Minerals and Geology - Features
1000 Year Old Mine
At first glance this looks like a natural rock feature. In actual fact, it is part of a prehistoric mine on the Ouachita National Forest that may date back at least 1000 or more years. This trench-like feature is what remains from mining out hard Arkansas Novaculite by these earliest of Americans. While we cannot be certain how the mining was conducted, it appears that the rock that was left behind likely was the fulcrum or pivot point for wedges and pry bars made of wood and used to work out adjacent rock (hence, the trenchlike feature we see below...).
The hard dense Novaculite was skillfully fashioned into arrowheads and other tools critical to the cultures that occupied the Ouachita Mountains before settlers moved into the area. A quartz rock similar to flint and chert, the abundance of Novaculite, was traded extensively throughout the region. The settlers moving into Arkansas Territory also learned to value Novaculite. However, their interest was primarily in the softer grades that made excellent sharpening or whetstones, to sharpen their metal tools, weapons, and implements. As the early Native Americans traded Novaculite widely, so did the settlers all the way to the present. Arkansas Novaculite is still highly regarded by those who seek to have the finest of edges on knives, surgical instruments, and other cutting tools. It is also used today in the abrasives and other industries.
The Narrows on the Mountain Fork River
(Hwy 259 in Eastern Oklahoma 200 yards down Road 28000, 20 miles north of Broken Bow, Oklahoma)
Forest Road 28000 crosses the Mountain Fork River within 200 yards of state highway 259. This "sawtooth" like outcrop is a nturally formed pattern of erosion. This Stanley Group formation black shale is also home to several old lead mines, approximately six miles east of this location. Reference: Marcher, Melvin V. and D. L. Bergron, 1983, Oklahoma Geological Survey, Hydroelectric Atlas 9, Map H A-9
Road cut along highway 259, in eastern Oklahoma, several miles south of The Narrows. This fold feature is formed in sandstone units of the Jackfork group.