Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Schoodic Point

Drove out to Schoodic Point this afternoon (also hiked down Cadillac Mountain this morning but that's a different story).  Schoodic is a part of Acadia National Park but on a separate peninsula from Mt Desert Island in Maine (about an hour drive from Bar Harbor).

Schoodic Point off in the distance from the top
of Cadillac Mountain on Mt Desert Island

I've been there before but it's been at least 15 years.  I've traveled to a lot of national parks around the U.S., but I'd have to say that if I were to compile a list of best parks to visit Acadia would be one of the top 10 - especially Schoodic Point.  It's one of the most beautiful places in the country.

This picture does not do justice to the colors here

What makes it so neat is that the shoreline is composed of pink granitic bedrock covered with deep green conifers.  Combine that with the deep blue ocean water and varying shades of blue in the sky.  The light is special giving the colors a clarity not normally seen.

The granite slopes down into the sea and the waves shoot up fractures in the granite spewing fountains of water into the air as the tide moves in and out.  There are, of course, people there, but with a little walking it's easy to find a secluded spot to sit and watch the waves.

Schoodic Point with Cadillac Mountain in the distance

Schoodic Point is also a geologist's paradise.  I could easily spend the day here with a class of students examining at all the different igneous rock features, geologic structures, glacial geology, and coastal geomorphology.  The first thing you notice when walking on the 419 million-year-old granite is that it's intruded by dark diabase dikes (diabase is a type of igneous rock similar to basalt and dikes are igneous intrusions formed when the rock fractures and molten rock is injected and solidified).

Black diabase dikes intruding the pink granite

The diabase is more easily weathered than granite so in many places the dikes are weathered out to leave crevasses where the seawater can rush in.

Some of the dikes show interesting features.  Dikes cross-cut other dikes (illustrating relative age relations).  Some show small amounts of offset from faulting.  Some are curved and very pumicy-looking (perhaps intruded while the granite was still soft?). Others have little offshoots clearly illustrating how the dikes propagate through fracturing rock.

Also visible are many conjugate joint sets at 60° & 120° (structural geologists get excited over these, but it would take too long to explain here - it has to do with how stresses fracture isotropic rock).

Beautiful plumose structure on joint faces (feathery looking features formed by fracture propagation through the rock).

And much, much more...
Lots of fun climbing around the rocks with my kids - as I told them, I may be old but I can still climb like a monkey (even in bare feet).

No comments:

Post a Comment