A 20-minute drive (give or take) can take you 300-million years into the past. Redbud Valley Nature Preserve is a fantastic place to take a walk and learn about the area’s geologic history. Hundreds of millions of years ago eastern Oklahoma was covered by an inland sea. The water helped create this amazing geology.
Redbud Valley has a nature trail that winds through a woodland area and small prairie but the best part is the Bluff Trail. According to Susan Carr, a naturalist at the Oxley Nature Center, the cliff is made up of two layers of rock that date to the Pennsylvanian age which lasted from about 318-299 million years ago.
The upper layer of the rock, according to Carr, is about 12-feet thick. You don’t have to look hard to see a lot of holes. Those holes are called Vugs and indicate that this area was once home to an ancient coral reef.
Along the cliff face you’ll find rock that’s older than the coral reef. This is a layer of shale. It’s formed when minerals such as quartz, mica, or pyrite settle at the bottom of a body of water. The minerals mix with decaying organic matter in the mud. The pressure builds, lots of layers form, and the mixture eventually become rock thanks to a process called lithification.
Who says time travel isn’t possible?!? I can’t even get my mind around how long it took to form these rocks. Geology is simply amazing.
Redbud Valley Nature Preserve is open Wednesday through Sunday from 8am-5pm. It’s a great place to spend the afternoon (unfortunately, dogs are not allowed).
Susan Carr will host a Geology walk on Oct. 19th, 1:30-3pm.