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Panola Mountain State Park
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Panola Mountain State Park is located in the Piedmont province of Georgia, an area of largely level metamorphic and igneous rock.  The Panola granite is believed to be the result of an intrusion of magma into the existing rock.  This occurred during a time when the Piedmont province was much different.  In the millions of years since the intrusion, the Piedmont has been leveled by the forces of weathering and erosion.  This level surface is now dotted with the remnants of more resistant rock called monadnocks.  

The Panola granite is thought to have formed over 300 million years ago when magma was forced into the country rock.  Due to the heat, the country rock fractured and some of the pieces of it melted and became part of the magma.  Other fragments at the edge of the magma chamber remained intact and we now find them as inclusions or xenoliths.  Over millions of years, the magma cooled and the rock contracted.  This resulted in fractures called joints and some were filled with minerals.  Finally, tens of thousands of feet of overlying rock was removed by erosion.  This left the Piedmont at its current elevation and exposed the more resistant Panola Mountain.  

At Panola Mountain, there is a variety of geologic phenomena to observe.  You will notice areas where trees are growing and there seems to be an unusual angle between the large trees and the saplings.  This is due to soil creep - the barely perceptible downward movement of soil.  There is also an elongated granite outcrop of what is often called "pavement rock."  This results from the exfoliation process where the rock has expanded due to a decrease in pressure.  Xenoliths are commonly found on Panola Mountain and include amphibolite, biotite gneiss, and granite gneiss. There is also an area where you can see the contact between the country rock and the Panola granite.  There are loose, flat rocks (amphibolite) which greatly differ from the nearby granite boulders. 

Finally, there is a stream that winds through Panola Mountain State Park which provides an opportunity for a look at hydrology.  By observing the valley depth, you can see that man as well as nature has played a roll in the shaping of this landscape.  This valley is cultivated which enhances the effect of runoff.  There is also an example of a knick point due to an area of the streambed having an area of more resistant rock.  You can also see how joints in the Panola granite have controlled the stream's path by allowing the stream to follow the path of least resistance.  There are also examples of meanders and an area that is likely to become a cut-off meander.  In the flood plain of the stream, you will find fertile soil and lush ferns and trees.