Waterfall Erosion Under Treeroots
This waterfall flows over and underneath tree roots north of Longmire Meadow on the southwest flank of Mount Rainier. As a geoarchaeologist, I often think of tree roots growing within the soil, which later deposits bury. However, we often find the dirt associated with roots to be dark and extremely loose compared to nearby strata. This photograph illustrates one of the reasons why: the waterfall gouged out the soil through the tree roots and transported it downstream. Later, other transported soil, rocks, leaf litter and duff from upslope will fill in the space. This may even happen after something large covers the tree roots, so the items below the roots may actually be younger than those above. Trippy.
The Trail of the Shadows within Mount Rainier National Park passes this spot on the way to its confluence with the Rampart Ridge Trail. Both of these paths begin near Longmire. This portion of Mount Rainier, which is a member of the Cascade Mountain Range in western North America, can be accessed through Ashford, Washington, southeast of Tacoma.
Waterfall Erosion Under Treeroots by Shari Maria Silverman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.