Dundee Falls: A beautiful waterfall in northeastern Ohio

June 4th, 2019

Dundee, Ohio — One of the joys of summer for a geologist is the time to take short trips in the neighborhood to explore nature. This afternoon Greg Wiles, Nick Wiesenberg, Greg’s adventurous dog Arrow, and I drove about 45 minutes into Tuscarawas County to visit Dundee Falls, which is in the Beach City Wildlife Area. It was a gorgeous day. The falls are formed by a creek rushing into a gorge walled by the Dundee Sandstone (= Massillon Sandstone), part of the Pottsville Series of Upper Carboniferous age. I hadn’t heard of this place until Alexis Lanier (’20) recommended it.
The vertical sandstone walls are impressive. This particular face is used by rock climbers. I learned on this visit that the climbers occasionally scrub the cliff face with wire brushes to remove slippery moss and the inevitable graffiti.

The sandstone shows several sedimentary structures, including dramatic cross-bedding. These are like lateral accretion deposits from meandering streams in a delta complex.

The sandstone has layers of iron oxide concretions reminiscent of the Moqui Marbles we saw in the Navajo Sandstone on our Utah Expedition this spring.

Nick”s right hand is on a quartz-pebble conglomerate within the sandstone. These core beds are common throughout the Pottsville Series. They likely represent braided stream deposits and classic molasse. The reddish color is what remains of spray-painted graffiti.

The unscrubbed, unpainted walls host a wonderful moss-fern flora.

One of the goals of this hike was to determine the ages of the oldest trees. Nick and Greg (and Arrow) are here scoping out the woods for the largest oak trees.

Greg and Nick worked hard inserting their coring devices. The process makes some incredible squawking noises as the bit is screwed into the tight wood. I also learned that taking the corer out of the tree can be much harder than putting it in! So far the dendrochronology team found trees only about 200 years old, which is too young to interest them.

Arrow the Dog was a great companion as always! He seems to have a very good time on these outings.

Update from Dr. Wiles, ace dendrochronologist: “Nick worked up the five cores we took and below is the Dundee Ring Width Series – inner ring 1823, second growth. Looks like a slow release up until 1900 and then a big release – selective logging and the big logging at 1900? Maybe the quarry was set up ~1900.”

 

3 Responses to “Dundee Falls: A beautiful waterfall in northeastern Ohio”

  1. Gregon 06 Jun 2019 at 6:22 am

    Thanks for the post Mark – great place.

  2. Bill Reinthalon 07 Jun 2019 at 11:50 am

    All these local waterfalls would “normally” be dry by now, but with 3 very wet years in a row, it’s nice to see so many of them with running water, Mark! The outcrops look very similar to those of the older (?both are Pennsylvanian?) Sharon Cgl, well exposed at Whipp’s Ledges, near Hinckley, not too far from Wooster.

    All that screeching tree-coring reminds me of the oft-reported tale of the dendrochronologist who unwittingly “conspired” with a Forest Service worker to cut down one of the oldest of all bristlecone pines, in the early 60s, the so-called Prometheus tree.

    Here’s one accounting of the dangers of getting your coring device stuck, in a tree of unknown age: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/how-one-man-accidentally-killed-the-oldest-tree-ever-125764872/

  3. Mark Wilsonon 07 Jun 2019 at 2:40 pm

    Nice additional color for the story, Bill. Thanks!

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