Botanical Observations at Devil's Hole State
Part 2 - Gallery
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Caprock in Devil's Hole cove.
Curving surface of Devil's Hole cove wall (northern wall).
The cove wall spalls in narrow 'chips' or flakes (rather than the typical 'blocks'), especially in certain strata with smooth, undulating surfaces.
South cove wall and top of talus slope.
Blocky, angular boulders in talus slope with characteristic plant Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum) in the more arid boulder fields.
Pale Jewelweed (Impatiens pallida) and Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) enjoy the wetter central ravine section of the talus in Devil's Hole cove.
The stream ravine provides moisture for mats of bryophytes, here a moss of the genus Mnium in fruit (with orange capsules).
These are the remnants of moss mats that were probably more extensive at the apex of the talus when water freely fell from the surface stream in the table-land above the gorge.
Masonry face of a blocked stream that formerly fell into the Devil's Hole cove. This stonework is constructed in the caprock.
Looking downslope at the south surface of the ravine in the center of the talus or boulder field in the middle of Devil's Hole cove.
Looking upslope at the top of the talus field, view of the stone steps. Note how this masonry provides additional substrate for crypto-floras and -faunas. The masonry tastefully harmonizes with the native stone strata, as it does in the masonry walls above at the gorge rim, the stone building.
An alvar surface at the gorge rim, bordered by stone wall masonry that once extended beyond the north face of the Devil's Hole cove downstream. This surface at the viewing platform on the south rim of the cove is the surface of the native stone stratum of the caprock and was probably once underwater, much as the bedrock on the southern shore of Goat Island above the cataracts upstream is exposed as declines in the volume of water in the Niagara river present such surfaces for plant colonization. Ice scour once had much to do with the prevention of soil from accumulating on these surfaces.
The V-shaped center of the talus ravine in the center of the Devil's Hole cove formed by streams of seepage that accumulate there. The present stream in this ravine runs under the boulders, then emerges downslope. The large boulder in the center of the ravine detached from the caprock above the talus, as did all of the stone seen here.
Bedrock seepage emerges midslope and falls over a terrace formed from indurated rock strata. The extensive bryophyte mat seen here probably reflects a similar situation below the blocked up stream that once descended over the caprock above, in the upper reaches of the talus ravine.
A lush forest with a rich assemblage of native species occurs on a natural stone ledge or terrace in the lower quarter slope of the gorge, just north of Devil's Hole steps.
The talus seep runs under the basal path on a stony shore through a wet thicket of Dogwood, Willow and Nine-bark shrubs directly into the Niagara River.
Rubble field downstream of Devil's Hole formed from excavation of the access road. Note the near absence of vegetation and how difficult it would be for soil to form. The rubble here is deep and soil accumulates too far below the cobble surface to support vegetation.
Old masonry at the base of Devil's Hole along the shoreline of the river. This wall supported the old railroad bed that forms the walking path at the base of the gorge.
More of the flaking spall where the talus meets the base of the caprock cliffs. Note the sheen of moisture that contributes to this odd form of erosion responsible for the circular aspect of the cove walls.
Conocephalum conicum on vertical boulders where moisture is abundant.
Some soil areas downstream or to the north of the steps and away from the stream seepage are too arid to support much vegetation. The stone steps are in the lower portion of this picture, looking downslope. The Niagara River is to the left beyond the ridge line in the open sunlight.