04/1 Upper Table Rock: Confluence of Geology, Geomorphology, and Ecology

Instructor: Lawrence D. Broeker
Date: Saturday April 1, 9 AM-4:30 PM*
Location: Central Point, OR
Tuition: $70

*end time may vary slightly, please plan accordingly


Take a guided journey into the relationship between the natural processes of geomorphology, geobotany and ecology. Seven million years ago, a massive outpouring of lava swept down the ancestral canyon of the Rogue River and spread across the broad plain north of modern-day Central Point — leaving us today with the 800-foot high horseshoe-shaped mesa-buttes of Table Rocks. A network of shrinkage fractures inherent to the 100 to 200 foot thick capping lava flow [andesite of Table Rock] provide pathways for erosion to dismantle the iconic landmarks piecemeal, as well as a moist refuge where roots can anchor and vegetation take hold. The prairie habitat found atop Table Rocks hosts grassy soil mounds and vernal pools amid an expansive lava flat, and supports diverse plant communities. Growing astride these ephemeral pools is the dwarf woolly meadowfoam, a narrow endemic species only found atop Table Rocks — and nowhere else. Explore a bounty of wildflowers in their oak woodland habitat as you amble up a well-beaten path onto the flat-topped summit of Upper Table Rock.

*Field hike is Advanced: 3-5 miles of hiking per day and climbs of up to 1,000 ft.
Ages 14+ are welcome.