A Wonderland of Rivers and Forests

Ancient Ozarks

As we quietly paddle by a rocky  bluff, I gaze in wonder at this wall of sandstone and dolomite- basking brightly in the majesty of mid day light.
bluff on the Current River
This imposing, craggy geologic sage
(informs me)

“You’re staring at a face from the Paleozoic age.”
(Paleozoic Age:  which ran approx. 542 to 251 million years ago)

At its beginning(Cambrian Period), a dramatic explosion in the diversity of
Life on earth.

(more on this at:  http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/paleozoic/paleozoic.php)

“And as you move on down the river, take time to tip your cap to the mighty


About 450 million years ago,  a continental plate crashed into North America’s east coast.  This was part of the event that created the super continent, Pangea.

This tectonic activity resulted in the formation, the uplifting of the Appalachian Mountain chain, which included what is

NOW the Ozarks.

After the earth tired of all the lifting, the process of weathering and erosion
began…(And Oh how the waters ran…)

Welch Spring

A “first magnitude” spring; Welch Spring flows into the Current River


Then about 200 million years ago, Pangea was breaking apart…
The separation of the continent created a great rift valley, a rift valley that is
now filled by the Mississippi River Basin.
This resulted in:

*not only an earthquake prone area that is active today,

*but it also separated the Ozark Highlands from the rest of the Appalachian
Mountain chain(east of Mississippi River)

*Ozark Highlands/Plateau is approx. 50,000 square miles that includes
sections of Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and a considerable portion of

The Ozarks of Today teems with rivers and streams
(and my favorite dreams)
That vitally flow from three thousand springs…

Pulltite Spring, Current River, MO

A “second magnitude” spring; A little less flow, but Pulltite Spring is BIG on beauty

So it’s no surprise to me, that the Ozarks is home to the largest collection of “first magnitude” springs
(those with over 65 million gallons of daily water flow)

in the world.


Blue Spring/Current River, MO

A “first magnitude” spring; Blue Spring flows into the Current River

But what I do find surprising- the Ozarks is also home to one of the oldest, if not the oldest, mountain range in North America,
the St. Francois Mountains in southeastern Missouri.
Volcanic forces helped create this range of igneous rock that formed an astounding 1.5 billion years ago…

The Appalachians are among some of the oldest mountains on EARTH.
When the Appalachians began forming, the St. Francois Mountains were already twice as old as the Appalachians are today.


“Indeed, the Ozarks is an ancient story,”
so says the Sage.

“And the rivers that run through it, sing a primal song,
that  you’ve known all along”…

“So paddle on, strive on, go with the flow-
write the next page”…

by .

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