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Jason Merlo | profile | all galleries >> Texas State Parks, Natural Areas, and Historic Sites >> Enchanted Rock State Natural Area tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area sits on Big Sandy Creek on the border of Gillespie and Llano counties in the Texas Hill Country. It is 18 miles north of Fredericksburg. The Nature Conservancy of Texas purchased the property from Charles Moss in 1978. It later sold the 1,640.5-acre property to the state of Texas. The state bought an additional three acres to add to the park.Enchanted Rock opened as a state natural area in October 1978. It is a National Natural Landmark, and is on the National Register of Historic Places as an Archeological District.

Enchanted Rock rises 425 feet above the base elevation of the park. Its high point is 1,825 feet above sea level, and the entire dome covers 640 acres. One billion years ago, this granite was part of a large pool of magma, or hot liquid rock, perhaps seven miles below the earth’s surface. It pushed up into the rock above in places, then cooled and hardened very slowly, turning into granite. Over time, the surface rock and soil wore away.Those pushed-up areas are the domes you see in the park: Enchanted Rock, Little Dome, Turkey Peak and others. The domes are a small and visible part of a huge underground area of granite, called a batholith. The Enchanted Rock Batholith stretches 62 square miles; most of it is underground. Although Enchanted Rock appears to be solid and durable, it continues to change and erode.

Enchanted Rock is an exfoliation dome (as are the other domes here). That means it has layers like an onion.After the rock and soil on top wore away, the granite expanded slightly because there was less weight bearing down on it. That expansion caused the dome to split into curved sections. As the outer layer of rock breaks into smaller pieces and slides off, the next layer begins to peel away from the dome. This is a process that continues today.

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2014052001, Prickly pear cactus in bloom at sunset 2014042502, Sunset from Enchanted Rock 2014042501, Rain lilies among granite boulders 2014032806, Last light on Buzzards Roost
2013040108, Claret cup cactus on granite 2014040402, Bluebonnets, Engelmanns daisies, and Enchanted Rock 2013021607, Beaked yucca on Little Rock 2012060220, Moonrise over Enchanted Rock
2012060206 Boulders and Turkey Peak 2014032807, Claret cup cactus at sunset 2013101204, Sunset on Little Rock 2012060222, Vernal pool at sunset
2013021608, Layers of granite 2013012112, Cloudy sunset over Little Rock 2013101202, Claret cup cactus on exfoliation joint 2013032517, Beaked yucca on Enchanted Rock summit
2014032803, Claret cup cactus on granite 2014040401, Bluebonnets and Enchanted Rock 2013040103, Claret cup cactus on Little Rock 2012060203 Yucca, coreopsis, and Enchanted Rock
2013032519, Granite exfoliation 2014040407, Claret cup cactus and Enchanted Rock 2013101203, Vernal pool at sunset 2013032506, Claret cup cacti on granite crack
2013012106, Beaked yucca on Little Rock 2013040106, Claret cup cactus on Little Rock 2013021610, Last light on Little Rock 2013040110, Claret cup cactus among granite boulders
2013032511, Bluebonnets on Sandy Creek and Buzzards Roost 2014032805, Claret cup cactus on Buzzards Roost 41GIL00098 Sunset over Enchanted Rock 2013012102, Boulders on Little Rock
2013012103, Beaked yucca on Little Rock 2013032521, Sunset over Enchanted Rock 2013040111, Claret cup cactus at sunset 41GIL00135 Sunburst over Enchanted Rock
2014040411, Bluebonnets in sand on granite 2013032510, Claret cup cactus 2012060221, Sunset over Enchanted Rock 2013051301, Cliffside oak tree
2013032501, Claret cup cactus on boulder 2013032513, Bluebonnets, prickly pear cactus, and Turkey Peak 2013032516, Turkey Peak reflected in Sandy Creek 2012060207 Boulders, coreopsis, and Turkey Peak
2013040105, Claret cup cactus on Little Rock 2013101206, Sunset over Little Rock 2013032504, Claret cup cactus and Buzzards Roost 41GIL00096 Beaked yucca on Enchanted Rock
2013040101, Claret cup cactus in granite crack 2013101201, Beaked yucca on Little Rock 2013040109, Claret cup cactus in boulders 2013032505, Claret cup cacti on granite