STATEMAP Field Blog August 5-7, 2013

Hello campers!

Wild grape clusterWell, this week we continued to work down the Middle Fork.  We started out on Sally Flat again, but this time came down the west side.  We were told there had been a tornado through the area a few years ago, but this week we actually encountered large areas that have become inpenetrable due to downed trees and subsequent overgrowth of the understory.

Entrance to fracture cavernFracture cavern in basal Witts Springs sandstoneOn Monday, had a good trail to a fracture cavern in the basal Witts Springs sandstone, and a fine overlook of the Middle Fork valley.  Ended the day with a 500 foot drop to the Cane Hill/Imo contact in a small drainage and back up.

View north from the end of Sally FlatOverlooking the Middle Fork valley

Lute Mountain Road appears impassableThe next day we tried to come down the north end of Lute Mountain Road to get to Lydalisk, but that proved impracticable because it’s even more gullied out than last time I was down it 5 years ago.  That meant we had to go around through Arlberg which took a much longer.  Meadow Creek had come up during the night, and was swelling the Middle Fork considerably below its confluence.  It began to rain as we searched for the next big hollow south, and even though it stopped fairly quickly, the leaves continued to be wet and drippy the rest of the day.  Went up a long hollow west of the river and got good contacts at the base of the Cane Hill and the Witts Springs.  The Cane Hill was exposed almost continuously in the creek bed and is nearly all sandy in this area.

Cane Hill in the jungleAre we ever going to get to the top? More Cane Hill Watch your step!

The author on the Middle Fork-I've mapped the geology of this river all the way to Tilly.

The author on the Middle Fork-I’ve mapped the geology of this river all the way to Tilly.

On the way out we found a new fossil locality in the Imo shale.  Nice calcareous siltstone concretions encrusted with pyrite and fossils with a few solitary crinoids, gastropods, bivalves, and rugosa in the shale.  Looked up a small hollow for a cave marked on the topo, but were disappointed.  Wednesday, we decided to walk the Lute Mountain Road to get some points on the north end of the mountain and down along the west side of the river.

It was a good idea because everywhere else along there is much steeper.  Again we found good Witts Springs/Cane Hill/Imo contacts.  The walk out was quite a climb, and after exchanging our drenched clothes for dry ones, we drove back to Little Rock.

Lepidodendron in Imo sandstone

Snake count: still 0

Tick attacks: low to moderate

Conostichus count: 1

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