The only evergreen tree on Brush Mountain within the Tyrone area. Every other tree loses its leaves in the fall. The fact that this tree was able to grow in the ganister rock formations with little topsoil is an amazing thing. It's just one reason why we hope you'll find this site interesting. Read on.
The Miraculous Ganister Flows of Central Pennsylvania!
Have you seen The Eagle on Brush Mountain? Many Tyroners have seen the outspread wings of a Golden Eagle in the rock outcropping that makes all growth impossible? The head of the eagle is to the right, one wing is "up" to the top, and the outstretched tail is to the left. Some others say there are two eagles, the one to the right, and the smaller one to the left. Since the name of the Tyrone sports teams is "Golden Eagles", many see the eagle quite clearly here. Do you?
Have you wondered about those areas of rock where no trees ever grow? There is a fascinating story of why these exist, and it was told to WTRN by Sam McCulloch, a retired geologist.
Back when all of this area was flat and at the bottom of the ocean, a layer of sand was formed, and hardened. This was "Ordinary" Sandstone, which, as the earth cooled, began to buckle and formed mountains in our area. As sandstone erodes, it forms soil, and this is what we farm, it's what gives us what be live on, and is vital to our lives.
But, while the area was flat something happened, which Sam compared to the eruption of Mt. St. Helens, in which a volcano spewed out molten rock that fell into the sea, and percolated down to the bottom where it flattened out, and when it cooled, was so hard that it would never erode or break down. No water would ever seep through it, nor would oil ever be found in it.
Visualize a giant "splattering" of this molten ganister" which was lying on the surface of the flat earth, and then as the "buckles" became mountains and eroded and became smaller in size, as they filled the valleys with soil. These "splatters" were, and are, so hard that they will never erode, and so they remain. Pieces have broken off, but they still sit where they were millions of years ago, while the softer sandstone turned into soil and has been carried perhaps hundreds of miles downriver to form lush fertile farm fields.
Can you visualize this Ganister Rock outcropping, standing on end, and then gradually breaking off in pieces, tumbling down the mountain, but never dissolving and becoming topsoil. "It just lays there; it's so hard it never erodes."
"When you look at ordinary sandstone," Sam continues, "you can see the grains of sand in the stone. With Tuscarora Sandstone, it is so hard you cannot see any grains of sand.
"Once in Montana, I found a bed of this rock that was two inches thick that was so hard it couldn't be dissolved. It was full of teeth, probably dinosaur teeth. and it was so hard I couldn't break it with a hammer. It, like the Pennsylvania Ganister, could have come from Mt. Everest or another giant volcano, perhaps halfway around the world.".
Is there a use for this hard stone? Probably not. Except as a spectacular reminder of what once was.
Stone Mountain, Huntingdon and Mifflin Counties. Note the roadway dug in the stone at some point in the past; otherwise, this looks as it did thousands of years before any civilization existed here.