalachian Trail. Notes from the late speleologist Alan R. "Al" Plante suggested crevice cave formations in the vicinity. However, my observations indicate the best opportunity for 'caves' (and I use that tern VERY loosely) may exist in the talus that has come off the face of the Cobbles. Better examples can be found about four and a half miles to the S SW at the Gulf and Wizard's Glen.

But a pretty good (almost 180 degree) view can be had from the quartzite ledges. A view across the Valley that allowed me to see a mass of dark gray rain clouds moving in over Mt. Greylock. Soon, being pelted with freezing rain, I made a quick check of the ledges and talus before descending back down to the trailhead.

[4/28/12] Not wanting to show any 'favorites' amongst the rocks, a long forgotten marble quarry right in central Berkshire County was visited. According to an old geologic bulletin, this was the likely Brodie Quarry.

The old Brodie Quarry in central Berkshire County

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Confluences and French Kings

King Philip's - or French King Rock - on the Connecticut River

Greenfield offers up a pretty good postcard show during April, so a chance to visit the Connecticut River Valley. After scooping up a modest bunch of select cards (including a rare 'cave'), I headed out further East. Here I searched out the confluence of the Millers and Connecticut Rivers for possible put in locations. This would allow access to both rivers and a possible visit to the Millers River Cave(s).

Along the way a pretty good land based look was gained of King Philip's (French King) Rock in the Connecticut. There is one story that the first planting of a French flag on American soil was at this location. Seems I've also heard one of those buried treasure stories in connection with the Rock.