Is Pinnacle Mountain a Volcano?
As the superintendent of Pinnacle Mountain State Park it is my responsibility to inform our team, guests and residents of the area about anything that may affect their ability to have the highest level of safety, security and service. The time has come for all the reasons above to “head for the hills.” There is a rumbling that is taking place along the slopes, around the base, within the forest, upon the waters and out in the open grasslands of this grand natural fixture. Pinnacle Mountain stands about 1,000 feet above sea level, is on the extreme eastern edge of the Ouachita Mountain range, and sits where three rivers, the Arkansas, Big Maumelle and Little Maumelle, converge.
Pinnacle Mountain’s peak has been a fixture for centuries. The diversity of the area has attracted people of equal diversity, each taking advantage of the ecosystem that suites their particular needs (forest, wetlands, open prairie, upland forest…etc.) for hiking, cycling, kayaking, birding and many other activities at the park. Geologists frequently visit to study this natural wonder and because of its interesting formation, it’s often referred to as the Maumelle chaotic zone! When we have prescribed burns as shown above, the calls come pouring in from concerned citizens about an “eruption” at Pinnacle Mountain. And while Pinnacle Mountain has a distinctive volcano look, it is not a volcano. The shape of the mountain actually came by way of the combined delicate brush strokes of the wind and the years of sculptured erosion of water. This, diverse geological creation primarily Jackfork Sandstone, is created generally by a process called thrust faulting. Thrust faulting often “thrusts” older and lower rock over higher and younger rock.
If Pinnacle Mountain isn’t a volcano, then what is this talk of eruption? The eruption is one of service, an eruption of creative minds and committed hearts. There is an eruption of interpretive programs, events and services which come from the constant “eruptive type” activity of a professional team, strong leadership driven by a deep devotion to mission, passion and commitment to this natural jewel. This type of eruption allows our guests to explore, push their limits, and connect to this beautiful park in personal and meaningful ways.
Yes, as the superintendent I encourage the reader and our visitors to head to the hills. Not to run from anything catastrophic but rather to a positive experience. This experience is geared to give and create memories that families will cherish for a lifetime, and place a passion in your hearts that will burn deeply. This passion will sear an emotional connection, which over time may cause its own stewardship, ownership and leadership eruption within you!