Shrinking Blue Ridge

Photos by John McCaslin

Time and erosion are slowly taking their toll on the Blue Ridge, which at over 1 billion years of age are the second oldest mountains in the world. So at what rate are local mountain peaks shrinking?

“As best as we can figure our summits are coming down 30 feet per million years, which is pretty slow in the scheme of things,” notes William and Mary Professor of Geology (and Geomorphology) Gregory S. Hancock, pictured here with University of North Carolina-Charlotte Associate Professor of Earth Sciences Missy Eppes and William & Mary senior Jacqueline Huettenmoser.

The trio has been taking “rock weathering” measurements in and around Shenandoah National Park for several days, including most recently on Mary’s Rock and here on Saturday along U.S. 211.

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