Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google+

Blue Haze Vista

The long ridgeline in view is Fourche Mountain and the Ouachita River Valley spreads out below. Highway 71/270 is visible as it makes its way from the community of Acorn to Y-City. To the right of the pullout Earthquake Ridge begins.

Earthquake Ridge is about 5 acres of sandstone outcrops along the Talimena scenic drive. Large boulders form small bluffs and cliffs up to 20 feet in height. This naturally broken (fractured) formation has many openings that are wide and deep enough to walk through. It is easy to see how a person could conclude that such a feature could have been the result of a cataclysmic event such as an earthquake.

While the earthquake lore is an exciting explanation of how this rocky feature came into existence, it is incorrect. The ridge is a quiet testament to the subtle yet equally effective forces of gravity and erosion. This outcrop of sandstone is a small piece of the massive sandstone unit called the Jack form sandstone formation. Part of a large fold in the earth created when the Ouachita Mountains were being formed, this sandstone layer rests on top of shale layers. These underlying shale layers are not strong enough to hold the sandstone layer together. As the mountains erode away, the sandstone boulders you see are slowly fracturing and pulling apart.