Canyon Lake Gorge, part 2

ck

It was cold and incredibly windy as the class gathered up at the dam overlook yesterday morning. Before we descended into the gorge, we got a refresher on Texas geological history from Dr. Carter Keairns. The limestone in this area was formed during depositional cycles when much of Texas lay under a warm, shallow inland sea. trail

Through the wildflowers down to the trail.

spillway

Overlooking the spillway, we hear about the action of the floodwaters and get an overview of the various features of the gorge, including dinosaur tracks on the floor of the spillway.

dinosaur

The dinosaur tracks are pretty indistinct. However, after delineating the left/right pattern of the animal’s steps, it’s clear that it’s a set of tracks made by a three-toed dinosaur. Around some of the tracks, a faint pushed-up ridge evidences the mud displaced by the dinosaurs’s weight as it stepped into the mud. The tracks disappear abruptly under a higher, undisturbed layer of limestone.

level 1

We clamber down onto the next level under the spillway, which is littered with gigantic blocks of limestone, many them larger than cars, pockmarked all over by fossilized remants of marine animals and their movement through the sediment at the bottom of the ancient sea. This calcareous limestone was formed by depositional action upon the skeletons and shells of millions of marine micro-organisms. Around us, there are a few green plants but not many, and tiny patches of yellow damianita dot the rocks, blowing in the wind. It rained hard the night before and it seems scrubbed fresh and clean in the cold air. It is a fascinating and austere landscape.

tree

The power and direction of the floodwaters that created the gorge is evident everywhere.

Continued in Canyon Lake Gorge, Part 3

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  1. […] Continued in Canyon Lake Gorge, Part 2 […]

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