Monday, November 23, 2009

No Grow Zone

I have enough mysteries needing solved at Blue Jay Barrens to keep me busy for a lifetime. This is a puzzling little patch of ground. For some reason, nothing will grow here. This 10 foot by 20 foot area has looked like this since I moved here.

There is some erosion occurring here, but nothing severe. The site hasn’t changed significantly during the past 25 years, so it’s not accelerated erosion that keeps plants from growing.

Roots grow across the area. These roots are from a nearby cedar. The roots come out of the surrounding soil at the level of this red colored soil layer. Maybe plant roots don’t penetrate this layer and are restricted to the topsoil layer in the adjacent areas. That may explain why the short prairie grasses dominate here.

A lot of rocks here. I’ve found pieces of limestone, sandstone, quartz and oddities that must have been seriously altered by the meteor strike.

Moving water does change the surface pattern occasionally. When saturated, the surface can be quite soft and when dry, quite hard. This site is near the area of one of the large family dump sites, but I don’t think the lack of plant life is a result of foreign chemicals contaminating the soil.

A close up view of the soils reveals something quite interesting. Sand. Could this be decomposed sandstone brought near the surface as the shattered rock layers rebounded from the meteor strike? Sand is certainly less prone to erosion than smaller soil particles and it can be quite inhospitable to seeds trying to germinate. The sand particles seem to be from quite varied origins. This site certainly warrants more detailed investigation. I’ll have to put it on my ever growing list of things to study.


  1. ...really wierd! I read about the meteor that hit where Serpent Mound is located. I hope you solve the mystery...

  2. Strange, indeed. Up until the last few photos, the soil looked very clay-like to me. I'm curious what happens when you pour water on it? Does it get absorbed or pool on top? So many mysteries to keep us all busy...