Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Visiting Elephant Rocks

Another place we visited while camping was this state park.  Again a great site to visit if you are studying geology.  The rocks here are igneous rocks but unlike the Shut Ins (previous post) these rocks were formed underground by the volcano (making them igneous rocks) and then the surface eroded away and tho weathering the rocks formed into large pink granite boulders.  There is no visitor center at the park just an outside information booth to read about the rocks and the quarry that was here in the 1800's.

There were pictures explaining the erosion process.  The path around this park is approximately 1 mile long and is completely handicapped accessible with paved trails.

Near the beginning of the path and throughout many rocks were covered in green or white lichen

Daddy pointing out a boulder that shows signs of erosion due to weathering

This area used to be a large quarry in the 1800 to early 1900's.  They had several examples of what the stones looked like when polished up.  It was quite pretty (although this picture doesn't do it justice)
The stone in its unfinished form.  Daddy was able to point out to the kids the various types of materials in this piece as he is a geology major in his former life.  There is pink feldspar, quartz, biotite and muscovite

There were also examples of how the quarry men would break up the large stones by hammering in large metal nails making a line of holes as in the rock above

Sample of the nails use

Can't remember what this was called but it was a way for large stones to be carried about very short distances.
We read that the larger hole we saw in the stones were when core samples were taken to determine if the stones were of good quality for quarrying

The old quarry with the pink stones in the background

Exploring the boulders and wandering the trails

seeing a large boulder with the nail holes in it but it had been abandon for some reason.  But it gave the kids an idea how these large stones were cut
Seeing a large pile of discarded stones

about halfway through the trails you come to the amazing Elephant rocks formation

They are huge!!  

We found several with names and dates stamped into dating as far back as 1875.

The kids loved to climb on the rocks

It was amazing the size and the precarious way they were standing.

Kids pretending to push a boulder over:)

an outcrop of smaller boulders tempted the children to climb them

on the larger more leveled rocks we found water spots which are called pot holes or bird baths and Daddy discussed with the children how this help to form the rocks we were seeing today

about 3/4 of the way through the trail we found the old quarry house built entirely of the rough pink granite stone.

inside the house with the rail lines.  This stone was quarried for use in ST Louis, Chicago and other areas for building use.

We had to great time exploring this great park and it help us with our geology lessons.  The scenery was just beautiful and I took so many pictures of this area.  At every corner you see something amazing and pretty:)


  1. Awesome photographs - of rocks and family!! You need to get in a few yourself tho....
    These pictures really reminded me of "Enchanted Rock" in the hill country, Texas. If you are ever headed that way you'd love it - its like a giant bald head sticking out of the ground!
    i am so jealous about all the great places you're getting to!

  2. Aw, thanks for sharing this! This is another place we visited the same trip as Johnson Shut many years ago. Where are you headed after this area? I lived down by the MO/AR state border, so I know a lot of cool places down that way.

  3. We have a park here that we call "Big Rock Park", but after seeing these rocks, it seems like our park should be called "mediocre rock park"! :-)

  4. Oh how I love these educational adventures. It is amazing to see how rocks are formed. The rocks are so gigantic and I loved the pictures you took of the children on the rocks. This was a fun one and blessings to you all!

  5. We love Elephant Rocks and Johnson Shut-ins. We spent our anniversary there with the boys. Nico wants to make them a yearly trip. It's great since we live close.