Dean M. Chriss
Roots #1, Ohio
(Click image to enlarge)
In search of water and nutrients, the roots of this tree have meandered over and
probed cracks in the side of a massive ledge. It has survived by clinging to
this ledge for decades.
Northeast Ohio contains several areas composed of sandstones and
conglomerates that were not deeply covered with glacial sediments. Further
erosion of the softer glacial till over the centuries has exposed massive
rock ledges like the one seen in this photograph. The ledge here is
composed of Sharon Conglomerate over a ground level layer of
Sharon Conglomerate is made of sediments deposited during a time when Ohio
was a broad coastal plain with meandering and braided streams flowing from
the Alleghenian Orogeny mountain range to the east. These westward-flowing
streams carried smoothly eroded white
quartzite pebbles and granules
that are readily visible within the conglomerate, the bulk of which is
sandstone. These large ledge-forming blocks
of Sharon Conglomerate, some the size of houses, were originally outlined by
a perpendicular joint pattern that can easily be observed in the bedrock.
The movement of the blocks has created a maze of passageways that are home
to a wide variety of wildflowers, trees, and ferns.