Friday last Pam and I joined a “James Potorti Memorial Gorge Walk” through Buttermilk Falls State Park where we learned interesting facts connected to one of my most successful photographs, “Summer Dream: Buttermilk Falls.” This is the second post of this series.
On a July morning 2018 I walked Buttermilk Creek from the scene of my “Summer Dream: Buttermilk Falls”, up the steps on the right of that photograph to where the water flows across a flat expanse of stone. This is a photograph of that expanse taken using a tripod mounted Canon EOS 1DS Mark III body with the Canon lens EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM w/a neutral density filter (0.6 as I recall).
Click photograph for a larger view.
For a scene from nature there are many straight lines and, even, right angles in addition to the layering of the sedimentary rock from its origin as eroded material from the ancient Arcadia mountains collected on the floor of a warm shallow sea. We learned from Friday’s walking tour this sea was close to the equator at that time, riding on a tectonic plate that’s since drifted north. This North American Plate jostling with the others.
Beneath these rocks were older formations in which decomposed organic matter had transformed to methane gas. When the African plate and this pressed together, the stressed rocks weakened at right angles to the force, each stress point joining others in straight lines. The methane gas pressure from below forced the weak points to open a straight line fractures.
As the plates continued to move, orientation to the African plate transformed by ninety degrees and the two pressed together again. Methane gas pressure was present, causing straight line fractures at right angles to the others. Everywhere these rocks are exposed across the Finger Lakes region we see these right angle fractures.
James Potorti was a native of Ithaca who perished at 52 years of age in New York City on September 11, 2001 were he worked on the 96th floor of 1 World Trade Center.
Capturing photographs and videos on the fly using an Iphone, we visited Fillmore Glen State Park, Moravia, New York with our granddaughter, Nia. This is the fifth post of this series. Click me for the first post in this series.
Click any photograph for a larger view.
Moss and soil held in place by roots, it is unsettling to pass this place. This entire section is unsettled and unsettling to someone with an overactive imagination, who notices nothing growing below this place, in a gorge otherwise covered in greenery.
This decade some exceptional trail stabilization work was completed. Here is a portion of the trail, near the above photograph, the bank of loose soil held in place with a stepped retaining wall crafted from wood 8×8 posts. Higher in Fillmore Glen a portion of the trail is closed where the hillside gave way 14 years ago.
Gravity working toward disaster is seen as a constant infall, a slow rain of trees, left in place to rot over the course of a century.
Dying trees on unstable creek bank are cut before falling.
Beneath the infall, chaos, this wood sorrell took root on a shin high shale shelf among mosses. The taste of the plant is sour, leading to the name from the greek for “sour.” The family Oxalidaceae comprises 570 species. I till not venture to guess this one.
Also known as sourgrass and false shamrock, these grow on a thread of hope in a glimmer of sunlight.
Copyright 2019 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved
Capturing photographs and videos on the fly using an Iphone, we visited Fillmore Glen State Park, Moravia, New York with our granddaughter, Nia. This is the fourth post of this series. Click me for the first post in this series.
Click any photograph for a larger view.
Gorge trails follows the path cut by Dry Creek through eons of multiple and various sedimentary rock. The work of the CCC crew (see “Presidents Millard Fillmore and F.D. Roosevelt”) makes it literally child’s play to negotiate a course otherwise impossible to do without getting soaking wet.
There were seven bridges, wooden over steel I-beams, we crossed today. The trail beyond bridge seven is closed due to hazardous conditions, don’t know what exactly. The gorge is plagued with landfalls. Much of the modern work is elaborate wooden supports of the land beneath the trail.
Every step on the Gorge Trail is beneath 100+ foot walls, steep slopes held in place by the forest and every variety of native wildflower.
I took the following video from a zig-zag path over a difficult steam topography tamed by two bridges and limestone walls sourced from the stream bed.
Evidence of Plate Tectonics
Above, is a view of the characteristic right angle faulting of the limestone base of Dry Creek, faulting produced when the North American plate pressed against the African plate, released, then after pivoting 90 degrees, pressed again against Africa before finally separating with the create of the Atlantic Ocean.