Sweetgum Trees

Rocky Falls

by Joshua Heston

Every once in awhile, the raw, elemental heart of these old Ozark mountains may be found.

Rocky Falls (just off Highway N southeast of Eminence, Missouri) is an exposed — and extraordinarily dense — volcanic cliff composed of reddish-brown rhyolite poryphyry.

Rhyolite is an igneous rock so dense it scarcely erodes.

After the volcanoes came floods, covering the Ozarks beneath the sea and laying down great quantities of sediment.

The sediment formed great hills dolomite and sandstone.

As the sea retreated, erosion began carving the creeks and rivers of today’s Ozark hills.

At Rocky Falls, the running water carved away the soft dolomite and sandstone mountains, only to expose the dense, volcanic rhyolite poryphory.

Here, the water carved no more and was funneled into a narrow channel.

It is here we can find the beautiful — and primeval — Rocky Falls.

May 28, 2009

From Jory Sherman

“It is a fine beginning.

“Downstream, there is a shallow depression. I know where I can lie immersed in its bed and let the cool waters flow over me. Still further down, there is a wide spot where the bigger bass lurk under the bank and there is shade. It is another one of those magic places that progress seems to have overlooked. It is a place where you can stand and look in both directions and see no sign of man. The woods are steep on one side and there is a high bank on the other side that hides the pasture where my neighbor’s cows graze. For all I know there may be antelope over there, or buffalo. For all I know, there may be a band of Osage Indians wandering over to the very spot where I stand, near naked, bow in hand, flint and bone hooks rattling in leather pouches.”

— page 96, My Heart Is In The Ozarks, by Jory Sherman, The First Ozark Press, Harrison, Arkansas 1982

Plate 1. The impressive Rocky Falls crash down with whitewater. Shannon County, Missouri. February 20, 2009.

Oak Leaf Detail

Plate 2. Rocky Falls, Shannon County. February 20, 2009.


Plate 3. Rock detail, Rocky Falls, Shannon County. February 20, 2009.

cedar berries

Plate 4. Long shot of the water winding its way to the pool, gravel bar in foreground, Rocky Falls, Shannon County. February 20, 2009.

chinkapin oak

Hills & Hollers

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