Definition: freak |frēk| noun
a very unusual and unexpected event or situation
Definition: geological |ˌjēəˈläjikəl| adjective,
the science that deals with the earth’s physical structure and substance, its history, and the processes that act on it.
Cape Fear Arch – The Geological Freak
The Cape Fear Arch is a geological uplift of sand and limestone. It started rising 35-45 million years ago and it’s still coming up, a centimeter or two per year. The sand and limestone deposits have led to a unique diversity of plants and animals. Plants such as the Venus flytrap are endemic to this region, meaning they are found nowhere else in the world.
Another way to say geological freak is to say geological aberration.
Definition: aberration |ˌabəˈrā sh ən| noun a characteristic that is a departure from what is normal, usual, or expected.
In other words, something VERY SPECIAL.
Lots of pushing and shoving going on
The arch acts like a wedge pushing aside sediments that are deposited on top of it. The arch is tectonic, and that means seismic (see definitions below). Charleston, is in a “hinge zone” of the arch. This is the point where its push tends to meet the shove of other features underground. Upthrust of land from the ocean rather than from river sediments cause the Arch to be home to dry, sand-based soils that harbor dozens of plants and animals found in few, if any, other places. These are called endemic species because they are native to a
particular geographic area. This is what makes them freakish or special.
Some like it Wet
Everything on Earth lives in a biome. A biome is an area of land with special climate, soil, plants, and animals. A wetland is one kind of biome. The wetland biome contains special plants and animals that, over time, have grown together to help each other live in that particular environment.
A wetland biome is an area of land where soil is saturated with moisture either permanently or seasonally. Water found in wetlands can be saltwater, freshwater, or brackish (semi-salty). Wetlands have a large number of plant and animal species living with them. For this reason, they are considered “biologically diverse of diverse”.
Swamp - A Wetland where trees and shrubs grow on land that is flooded
throughout most of the year.
Bottomland - Wetlands along streams and rivers that experience both wet and
dry periods during the year. Bottomlands or Lowlands are often
Marsh - Marshes are the wet areas filled with a variety of grasses and rushes.
They can be found in both freshwater areas and in the saltwater areas
near our coast.
Pocosin - Pocosins are wet areas with evergreen trees and shrubs growing on
peat or sandy soils. Peat is a spongy-feeling material made up of
rotting plants. The word pocosin comes from the Algonquin Indian
word meaning “swamp on a hill.”
Wetland plants and animals can’t live in a place that is all wet, such as a pond, or all dry, such as a meadow. The water and soil mixture has to be just right for a wetland to be a good home for wetland species (plant and animal types). Wetland species have some special adaptations. For example, some wetland birds’ beaks are just the right length to dig for bugs and worms that live in the mud under shallow water
More Reasons Why Cape Fear Arch is Special
22 endemic species of plants
19 endemic species of animals
100% of the world’s native Venus flytraps
© 2009 by the Cape Fear Arch Conservation Collaboration
Copies can be made for educational purposes only
Developed and Produced by the Cape Fear Arch