Friday, September 18, 2009

The High Knob Landform


Looking SW Across Big Cherry Lake Basin
Remnant Highcountry Mass of The High Knob Landform
Crest Zone of High Knob Massif - High Knob Meadow
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

The Cumberland Overthrust Block ( In Winter )
NASA High-Resolution Visible of High Knob Landform
January 11, 2004

Northwestern Flank of High Knob Landform
Majestic Cumberland Gap National Historical Park
Historic Cumberland Gap Shrouded In Autumn Fog
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Southern Appalachians Of The USA
NASA High-Resolution Visible of High Knob Landform
December 7, 2002 Image

( Inside The RED Outline )
NASA High-Resolution Visible of High Knob Landform
Geological Powell Valley Anticline

Along The NW Flank of The High Knob Landform
Beauty of Keokee Lake In Autumn - Stone Mountain
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Southern Appalachians of United States of America

The High Knob Landform ( HKL ) 
contains more than 1370 square miles.

The remnant massif of the HKL 
contains 182 square miles.

( Clinch River Watershed )
Upper Tennessee River Basin
Remnant Highcountry Mass of The High Knob Landform
Autumn Reflections On Bark Camp Lake of High Knob
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

NW Flank of The High Knob Landform ( HKL )
Cumberland Gap National Historical Park Highcountry
Finley Hensley Home In The Hensley Settlement
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

NW Flank of The High Knob Landform
Highcountry of Cumberland Gap National Historical Park
Lige Gibbons Homeplace In The Hensley Settlement
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Cumberland Gap National Historical Park
Old Time Rail Fence In The Hensley Settlement
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Flag Rock Recreation Area ( City of Norton )
Pickem-Stone Mountain of High Knob Massif
Gorgeous Color Peak In Mid-October 2009
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

High Knob Massif
Water Elevation 2734 feet
Early Autumn At Bark Camp Lake
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

September 26, 2012
Early Autumn Color Changes
High Knob Lake Basin of Clinch River
Endemic Southern Appalachian Northern Hardwoods
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

October 4, 2013
Water Elevation 3308 feet
Upper Norton Reservoir of High Knob Massif
Early Autumn Color Changes In Benges Basin
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

October 2013
High Knob Massif
Majestic Autumn-Winter Contrast
Photograph by Becky Lagow - © All Rights Reserved.

October 12, 2011
Bark Camp Lake of Clinch River Basin
Peaceful Setting In High Knob Massif
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Christmas Holiday 2011
View from High Knob Meadow
Rugged Mountain Terrain of High Knob Landform
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

High Knob Landform
Upper Tennessee River Basin
Autumn Along The Powell River
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

High Knob Landform
Upper Tennessee River Basin
Autumn Reflections On The Powell River
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

High Knob Landform
Clinch River Basin of Upper Tennessee River
Autumn Reflections On Little Stony Creek
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

High Knob Landform
Upper Tennessee River Basin
Autumn Reflections On Devil Fork of Big Stony Creek
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

High Knob Massif
Autumn In Flag Rock Recreation Area
Looking Toward Little Stone Mountain Gap
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

( A Special Friend of Harold Jerrell )
Buddy The Ruffed Grouse ( Bonasa umbellus )
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.




October 2, 2012
Typical Autumn Scene
Clinch River Watershed of Upper Tennessee Basin
Upper Falls of Little Stony Gorge of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

January 1, 2014
Typical Winter Scene
Clinch River Watershed of Upper Tennessee Basin
Upper Falls of Little Stony Gorge of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

January 30, 2014
End Of Harsh January In High Knob Massif
Frozen Upper Falls of Little Stony Gorge
Photograph by Bill Harris - © All Rights Reserved.

Clinch River Basin
Remnant Massif of The High Knob Landform
Middle Falls of Little Stony Gorge In Spring
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

NW Flank of The High Knob Landform
Shillalah Creek of Upper Cumberland River Basin
Shillalah Falls - Cumberland Gap National Historical Park
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Martin Creek of Powell River Basin
Northwest Flank of High Knob Landform
White Branch Falls of Cumberland Mountain
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

High Knob Landform ( HKL )
Upper Tennessee River Basin
White Branch of Martin Creek of Powell River
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Remnant Massif
High Knob Landform
( Clinch River Watershed )
Upper Falls of Little Stony Gorge
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Remnant Massif
High Knob Landform
( Clinch River Watershed of Upper Tennessee Basin )
Plunging Whitewater of Big Falls - Little Stony Gorge
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

High Knob Massif
( Powell River Watershed )
Upper Tennessee River Basin
Rugged Boulder Garden In South Fork Gorge
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

High Knob Massif
( Clinch River Watershed )
Upper Tennessee River Basin
Devil Fork Gorge of Big Stony Creek Basin
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

High Knob Massif
( Clinch River Watershed )
Upper Tennessee River Basin
Whitewater & Ice In Upper Gorge of Little Stony Creek
Photograph by Bill Harris - © All Rights Reserved.

High Knob Massif
( Clinch River Watershed )
Hanging Rock Recreation Area
Lower Gorge of Little Stony Creek
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Stone Mountain
NW Flank of High Knob Landform
Roaring Branch Gorge of Powell River Basin
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

( Upper Cumberland River Basin )
Northwestern Flank of the High Knob Landform
Shillalah Creek of Cumberland Gap NHP Area
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

High Knob Landform
Upper Tennessee River Basin
Cowan Mill Waterfall of Powell River Watershed
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.


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High Knob Landform
Remnant Massif of Highcountry
Majesty of Winter In The High Knob Massif
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Remnant Highcountry of The High Knob Landform
Winter Amid The High Knob Massif Crest Zone
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

January 14, 2012
Rime Coated Crest Zone of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

High Knob Landform
Remnant Massif of High Country
 ( Deep Snow, Rime, Bitter Cold )
Harsh Winter Conditions In Massif
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Dawn of Spring 2013
Jefferson National Forest
High Knob Massif RIME Forest
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

February 2012
Snow Drifts & Rime In High Knob Massif Crest Zone
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

January 18, 2013
Winter Majesty of The Fast & Furious Snowstorm
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.


February 2014
High Knob Massif High Country
Looking Across Part of Powell Mountain Block
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

February 2010
Bark Camp Lake of High Knob Massif
Hard Snowpack In Wake Of Ice Storm
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

High Knob Massif
Wind Sculptured Snow & Rime
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

High Knob Massif Crest Zone
Fluid Nature of Air Flow Revealed By Rime Formation
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

High Knob Massif
( Note Flagging of Trees In Upper Left )
Strong Winds "Flag" Trees On Upper Slopes
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Big Cherry Basin Road on Little Mountain
Winter In The High Knob Massif Crest Zone
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Elevation 4223 feet
( October 18, 2009 )
Autumn Rime On Peak of High Knob
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

High Knob Massif
( November 6, 2010 )
Autumn Snow & Rime Amid The Clouds
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

December 2012
Grindstone Ridge Dome of High Knob Massif
Along The Majestic Trail of The Lonesome Pine
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Powell Valley of High Knob Massif
Snow Upon "Greens" of The Lonesome Pine
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

High Knob Massif
High Country Lakes During Winter
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

High Knob Massif
Wondrous Figurines of Winter 
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Upon The Tennessee Valley Divide
Winter In Cumberland Gap National Historical Park
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Tennessee Valley Divide
Cumberland Gap National Historical Park
Winter In The Hensley Settlement - Elevation 3300 feet
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Tennessee Valley Divide
Cumberland Mountain of The High Knob Landform
White Rocks of Cumberland Gap National Historical Park
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Early Spring In High Knob Massif Crest Zone
Photograph by Bill Harris - © All Rights Reserved.

Winter Along The Tennessee Valley Divide
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

Tennessee Valley Divide
In Wake of Winter Storm
Photograph by Genevie Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

( Through Falling Snow )
Majestic Sunrise Above The Highlands
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

( Long Ridge Community )
Shimmering Skies Above A Winter Snowpack
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

December 22, 2009
Deep Snowpack Along The Tennessee Valley Divide
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.


Photographs are best viewed 
using Google Chrome.


October 2011
Remnant Highcountry of The High Knob Landform
Glorious Dawn In High Knob Massif Crest Zone
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

December 2010 
Remnant Highcountry of The High Knob Landform
Glorious Sunset In High Knob Massif Crest Zone
Photograph by Bill Harris - © All Rights Reserved.


What Makes High Knob Special?
Wayne Browning - Biologist / Climate Researcher / NWS Observer
( These photographs should answer that question! )

August 2012
Looking Toward High Knob Massif
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

High Knob Landform ( Inside Red )
Map Courtesy of Google

( Inside The High Knob Massif )
Remnant Massif of High Knob Landform
Summer View From Powell Valley Overlook
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

High Knob Massif
A City of Norton Park
Summer In Flag Rock Recreation Area
Looking Toward Little Stone Mountain Gap
Photograph by Grant Stanley - © All Rights Reserved.

High Knob Massif
A City of Norton Park
Autumn Majesty In Flag Rock Recreation Area
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

October 2009
Calcareous Core of The High Knob Landform
Orographic Mountain Waves Above Powell Valley
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.



The High Knob Landform Interactive Google Map
Google Map With Highlighted Locations & Information



December 2010
Remnant Massif of High Knob Landform
A Winter Storm Engulfs Bark Camp Lake
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.


High Knob is a special place because its
more than just a mountain peak.

MUCH more!

Early October 2006
Looking Across The High Knob Landform
Photograph by Dan Weemhoff - © All Rights Reserved.

The peak known as High Knob caps a remnant massif ( large mountain mass ) that is part of an extraordinarily diverse mountain landform, the High Knob Landform ( HKL ).

The High Knob Massif is the remnant highcountry of the HKL.  It extends from majestic Guest River Gorge southwestward to the Duffield Valley, to include its rugged northwestern arm called Little Stone Mountain.

January 13, 2010
Calcareous Core of High Knob Landform
Powell Valley Inside of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

In between Little Stone Mountain and the core of the remnant massif lies a arrowhead-shaped valley, the majestic Powell Valley of Wise County, Va., which marks the end of a great erosional breach in the HKL that continues southwestward as the beautifully rolling valleys of Lee County, Va., past historic and famous Cumberland Gap to Norris Lake and the I-75 corridor of northern Tennessee.

From a geological perspective, majestic Powell Valley of Wise County marks the ending of the great erosional breachment of the High Knob Landform which formed via headward erosion over time toward the northeast.

January 2013
Powell Valley Overlook
Northeast End of Calcareous Heart of HKL
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Calcareous Core of High Knob Landform
Wilderness Road State Park - Karst Landscape
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

The northwestern mountain flank of the HKL is especially rugged and distinct with extraordinary natural features such as Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Cave Springs Wilderness Area, and Roaring Branch Gorge ( to note only a few ).

March 14, 2010
Majestic Roaring Branch Gorge
Northwestern Flank High Knob Landform
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

When you stand upon lofty High Knob you are standing on a landform whose roots extend downward for several miles beneath your feet and whose surface spreads outward across ten counties and three states.

It is much, MUCH, more
than a mere knob!

Sunrise Along The Tennessee Valley Divide
Photograph by Genevie Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

( More Than 200 Photographs By Month )
Special Edition: Colors of Heaven's Glory

( Note Fish-tail Lenticular Clouds )
Sunset From Flag Rock Recreation Area
Photograph by Beckie Roberts - © All Rights Reserved.

But what truly makes the HKL special is that its landform possesses endemic characteristics on many major levels of the natural sciences. This is the realization that must be learned in order to truly appreciate this great mountain landscape, since it's loss due to ignorance for what it is would be one of the greatest tragedies in the history of Virginia and the United States.

This is not a landform made
for resource extractions.

It is the fresh water giver, clean air maker,
and major weather changer of this region.

Water Elevation 3308 feet
Upper Norton Reservoir of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.


The High Knob Landform
A great continuous mountain landform
consisting of:

1 ). a remnant massif of highcountry

2 ). a northwestern mountain flank

3 ). a southeastern mountain flank

4 ). an eroded calcareous core that separates these mountain flanks and narrows by headward erosion, to the northeast, into the inverted V-shaped Powell Valley ( adjacent to the High Knob peak ).


February 2010
Powell Valley of High Knob Massif
Stair Stepping Mountain Ridges of South Fork Gorge
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

June 2010
Powell Valley of High Knob Massif
Stair Stepping Mountain Ridges of South Fork Gorge
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Head of Powell Valley
Grindstone Ridge Dome of High Knob Massif
Spring Emergence Differences With Elevation
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Upper Tennessee River Basin
Majestic View From The Wise Plateau
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Northern Slopes of High Knob Massif
Morning Inversion Over The Norton Valley
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

October 31, 2010
Remnant Massif of High Knob Landform
Devil Fork Basin of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Bark Camp Lake In Autumn
Remnant Highcountry of The High Knob Landform
Little Stony Basin of The Clinch River Watershed
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Bark Camp Lake In Winter
Remnant Highcountry of The High Knob Landform
Little Stony Basin of The Clinch River Watershed
Photograph by Bill Harris - © All Rights Reserved.

High Knob Landform
White Rock Cliffs - NW Mountain Flank
Cumberland Gap National Historical Park
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Cumberland Gap National Historical Park
Sunrise from The Pinnacle Overlook
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.



Endemic Characteristics of
The High Knob Landform


Geology

Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

*The HKL is the most dominant structural feature of the 3125 square mile Cumberland Mountain Overthrust Block, the largest piece of deformed continental crust of its kind exposed in the Appalachians ( also called the Pine Mountain Thrust Sheet ).

The Cumberland Overthrust Block is the northwestern-most major thrust sheet in the great southern Appalachian fold-thrust belt and is considered to be the classic model for mountain building ( orogenic ) processes of folding and thrust faulting associated with "thin-skinned" tectonics.

Back Stone Mountain Syncline
Rocks Overturned Toward Southeast
Southeast Flank of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Little Stone-Pickem Mountain
Rocks Overturned Toward Northwest
Northwest Flank of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

*The breached Powell Valley Anticline of the HKL is the only geological structure in Virginia ( and known in the Appalachians ) to host caves in all major cave bearing stratas from Cambrian through Mississippian age.

April 10, 2011
The Devil's Bathtub
Unique Geological Features Inside A Unique Geological Feature
Awesome Beauty - Devil Fork Basin of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

[ The Powell Valley Anticline is the structural foundation, and support for the High Knob Landform.  However, as noted in my extensive follow-up comments at the end of this section, the HKL is much more than just a geological structure ].

*Embedded within the northwestern mountain flank of the
High Knob Landform, adjacent to Fern Lake and Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, is the unique circular basin in which lies Middlesboro, Kentucky. This is widely felt to be an astrobleme.

Summer View from The Pinnacle Overlook
Astrobleme ( Impact Structure ) of Middlesboro Basin
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Autumn View from The Pinnacle Overlook 
Astrobleme ( Impact Structure ) of Middlesboro Basin
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.



Surface Topography

High Knob Lookout Tower
( From High Knob Lake Basin to Osborne Ridge )
Looking SE Across Sprawling Crest of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

*From base to base the High Knob Massif ( remnant highcountry of the HKL ) is the widest single mountain mass in all of western Virginia, and one of the widest in the Appalachians.

*The High Knob Massif contains the highest upper elevation basins in the entire 150+ air mile expanse of the Cumberland Mountains ( valleys at 2400 to 3600 feet above sea level ).

( Valley Floor Elevation 3400 to 3600 feet )
Jefferson National Forest of Clinch Ranger District
Basin Head of Big Stony Creek Gorge of Clinch River
High Knob Lake Basin & Special Biological Area
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

High Knob Lake Basin In Winter
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

High Knob Lake Basin In Early Spring
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

High Knob Lake Basin In Late Spring
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

February 2014
Wind Swept High Knob Summit
Looking Across Big Cherry Lake Basin
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

*The High Knob Massif contains the longest backslope 
( distance from its S-SE base to N-NW crestline that is not associated with a ridge or spur ) of any mountain in western Virginia and the Cumberland Mountains.

*The High Knob Massif  and its NW arm contain one of the greatest concentrations of mountain gorges of any singular mountain mass in the southern Appalachians ( a result of its large size and amazing structural geology ).

South Fork of Powell River Gorge
Big Stony Creek Gorge
Straight Fork Gorge
Chimney Rock Gorge
Devil Fork Gorge
Glady Fork Gorge
Cove Creek Gorge
Dry Creek Gorge of Cove Creek
Stock Creek Gorge
Laurel Fork Gorge of Stock Creek
Dry Fork Gorge of Stock Creek
Roddy Branch Gorge of Valley Creek
McGhee Creek Gorge
Dry Creek Gorge of Clinch River
Little Stony Creek Gorge
Guest River Gorge
Mill Creek Gorge
Burns Creek Gorge
Machine Creek Gorge
Clear Creek Gorge
Lost Creek Gorge
Roaring Branch Gorge

Maple Gap Karst Fields
Looking Up South Fork Gorge of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Bear Rock Overlook
Looking Across Little Stony Gorge of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Extreme Eastern End of Massif
Guest River Gorge of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Refer To Unique Geological & Climatic Setting

*The 2000 feet of vertical drop within only 0.8 mile off Grindstone Ridge Dome of High Knob is one of the greatest short-distance elevation changes west of the Blue Ridge ( across the western expanse of the Appalachians ).

Head of Powell Valley
( A Topographic Dome Shape )
Grindstone Ridge Dome of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Kevin Estep - © All Rights Reserved.

*The northwestern mountain flank of the High Knob Landform
( geologic NW forelimb of Powell Valley Anticline ) possesses unusual beauty and potential to become a Linear Park & elongated conservation corridor with many scenic and already designated sites along its Little Stone, Stone, and Cumberland mountains ( a continuous mountain with different local names ).

Geological NW Forelimb of Powell Valley Anticline
NW Flank of The High Knob Landform ( In RED )

NW Flank of The High Knob Landform
( A few places of interest - Norton to Middlesboro )

Flag Rock Recreation Area
Dual Norton Reservoir System
Little Stone Gap - Powell Valley Overlook
Rimrock Lake
Appalachia Lake
"The Big Stone Gap"
SW VA Museum Historical State Park
Roaring Branch Gorge
High Butte of Stone Mountain
Keokee Lake
Cave Springs Wilderness Area
The Stone Face in "The Pennington Gap"
Yellow Rocks of Stone Mountain
Rainbow Arch of Stone Mountain
Stone Mountain State Natural Area
Cranks Creek Lake
Martins Fork Lake
Martins Fork State Natural Area
White Branch Falls & Gorge
Wilderness Road State Park
Shillalah Creek Wildlife Management Area
Cumberland Gap National Historical Park
"The Cumberland Gap"
Fern Lake
Childress-Wilson Gap Area

The Dual Norton Reservoir System, Flag Rock Recreation Area, Little Stone Mountain Gap-Powell Valley Overlook, Rimrock Lake and Appalachia Lake are technically part of the High Knob Massif but mark the true beginning of this continuous NW mountain flank of the High Knob Landform ( stretching from Pickem Mountain & the City of Norton to Cumberland Gap and the I-75 corridor ).
All the same mountain but with different local names given for specific sections.

( NW Flank HKL Along Right Side )
Little Stone Gap of High Knob Massif
Powell Valley Overlook In Late Spring 2010
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Keokee Lake of Stone Mountain ( NW Flank HKL )
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

( Stone Mountain Section )
NW Flank of High Knob Landform
The Stone Face Near Pennington Gap
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Northwestern Flank of High Knob Landform
View From Yellow Rocks of Stone Mountain
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Martin Creek of Powell River
White Branch Falls & Gorge
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Cumberland Mountain section of NW Flank
Looking Across The High Knob Landform
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Along Cumberland Mountain
Wilderness Road State Park of High Knob Landform
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

View from Pine Mountain State Park
Looking East to NW Flank of High Knob Landform
View From Pine Mountain to Cumberland Mountain
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

In Misty Cloud Vapor
Spring Forest of The Cumberland Gap
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Cumberland Mountain
Rugged NW Flank of Ancient Mountain Landform
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Northwestern Flank of The High Knob Landform
Fern Lake of Cumberland Gap National Historical Park
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Many other cultural and physical features are present along this truly awesome and magnificent mountain flank.

An increasingly wide and majestic karst valley of rolling ridges and open expanses becomes a dominant topographic feature of the landform ( eroded calcareous core of the ancient High Knob ) southeast of its NW Flank and southwest of its remnant massif.

Southwestern Expanse of High Knob Landform
Rolling Karst Valley In Golden Morning Light
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Aspects of this truly incredible Calcareous Core ( Heart ) of the High Knob Landform, where the bulk of people live, are featured throughout this website.


SE Flank of The High Knob Landform
( A few places of interest - Duffield to Norris Lake )

The Divide ( North Fork of Clinch River Gap )
Elk Knob of Wallen Ridge
Lovelady Gap of Wallen Ridge
Wallen Creek Basin ( Stickleyville Area )
Buzzard Roost of Wallen Ridge
Phoebe's Butt of Wallen's Ridge
Kane Gap Overlook of Powell Mountain
Stone Ridge & The Sinks
Newman Ridge
Blackwater Creek Basin to Kyles Ford
Big & Little Sycamore Creek Basins
Lone Ridge

Stickleyville Community
Historic Wallen Creek Basin of High Knob Landform
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

While Wallen Ridge is technically an "interior ridge" of the High Knob Landform, it joins with Powell Mountain to form the beautiful and historic Wallen Creek Basin adjacent to The Divide
( North Fork of Clinch River Gap ) and High Knob Massif ].

December 7, 2009
Majestic Morning Sky Above Wallen Ridge
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Powell Mountain Vista
Along the Southeast Flank of The High Knob Landform
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Kane Gap of Powell Mountain Overlook
Southeastern Flank of The High Knob Landform
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

( Between Jasper & Duffield )
Cliff Mountain of The High Knob Massif
In The Divide - North Fork of the Clinch River Gap
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Adjacent to this SE Flank is Natural Tunnel State Park featuring the famous Natural Tunnel which was carved out over time along the Glenita Fault System by Stock Creek of the High Knob Massif.

Magnificent Natural Tunnel in Natural Tunnel State Park
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

( High Knob Massif Along Upper Left Horizon )
From Cove Ridge Overlooking The Rye Cove Karst Basin
The Anderson Blockhouse - Natural Tunnel State Park
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.


The High Knob Landform ( HKL ) - Partial View
High Resolution NASA Visible Satellite Image

Discussion Of Above Image

This image illustrates how BIG the remnant massif of High Knob is as snow, the white on the image, covers most of its elevated highcountry except for portions of its northwestern, northern, and extreme southeastern bases ( via a significant snow, ice & rime event in December 2002 with a SE air flow component that upsloped across the massif ).

Water Capturing Wonder
Northwestern Mountain Wall of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Note how wide the white area is across the High Knob Massif compared with that capping the adjacent crestlines of Black Mountain, along the Virginia-Kentucky border to the west, and Clinch Mountain to the southeast.  

Pine Mountain can be seen farther northwest, stretching southwestward from Breaks Gorge on the VA-KY border across southeastern Kentucky ( with variable amounts of snow cover along its length ).

Looking To Pine Mountain Along The Horizon
Autumn Colors On The Tennessee Valley Divide
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

Observe how The Cedars, of Lee County, Va., show up beautifully amid the breached calcareous core of the HKL as the elongated dark green strip eastward of the V-notch appearing white sections marking snow that is capping Cumberland & Brush mountains of Cumberland Gap NHP ( the Martins Fork Basin being less well covered and illuminated by snow in between the high mountain crestlines, to create a darker section amid the V-shaped whiteness laying across northeastern sections of the National Park ).

Tennessee Valley Divide
NW Flank of The High Knob Landform
Brush Mountain-Cumberland Mountain Section
Rugged Martins Fork of Cumberland River Basin
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

A more general covering of snow is observed north of the massif, across central-northern Wise County and the northwest portion of Dickenson County in Virginia.  Note the MANY mountain ridges and hills across this area, and to the west of Pine Mountain, and how small they appear in comparison to the High Knob Massif.

The High Knob Landform ( HKL ) is HUGE, of course, and its remnant massif is very large.  In fact, the highcountry of the remnant massif of High Knob is larger than some counties in eastern Virginia and the state of Kentucky!

Elevation 4223 feet
( Looking Down Upon NW Mountain Wall )
Looking Southwest From High Knob Meadow
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.



Ecology-Biodiversity

Hotspots of Rarity and Richness of Limited Range Species
Figure 6.9 on Page 173 in Precious Heritage: 
The Status of Biodiversity in the United States

Little Stony Basin of High Knob Massif
Bull FrogLithobates catesbeianus ) In Wetland
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

*The HKL contains the biodiversity hotspot 
for the entire continental United States for the richness & rarity of limited range species ( as designated by Precious Heritage: The Status of Biodiversity in the United States ).

Yellow Lady's Slipper ( Cypripedium parviflorum )
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

*The High Knob Massif possesses one of the greatest life range zones of any mountain west of the Eastern Continental Divide, with an effective vertical relief of 4346 feet

( 3083 feet above and 1263 feet below ground ).

High Knob Lake Basin
Big Stony Creek Basin of High Knob Massif
Tiger Swallowtails ( Papilio glaucas ) In Summer
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

*Upper elevations of the High Knob Massif contain types of Northern Hardwood and High Elevation Cove Forest communities that are endemic to the southern Appalachians
( and very rare amid the Cumberland Mountains ).

Lower Elevations are Below 2000 feet
Middle Elevations are 2000 to 3000 feet
Upper Elevations are Above 3000 feet

( Elevations in feet above mean sea level )

The High Knob Massif contains more than 
100 square miles above 2400 feet and around 
50 square miles above 3000 feet.

Clinch River Watershed of Upper Tennessee River Basin
Biodiversity In Little Stony Basin of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

*The Clinch and Powell rivers have been recognized as a national hotspot of aquatic diversity with the Clinch River Basin ranked number one in the United States, out of 2111 watersheds, for the greatest diversity of rare and imperiled aquatic species ( Precious Heritage, 2000 ).

Clinch River of The Upper Tennessee Basin
Spectacle Case ( Cumberlandia monodonta )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

The northwestern slopes of the High Knob Landform, southwest of the Virginia community of Ocoonita, also drain into the Upper Cumberland River Basin to collectively contribute to the greatest assemblage of aquatic rarity on the North American continent.

Clinch River of Upper Tennessee Basin
Endemic Species of Cumberland & Tennessee Basins
Cumberland Moccasinshell ( Medionidus conradicus )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

During the 1990's The Nature Conservancy named this amazingly diverse mountain region as:

"One Of The Last Great Places On Earth."

A great summary for The Upper Tennessee River Basin section is presented in the following video by my friend and acclaimed naturalist Richard Kretz:

Southwest Virginia - One Of The Last Great Places On Earth



A Few Preliminary Species Statistics

Note that species in this section are mostly not arranged in any specific order.  They are shown only to illustrate a few examples of the vast diversity of life which has been documented across the High Knob Landform ( Upper Tennessee & Cumberland Basins ).


1560++ species of Flowering Plants

Wildflowers of The High Knob Landform ( Partial List )

Remnant Highcountry of The HKL
Canada Lily ( Lilium canadense )
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Turks Cap Lily ( Lilium superbum )
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Wild Columbine ( Aquilegia canadensis )
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Spring Beauty ( Claytonia virginica )


Large-flowered Trillium ( Trillium grandiflorum )
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Painted Trillium ( Trillium undulatum )
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Furrowed Wakerobin ( Trillium sulcatum )
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Red Trillium or Wakerobin ( Trillium erectum )
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Bloodroot ( Sanguinaria canadensis )
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Wild Geranium ( Geranium maculatum )
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Mayapple ( Podophyllum peltatum )
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Fire Pink ( Silene virginica )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Dwarf Larkspur ( Delphinium tricorne )
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Dutchmans Breeches ( Dicentra cucullaria )
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Virginia Bluebells ( Mertensia virginica )
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Little Brown Jugs & Friends
Variable-leaf Heartleaf ( Hexastylis heterophylla )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Squaw Root or Bear Corn ( Conopholis americana )
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Galax ( Galax urceolata )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Guyandotte Beauty ( Synandra hispidula )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Showy Skullcap ( Scutellaria serrata )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Pink Lady Slipper ( Cypripedium acaule )
Photograph by Harold L. Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.


Milkweed ( Asclepias spp. ) Seed Pod In Morning Light
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Schizocarp In Winter
Cow Parsnip ( Heracleum maximum )
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.



320+ species of Trees, Shrubs & Vines

Trees & Shrubs of The High Knob Landform

Tuliptree or Yellow Poplar ( Liriodendron tulipifera )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Yellow Birch ( Betula alleghaniensis )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Striped Maple ( Acer pensylvanicum )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Black Locust ( Robinia pseudoacacia )
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

Black Locust ( Robinia pseudoacacia ) In Winter
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

Highland Doghobble ( Leucothoe fontanesiana )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Downy Arrowwood ( Viburnum rafinesquianum )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Mountain Laurel ( Kalmia latifolia )
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Winter or Frost Grape ( Vitis vulpina )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Flowering Dogwood ( Cornus florida )
Photograph by Harold L. Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Spring Forest of The Cumberland Mountains
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Frosty Oak LeavesQuercus spp. ) In Autumn
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.



36+ species of Orchids
( specialized group of angiosperms )

Padleaf Rein Orchid ( Platanthera orbiculata )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Small Purple Fringed Orchid ( Platanthera psycodes )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Downy Rattlesnake Plantain ( Goodyera pubescens )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Tuberous Grasspink Orchid ( Calopogon tuberosus var. tuberosus )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Showy Orchis ( Orchis spectabilis )
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.



286++ species of Grasses & Sedges

Kidneyleaf Grass of Parnassus ( Parnassia asarifolia )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Narrowleaf Blue-eyed Grass ( Sisyrinchium angustifolium )
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.



76+ species of Ferns & Fern Allies

Ferns & Fern Allies of The High Knob Landform

Cinnamon Fern ( Osmunda cinnamomea var. cinnamomea )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Appalachian Rockcap Fern ( Polypodium appalachianum )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Goldie's Woodfern ( Dryopteris goldiana )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Southern Lady Fern
( Athyrium filix-femina var. asplenioides )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Fiddlehead ( Polystichum acrostichoides )
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.



263+ species of Birds
( residents, visitors, frequent migrants )

Ruby-throated Hummingbird ( Archilochus colubris )
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

Baby Chickadee ( Parus spp. )
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

American Goldfinch ( Carduelis tristis )
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

Golden-crowned Kinglet ( Regulus satrapa )
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

American Redstart ( Setophaga ruticilla )
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

Black & White Warbler ( Mniotilta varia )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Prairie Warbler ( Dendroica discolor )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Black-throated Green Warbler ( Dendroica virens )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Northern Parula ( Parula americana )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak ( Pheucticus ludovicianus )
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Veery Thrush ( Catharus fuscescens )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Bald Eagle ( Haliaeetus leucocephalus )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

( Raptor With Opossum )
Red-tailed Hawk ( Buteo jamaicensis )
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Barred Owl ( Strix varia )
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

Eastern Screech Owl ( Otus asio )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Black Vulture Chicks ( Coragyps atratus )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Ruffed Grouse ( Bonasa umbellus )
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Eastern Wild Turkey ( Meleagris gallopavo )
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Canada Goose ( Branta canadensis )
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

In Travel Flight Formation
Canada Geese ( Branta canadensis )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

White-throated Sparrow ( Zonotrichia albicollis )
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Pileated Woodpecker ( Dryocopus pileatus )
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Downy Woodpecker ( Picoides pubescens )
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Tree Swallow ( Tachycineta bicolor )
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

Mallard Duck ( Anas platyrhnchos )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Great Blue Heron ( Ardea herodias )
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Double-crested Cormorant ( Phalacrocorax auritus )
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Spotted Sandpiper ( Actitis macularia )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.



67+ species of Mammals

Red squirrel ( Tamiascurus hudsonicus abieticola )
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Fox Squirrel ( Sciurus niger vulpinus )
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Southern Flying Squirrel ( Glaucomys volans )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Raccoon ( Procyon lotor )
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

White-tailed Deer ( Odocoileus virginianus )
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

American Black Bear ( Ursus americanus )
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

High Knob Massif In June 2013
American Black Bear ( Ursus americanus )
Photograph by Grant Stanley - © All Rights Reserved.

Cinnamon Color Phase
American Black Bear ( Ursus americanus )
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Striped Skunk Tracks ( Mephitis mephitis )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Bobcat Track ( Lynx rufus )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.


Including 16 species of Bats

Gray Bat ( Myotis grisescens )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Little Brown Bats ( Myotis lucifugus )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Northern Long-eared Bat ( Myotis septentrionalis )
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.




17 species of Snakes

Timber Rattlesnakes ( Crotalus horridus )
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

Northern Water Snake ( Nerodia sipedon  )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Eastern Garter Snake ( Thamnophis sirtalis )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Corn Snake ( Elaphe guttata )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.



3 species of Lizard

Eastern Fence Lizard ( Sceloporus undulatus )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.



10 species of Turtles

Eastern Box Turtle ( Terrapene carolina carolina )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Loggerhead Musk Turtle ( Sternotherus minor minor )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.



11+ species of Frogs & Toads

Cope's Gray Treefrog ( Hyla chrysoscelis )
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Bull Frog (  Lithobates catesbeianus )
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Green Frog ( Lithobates clamitans ) on Right and
Northern Leopard Frog ( Lithobates pipiens ) on Left
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Pickerel Frog ( Lithobates palustris )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Wood Frog Egg Mass ( Lithobates sylvaticus )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Mountain Chorus Frog ( Pseudacris brachyphona )
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.



30+ species of Salamanders

Marbled Salamander ( Ambystoma opacum )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Green Salamander ( Aneides aeneus )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Seal Salamander ( Desmognathus monticola )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Southern Two-lined Salamander ( Eurycea cirrigera )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Longtail Salamander ( Eurycea longicauda longicauda )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Juvenile Spring Salamander ( Gyrinophilus porphyriticus )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Red-spotted Newt ( Notophthalmus viridescens viridescens )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Northern Slimy Salamander With Eggs
Northern Slimy Salamander ( Plethodon glutinosus )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Northern Red Salamander ( Pseudotriton ruber ruber )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Southern Zigzag Salamander ( Plethodon ventralis )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.



153+ species of Freshwater Fishes & Mussels

Central Stoneroller ( Campostoma anomalum )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Striped Shiners ( Luxilus chrysocephalus )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Invasive Asian Clams ( Corbicula fluminea )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Cracking Pearlymussel ( Hemistena lata )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Pocketbook ( Lampsilis ovata )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Birdwing Pearly Mussel ( Lemiox rimosus )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Minute Gem Land Snail ( Hawaiia miniscula )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.



 A HUGE but unknown number of 

Arthropod species
( insects, arachnids, crustaceans, etc... )

Diana Fritillary ( Speyeria diana )
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

Zebra Swallowtail ( Eurytides marcellus )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Spicebush Swallowtail ( Papilio troilus )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Spicebush Swallowtail ( Papilio troilus ) Caterpillar
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Black Swallowtail ( Papilio polyxenes ) Caterpillar
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Pipevine Swallowtail ( Battus philenor )
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Giant Swallowtail ( Papilio cresphontes )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Hackberry Emperor ( Asterocampa celtis )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Henry's Elfin ( Callophrys henrici )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Monarch ( Danaus plexippus )
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Northern Pearly-Eye ( Enodia anthedon )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Delaware Skipper ( Anatrytone logan )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Skipper & Friends
Silver-Spotted Skipper ( Epargyreus clarus )
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Dun Skipper ( Euphyes vestris )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Baltimore Checkerspot ( Euphydryas phaeton )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Eastern Comma ( Polygonia comma )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Green Comma ( Polygonia faunus )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Gray Comma ( Polygonia progne )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Little Wood Satyr ( Megisto cymela )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Mourning Cloak ( Nymphalis antiopa )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

West Virginia Whites ( Pieris virginiensis )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Great Spangled Fritillary ( Speyeria cybele )
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

Hummingbird Clearwing Hawk Moth ( Hemaris thysbe )
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Luna Moth ( Actias luna )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Tulip-Tree Silkmoth ( Callosamia angulfera )
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

White-Dotted Prominent Moth ( Nadata gibbosa )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Grapevine Epimenis Moth ( Psychomorpha epimenis )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Mournful Thyris Moth ( Thyris sepulchralis )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Ebony Jewelwing ( Calopteryx maculata )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Calico Pennant Dragonfly ( Celithemis elisa )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Black-Shoulder Spinyleg ( Dromogomphus spinosus )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Eastern Pondhawk ( Erythemis simplicicollis )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Endangered Dragonfly Species
Cherokee Clubtail ( Gomphus consaguis )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Lancet Clubtail ( Gomphus exilis )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Splendid Clubtail ( Gomphus lineatifrons )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Eastern Shieldback Katydid ( Atlanticus spp. )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Gold-Backed Snipe Fly ( Chrysopilus thoracicus )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Green Bottle Fly ( Calliphoridae Family )
Photograph by Harold L. Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Female Long-Legged Fly ( Condylostylus spp. )
Photograph by Harold L. Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

 House Fly Relative ( Likely Muscidae Family )
Photograph by Harold L. Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Elderberry Borer ( Desmocerus palliatus )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Golden Giant Bee-Mimic Robberfly ( Laphria grossa )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Periodical Cicada ( Magicicada cassini )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Periodical Cicada ( Magicicada septendecim )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Green-Legged Spurthroat Grasshopper ( Melanoplus viridipes )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Packsaddle ( Sibine stimulea )
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

Banded Wooly Bear ( Pyrrharctia isabella )
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Tussock Moth Caterpillar ( Lophocampa caryae )
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Blue Crayfish - Freshwater Crustacean
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Water Strider ( Gerris remigis )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Granddaddy Long-Legs ( Leiobunum sp. )
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Orchard Orb Weaver ( Leucauge venusta )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Arabesque  Orb Weaver ( Neoscona arabesca )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Long-Jawed Orbweavers ( Tetragnatha elongata )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Brownish-Gray Fishing Spider ( Dolomedes tenebrosus )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Nursery Web Spider ( Pisaurina mira )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Black Purseweb Spider ( Sphodros niger )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Sidewalk Tiger Beetle ( Cicindela punctulata )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Scarab Beetle ( Dichelonyx subvittata )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Red Milkweed Beetle ( Tetraopes tetrophthalmus )
Harold Jerrell Photograph - © All Rights Reserved.

American Giant Millipede ( Narceus americanus )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Gordian Worm Emerging From Millipede Host
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.



Fungi species
( mushrooms, molds, yeasts )

Shaggy-Stalked Bolete ( Boletellus betula )
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Spring Polypore ( Polyporus arcularius )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Turkey-tail Polypore ( Trametes versicolor )
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Two-colored Bolete ( Boletus bicolor )
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

A Bolete Mushroom Species
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Yellow Coral Mushroom Species
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Purple Coral Mushroom Species
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Fuzzy Foot ( Xeromphalina campanella )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Jelly Crep ( Crepidotus mollis )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Orange-Gill Waxcap ( Hygrocybe marginata )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Gem-studded Puffball ( Lycoperdon perlatum )
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Cluster of Puffball Mushrooms
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Pigskin Poison Puffball ( Scleroderma citrinum )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Entoloma Mushroom Entoloma murraii )
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Entoloma Mushroom Entoloma salmoneum )
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Possible Entoloma ( Entoloma strictius )
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Scarlet Cup ( Sarcoscypha austriaca )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Shelf or Polypore Mushroom Species
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Multi-colored Shelf or Polypore Mushroom Species
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Multi-colored Shelf Mushroom Species
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Triplex Earthstar Mushroom ( Geastrum sp. )
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Split Gill Mushroom ( Schizophyllum commune )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Cinnabar Chanterelle ( Cantharellus cinnabarinus )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Amanita Mushroom ( Amanita russuloides )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Destroying Angel ( Amanita bisporigera )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Button Mushroom Form
Thiers' Lepidella ( Amanita thiersii )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Honey Mushrooms ( Armillaria mellea )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Hen of the Woods ( Grifola frondosa )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Jack O'lantern ( Omphalotus olearius )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Oyster Mushroom ( Pleurotus ostreatus )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Green Quilt Russula ( Russula crustosa )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Old Man of the Woods ( Strobilomyces floccopus )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Unidentified Mushroom Species 1
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Unidentified Mushroom Species 2
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Unidentified Mushroom Species 3
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Unidentified Mushroom Species 4
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Unidentified Mushroom Species 5
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Unidentified Mushroom Species 6
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Unidentified Mushroom Species 7
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

( Possible Variation of Species 2 )
Unidentified Mushroom Species 8
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Unidentified Mushroom Species 9
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Unidentified Mushroom Species 10
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

( Tooth Mushroom Form )
Unidentified Mushroom Species 11
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Unidentified Mushroom Species 12
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Unidentified Mushroom Species 13
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

A Mimic On Unidentified Mushroom Species 14
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Unidentified Mushroom Species 15
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Unidentified Mushroom Species 16
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Unidentified Mushroom Species 17
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Unidentified Mushroom Species 18
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

( An Apparent Older Age Stage )
Unidentified Mushroom Species 19
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Unidentified Mushroom Species 20
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Note:  Species ID's are welcomed from fungi experts!

Bristly Beard Lichen ( Usnea hirta )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Jelly Fungus ( Tremella fuciformis )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Bird's Nest Fungus ( Cyathus striatus )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.



Bryophyte species
( hornworts, liverworts, mosses )

Haircap Moss ( Polytrichum sp. ) & Reindeer Lichen ( Cladina sp. )
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Apple Moss ( Bartramia pomiformis )
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Spoon-leaved Moss ( Bryoandersonia illecebra )
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Aulacomnium Moss ( Aulacomnium heterostichum )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Bryoandersonia Moss ( Bryoandersonia illecebra )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Dicranum Moss ( Dicranum scoporium )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Bryophyte ( Unidentified species )
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Meadow Spikemoss ( Selaginella apoda )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Shining Clubmoss ( Huperzia lucidula )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Common Haircap Moss
Polytrichum Moss ( Polytrichum commune )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

American Climacium Moss ( Climacium americanum )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Dry Rock Moss ( Grimmia laevigata )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Rose Moss ( Rhodobryum roseum )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Sphagnum Moss Species ( Unidentified )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.


Microorganism species
( bacteria, slime molds, dust & spider mites, green algae, etc... )

( Cave Species )
Actinomycetes Bacteria Colonies
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

This is a truly vast and essentially unsampled world within the High Knob Landform.


The High Knob Naturalist Rally is held every autumn to celebrate this wondrous natural world which has been highlighted by only a few photographs above!

October 10, 2009
Bark Camp Lake of High Knob Massif
The Annual High Knob Naturalist Rally 
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Autumn Color Peaks For High Knob Naturalist Rally


All these different species and organisms are part of complex terrestrial and subterranean natural communities, a few of which have been identified in the following list.


Natural Communities of
The High Knob Landform

Southern Appalachian Northern Hardwoods
( Upper elevations of High Knob Massif )

High Elevation Cove Forests
( e.g., High Knob Lake Basin )

Mixed Mesophytic Northern Hardwoods
( Cold air drainage corridors of massif )

Rich Cove-Slope Forest
( Exemplifies Mixed Mesophytic Forest )

Canadian Hemlock Forest
( Endangered by Adelges tsugae )

Acidic Cove Forest
( Mesic but more infertile mountain slopes )

Mountain Acidic Woodland
( Edaphically stressed, oligotrophic soils )

Mountain Acidic Cliff
( e.g., precipitous quartz-arenite sandstones )

Xeric Sandstone Cliff Communities
( NW Flank of High Knob Landform )

Little Stone-Pickem Mountain
Xeric Sandstone Cliff Community of High Knob Massif
Tom Rawinski - © VANHP All Rights Reserved.

Mountain Acidic Seepage Swamp
( e.g., Glady Fork Basin )

Oak-Heath Forest
( Xeric, infertile upland sites )

Pine-Oak / Heath Forest
( Rocky, convex ridges and cliff tops )

Montane Mixed Oak / Oak-Hickory Forest

Low-elevation Acidic Outcrop Barren

Mountain Basic Woodland

Mountain Calcareous Cliff
( e.g., Great Belt of Greenbrier Limestone Cliffs )

Calcareous Fen / Seep

Dry-mesic Calcareous Forest

Montane Dry Calcareous Forest

Limestone-Dolomite Barren
( e.g., The Cedars )

Low-elevation Basic Outcrop Barren

Low-elevation Boulderfield Forest
( e.g., Rocky Hollow & Back Stone Mountain )

Low-elevation Alluvial Forest
( e.g., Hanging Rock, Ka )

Spray Cliff
( e.g., Little Stony Basin )

Appalachian Bog
( e.g., Laurel Fork Basin )

Mountain Sinkhole Pond
( e.g., Back Stone Mountain )

Semipermanent Impoundments
( e.g., lakes & beaver or man-made ponds )

Appalachian Cave Stream Community

Appalachian Terrestrial 
Riparian Cave Community

Appalachian Edaphobitic / 
Epikarstic Terrestrial Cave Community

Appalachian Terrestrial Dung / 
Transitory Organic Matter Cave Community

October 1, 2011
Bark Camp Lake of High Knob Massif
Early Color Changes In Cold Air Drainage Corridor
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

This section is under construction.
Check back for updates.




Climatology

December 27, 2010
Christmas Holiday Snowstorm
Massive Drifting In High Knob Massif Crest Zone
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

This is a mountain region of dramatic seasonal weather changes with amazing transformations between Autumn, Winter, Spring, and Summer that impact all aspects of its natural world. 

Autumn Along The Tennessee Valley Divide
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

Winter Along The Tennessee Valley Divide
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

These seasonal weather variations are enhanced in the High Knob Massif where higher elevations, atypically wide base to base widths, and excellent air flow exposures work to make it the wettest area in Virginia ( High Knob Massif - Black Mountain being the wettest in both Virginia & Kentucky over the longer term ).

HDR Photograph from June 2013
Summer Sunset From Head of Powell Valley
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

A Few Specific Climate Features
of The High Knob Landform ( HKL )

*The HKL generates an orographically enhanced upslope flow on southwesterly airflow trajectories that is unique to Virginia, and the southern-central Appalachians, in its enhancement of both rainfall and snowfall ( especially strong in the orographic forcing season of November-May across the 
High Knob Massif ).

An analogous enhancement occurs on rainfall across southern portions of the Appalachian chain, and along outward projecting portions of the Virginia Blue Ridge, but rarely ever includes significant snowfall like occurs in the High Knob Massif area.

NW Mountain Arm of The High Knob Landform
Storm Clouds Engulf Cumberland Gap National Park
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

*The High Knob Massif generates a major enhancement of precipitation on southeasterly 
air flow trajectories during the cold season, under specific conditions, that appears to be indigenous to the massif ( thermally indirect mesoscale or TIM circulation ).

High Knob Massif Examples of this
Thermally Indirect Mesoscale ( TIM ) Circulation:

MEGA-Disaster Snowstorm of December 2009

December 19, 2009
Snow Depth of 24" In Robinson Knob of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Otis Ward - © All Rights Reserved.

TIM Circulation of February 2012 ( And Other Examples )

Rime Coated on March 28, 2011
Majestic Lost Creek of Pickem Mountain Above Norton
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

*The City of Norton is the wettest town or city in Virginia on an annual basis ( over decades ) as verified by data scans at the UVA Climatology Office in Charlottesville, the Southeastern Regional Climate Center, and the North Carolina State Climate Office's Regional Database.

This is due to Norton's location within the orographic lifting zone of the High Knob Massif, and to the other unique weather features forced by the atypically wide base to base expanse of the massif.

Autumn Color 2011
Benges Basin of High Knob Massif
Norton-Wise From Flag Rock Recreation Area
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Turbulent Clouds Above South Fork Gorge
Hay Grass Grows Tall Amid Wetness In Powell Valley
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Powell Valley Overlook ( U.S. 23 )
Ominous Clouds Engulf High Knob Massif
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

May 17, 2010
Turbulent Spring Storm Clouds
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Autumn 2011
High Knob Massif Area ( Norton-Wise )
Horizontal Convective Rolls of Cloud Streets
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

July 2012
Along The Tennessee Valley Divide
Majesty of Evening Thunderstorms 
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

August 7, 2012
Upward Vertical Motion
Looking West Into Heavenly Light
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

August 30, 2006
Stormy Skies & Crepuscular Rays
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

April 9, 2011
Cumulonimbi Tower Into The Heavens 
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

April 9, 2011
Severe Thunderstorms Over The High Knob Landform
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

April 9, 2011
Large Hail In Wake of Severe Thunderstorms
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

High Knob Landform
Lightning Strike In The Powell River Basin 
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

July 1, 2012
Along The Tennessee Valley Divide
Nocturnal Lightning Display - Town of Wise
Photograph by Grant Stanley - © All Rights Reserved.

April 2013
Vivid Lightning Above Wise
Photograph by Grant Stanley - © All Rights Reserved.

July 19, 2012
Powell River Basin of High Knob Landform
Vivid Cloud To Ground Lightning Strike
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

July 19, 2012
Intimate Lightning Details In The Sky
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Headwaters of The Powell River
Spring Flash Flooding In The Big Stone Gap Area
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

July 25, 2011
Headwaters of The Clinch River
Summer Flash Flooding In The Town of Wise
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Mega-Disaster Event
Post-Storm Chaos In December 2009
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

March 28, 2011
High Knob Massif Crest Zone - Snow & Rime
Photograph by Darlene Fields - © All Rights Reserved.

December 7, 2011
Wind Driven Snow - High Chaparral of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Darlene Fields - © All Rights Reserved.

*The High Knob Massif is the wettest area in Virginia for which there are available records and has crushed ( i.e., unofficially broken ) every snowfall record in the state one or more times.

February 16, 2014
Photographer Roddy Addington
Standing In 2 Feet Of Snow On High Knob
Photograph by Bill Harris - © All Rights Reserved.

Snowfall Records 
"Unofficially" Broken
( for the Old Dominion of Virginia )

( January 27-28, 1998 in 21-hours )
Greatest 24-hour Snowfall Total
36.0" to 40.0"+

( December 2010 )
Greatest Monthly Snowfall Total
65" to 70"

( February 13-March 14, 1993 )
Greatest 30-day Snowfall Total
83.0"

( 1995-96 )
Greatest Seasonal Snowfall Total
200.5"

( December 2009 to January 2011 )
Greatest 14-Month Snowfall Total
276.0"

Elevation 4200 feet
( 19 Winters from 1992-93 to 2010-11 ) 
Greatest Average Seasonal Snowfall
108.4"

Elevation 3300 feet
( January 1993 to April 2013 ) 
Greatest Annual Community Snowfall
76.4"

Elevation 3300 feet
( December 2009 to January 2011 )
Greatest 14-Month Community Snow Total
212.0"

Greatest Consecutive 3-Season
Snowfall Averages

143.3"
1995-96 to 1997-98

138.2"
2008-09 to 2010-11

112.3"
2002-03 to 2004-05

**( March 1993 )
Greatest Mean Single Storm Snow Depth
58" 

( Late 1970's Winter Snowpack )
Greatest Non-Storm Related Depth
42" to 48"+

***( Superstorm Sandy - October 2012 )
Greatest Early Season Snowfall & Depth
30"

**Snow Drifts of 15-25 FEET ( VDOT Verified )

***Snow Drifts of 4-8 FEET

February 16, 2014
Photographer Bill Harris
Standing In 2 Feet Of Snow On High Knob
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Winter Storms Bury The High Knob Massif

October 30, 2012
Deep Snow & Drifting - Superstorm Sandy
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

Historic Winter Storm of October 2012

Another notable cold season aspect is the number of days with 1" or more of snow depth, with a mean of 83 days observed during the 8 winter seasons from 2003-04 to 2010-11 across northern slopes of High Knob Lake Basin
( mean of 11.9 weeks per season ).

March 17, 2007
Head of Big Stony Creek
Broad U-Shaped Topographic Basin
High Knob Lake Basin of High Knob Massif
Image Courtesy of Steve Blankenbecler - © All Rights Reserved.

The number of days with 1" or more of snow depth dropped
to just 49 days ( 7 weeks ) during the 2011-12 season before
surging back to 91 days ( 13 weeks ) during 2012-13.

February 15, 2010
High Knob Massif Crest Zone
Deep Snow Before 15"+ of New Snowfall
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

High Knob Massif
Deep Northern Slope Snowpack
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

High Knob Massif
Snow Plastered Trees Above Deep Snowpack
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

March 4, 2010
Deep Snowpack In High Knob Massif Crest Zone
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Blowing & Drifting Snow
Wicked Conditions In The High Knob Massif
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Winter 2013-14
High Knob Massif
Wind Blown Snow & Rime
Hazardous High Country Travel
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Winter 2009-10
High Knob Massif Crest Zone
Massive Snow Drifts In Wake of Winter Storm
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Winter 2013-14
High Knob Massif Crest Zone
Sculptured Big Snow Drifts & Snow Rollers
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

High Knob Massif Crest Zone
Deep Snowpack and Thick Rime
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

December 7, 2010
High Knob Massif Crest Zone
Deep Snow & Thick Rime ( 12" to 30" Depths )
Photograph by Steve Blankenbecler - © All Rights Reserved.

Eagle Knob Communications Area
Deep Snowpack In High Knob Massif
Photograph by Steve Blankenbecler - © All Rights Reserved.

December 27, 2010
Eagle Knob Communications Area
Knee To Waist Deep Snow Depths In Crest Zone
Photograph by Steve Blankenbecler - © All Rights Reserved.

February 2012
NW Upslope Flow Snowfall & Rime
Large Snow Drifts In High Knob Massif Crest Zone
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Remnant Massif of High Knob Landform
Snowpacked Roads In High Knob Massif
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

High Knob Massif
( January 2, 2012 )
Deepening Snow Between Whiteouts
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

High Knob Massif
Bad Winter Conditions In Highcountry
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

December 29, 2012
Winter In The High Knob Massif
Typical Wind Blown Nature of Snow
Photograph by Grant Stanley - © All Rights Reserved.

*The High Knob Massif generates distinct snow shadows that change with variations in wind direction ( unique for a mountain of its height with the major forcing of this being again related to its atypically large base to base widths and excellent exposures to air flow of varying trajectories ).

March 1, 2005
High Knob Massif
Dylan Fields Under Tree ( 18.6" of Snowfall )
Snow Bends Red Cedar Horizontal In High Chaparral
Photograph by Darlene Fields - © All Rights Reserved.

( Remnant Highcountry of The High Knob Landform )
Deep Snow In High Chaparral of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Darlene Fields - © All Rights Reserved.

Deep Snow Along The Tennessee Valley Divide
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

It is common for huge snow depth differences to develop during the cold season between the remnant highcountry of the High Knob Landform and locations leeward ( downstream ) of its sprawling massif and rugged northwestern mountain flank
( this being aided by the Black mountains and Pine Mountain for NW air flow trajectories ).

This shadowing effect contributes to the Tri-Cities of NE Tennessee getting 5 to 15 FEET less snow than the High Knob Massif during any given winter season!

December 22, 2009
Wilderness Road State Park Amid Calcareous Heart
Contrast Between Cumberland Mountain & Powell Valley
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

It is also common for large snow depth differences to develop each winter between the High Knob Massif and its calcareous heart ( e.g., Powell Valley & Powell River Valley ).

Winter Season of 2009-10
Huge Snow Depth Difference Between Massif & Valley
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.


High Knob Massif Area
Coldest Unofficial Temperatures

-35 degrees
January 21, 1985

-32 degrees
February 5, 1996

-29 degrees
January 16, 1994

Domain Of The Cold Places

January 26, 2014
Little Stony Basin of High Knob Massif
Frozen Upper Falls of Little Stony Gorge
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.


( High Knob Massif )
Big Cherry Dam
Monthly Precipitation Totals 
Gary Hampton & Staff of Big Stone Gap WP
( Elevation: 3120 feet )

2008
November:  4.36"
December: 8.49"

2009
January: 9.23"
February: 4.36"
March: 5.51"
April: 5.40"
May: 7.07"
June: 5.44"
July: 8.42"
August: 7.08"
September: 9.09"
October: 4.36"
November: 3.88"
*December: 11.50"

2010
*January: 6.25"
*February: 4.25"
*March: 4.50"
April: 3.78"
May: 6.99"
June: 9.53"
July: 4.27"
August: 8.91"
September: 2.88"
October: 2.84"
November: 4.05"
*December: 7.35"

2011
January: 4.51"
February: 4.53"
March: 9.85"
April: 10.08"
May: 5.38"
June: 6.16"
July: 7.18"
August: 4.94"
September: 7.28"
October: 5.05"
November: 8.67"
December: 6.62"

2012
January: 4.70"
February: 5.91"
March: 7.98"

Orographic Forcing Season Total
October 2011-March 2012: 38.93" ( M )
( 6.49"+ per month average )

41-Month Total: 258.63" ( M )

41-Month Mean Monthly Precip: 6.31"

Mean Per 12-Month Periods: 75.72" ( M )

July 2014
Powell River Watershed of High Knob Massif
High Country Of Majestic Big Cherry Lake Basin
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

2009-2011 Totals

2009: 81.34"
2010: 65.60"
2011: 80.25"

3-Year Mean: 75.73" ( M )


( * ) - Indicates that total was estimated or
partly estimated due to severe winter conditions.

( M ) - Denotes that total precipitation was greater than rain gauge total due to evaporation between hand-measurements and loss in falls of snow too deep for the rain gauge to physically contain ( 4"-diameter NWS rain gauge ).

[ All measurements courtesy of Superintendent Gary Hampton and Staff of the Big Stone Gap Water Plant in South Fork Gorge ].

Head of Big Cherry Basin of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Dan Weemhoff - © All Rights Reserved.

*The 6.31" monthly mean for 41 consecutive months measured at Big Cherry Dam of the 
High Knob Massif is the highest ever observed 
in Virginia over such an extended period of time
( November 2008 to March 2012 ) despite up to 3.50" or more of loss per year due to evaporation between hand-measurements and falls of snow 
too deep for the rain gauge to physically hold.

For a few examples please reference the following:





( Northern base of the High Knob Massif )
City of Norton Buried by Great March 1942 Mega-Snow
Photo by Addison & Elizabeth Stallard - © All Rights Reserved.

Snow Depths for March 1942 Event 
Norton-Wise-Powell Valley Area: 36" to 51" 
Kingsport, Tn., NWS: 5" ( Snow Shadow of HKL )


*The High Knob Landform helps force an atypical decrease in annual precipitation amounts traveling UP Basin in the Clinch River watershed on air flows with mean SW components.

Annual Precipitation Difference from Norton to Lebanon

14-Year Annual Mean ( 1990-2003 )

City of Norton: 58.54"

Town of Lebanon: 42.96"
( -15.58" less per year in Lebanon )

Long-term differences are simply amazing as exemplified by Burkes Garden sitting upon the Tennessee Valley Divide at the head of the Clinch River Basin, where despite its high elevation and long record period ( 1896-Present ) there has been only one year ( January-December period ) with more than 60.00" 
of total precipitation ( 63.02" in 1972 ).

Differences verses upper elevations are even greater between 
the High Knob Massif and head of the Clinch River Basin.

While Big Cherry Dam and Burkes Garden measuring sites are close to the same elevation, 
Big Cherry Dam averaged 24.70" more per year than Burkes Garden during the 2009-2011 period 
( despite significant precipitation losses totaling up to 3.50"+ 
per year at Big Cherry Dam that were not included ).

Burkes Garden
2009-2011 Precipitation Totals

2009: 54.68"
2010: 47.73"
2011: 50.69"

3-Year Mean: 51.03" ( M )*

( M )* - Indicates 2 missing days during December 2010.

[ Precipitation is hand-measured daily in Burkes Garden with a 
8"-diameter NWS rain gage and once every 7 days on average at Big Cherry Dam ( 4"-diameter NWS rain gage ) ].


*The HKL is a verified and prolific generator of orographic cloud forms above ground, and is likely the most prolific "internal" cloud generator in Virginia ( and perhaps, the Appalachians ).

Rime deposition on trees and fog drip from trees are major secondary moisture sources in the High Knob Landform with upslope flow across its mountain flanks & remnant massif, as well as cold air drainage from its high terrain, being key to condensing moisture out of the air for extraction by vegetation.

This often gives travelers of the famed "Crooked Road" a visual treat along what is by many accounts the most scenic section of the Country Music Highway ( U.S. Route 23 ).

Powell Valley Overlook
Deep Fog Layer Inside The High Knob Massif
Photograph by Ron Flanary - © All Rights Reserved.

On The Floor of Powell Valley
Grindstone Ridge Dome Amid Majestic Morning Fog
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

June 2013
Early Evening Fog Formation
Strip Of Cooler Air Drains Down Valley
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Nocturnal-AM Fog Formation
Inside Powell Valley of High Knob Massif
Low-lying Fog Hugs Valley Floor - Cold Air Drainage
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Along U.S. Route 23
Fog Layers Merge As Cool Air Flows Down Valley
AM Inversion - Powell Valley & Powell River Valley
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Along U.S. 23
Powell Valley Overlook
Dawn Above Fog Layer Inside High Knob Massif
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

U.S. Route 23
( May 24, 2012 )
Powell Valley Overlook
SE Slopes of NW Flank of High Knob Landform
Fog Beneath Morning Inversion Layer Inside Massif
Photograph by Bill Harris - © All Rights Reserved.

View from Along U.S. 23
Orographic Clouds Cap The High Knob Massif
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Along The Crooked Road
Powell Valley Overlook In Majestic Morning Fog
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Trail of The Lonesome Pine
Engulfed In Clouds At Powell Valley Overlook
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Powell Valley Overlook
Day of Wondrous Skies In Spring 2012
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Above Powell Valley of High Knob Massif
Beautiful Mid-Spring Cumulus Beginning To Tower
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

High Knob Massif
View From Powell Valley Overlook In Summer
Stormy Afternoon With Upslope Cloud Formations
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

High Knob Massif
View from Powell Valley Overlook In Early Autumn
A Fair Weather Day In The High Knob Landform
Photograph by Dan Weemhoff - © All Rights Reserved.

High Knob Massif
View From Powell Valley Overlook In Winter
Majesty of Rime Capped Grindstone Ridge Dome
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Winter 2009-10
Near Powell Valley Overlook ( On U.S. 23 )
Glorious Dawn With Break In NW Flow Snowfall
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

October 2009
Powell Valley Floor of High Knob Massif
Stacked Orographic Wave Clouds At Sunrise
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Sunrise In March 2011
View From Powell Valley Floor
Orographic Wave Clouds Above High Knob Massif
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Above The High Knob Landform
Dramatic Wave Clouds In January 2014
Photograph by Harold L. Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Above The High Knob Landform
Dramatic Wave Clouds In January 2014
Photograph by Harold L. Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.


High Knob Massif
RIME & Ice Formations

Rime deposition on trees and fog drip from trees are major secondary moisture sources across the High Knob Massif, adding greatly to its annual water budget ( making this wettest portion of the High Knob Landform even wetter 
than rain gauges record ).

Spring 2010
Classic High Knob Massif Rime View
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Winter 2012
Another Classic High Knob Massif Rime Vista
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Spring 2013
High Knob Meadow of High Knob Massif
Result of Excessive Riming ( Bow Bending )
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Spring 2011
Hard Rime & Icing
Northerly Upslope Flow
Benges Basin of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

December 2013
High Knob Massif
Product of Prolonged Northerly Upslope Flow
Wake Of Unforecasted ( Officially ) Ice Storm
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Winter 2012
Rime Coated High Knob Massif Crest Zone
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

High Knob Massif
( Growth Into The Wind )
Amazing One-sided Nature of Rime
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Image how much water this would generate over an entire tree, then figure it by ALL the trees in the forest of the rime zone!

( Base To Base Width Important Factor )

Excessive Riming ( 6-10"+ )
Prolonged NW Upslope Flow
High Knob Meadow of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

*Since the High Knob Massif is so wide, 
the RIME ZONE is significant.

Spring 2013
Heavy Riming With Classic One-Sided Nature
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Spring 2010
High Knob Massif Crest Zone
Rime Deposition On Trees Adds Greatly To Water Budget
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Rime Zone of High Knob Massif
Incredible Moisture Extraction By Trees
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

( A Forest of Chicken Feathers! )
Another Example of Rime Moisture
Feathered Trees In High Knob Massif
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Winter 2009-10
High Knob Massif Crest Zone
Rime Coated Icicles ( Ice Straws ) Above Deep Snow
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

High Knob Massif
Spiny Riming During Multiple Layer Event
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

High Knob Massif Rime Zone
Majestic Layers of Rime Feathers
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

High Knob Massif Rime Zone
One Sided ( Windward ) Nature of Rime
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Exotic Rime Formations
Upper Tennessee River Basin
Remnant Massif of High Knob Landform
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

High Knob Massif Rime Zone
Gorgeous Rime Feathers In NW Flow
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

High Knob Massif Rime Zone
Delicate Nature of Moisture Extraction 
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

January 2014
High Knob Massif
Not So Delicate Nature Of Rime Fall
Gush Of Bitter Winds Create Rime Storm
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

January 2014
High Knob Massif Crest Zone
Adding Moisture To Snowpack
Rime Falling Beneath Arctic Skies
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

January 24, 2007
High Knob Massif Crest Zone ( Rare Image )
Looking From Eagle Knob to High Knob Lookout Tower
 Steve Blankenbecler Image - © All Rights Reserved.

February 7, 2010
Deep Snow, Ice & Rime - High Knob Massif
 Photograph by Steve Blankenbecler - © All Rights Reserved.

Along State Route 619
Upper North Slopes of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Bill Harris - © All Rights Reserved.

For much more information 
about RIME please reference:

Introduction To RIME ( October 2009 )

October 18, 2009
High Knob Massif Crest Zone
Ekman Spiral Rime Formation - Pigment Leaching
Northern Red Oak ( Quercus rubra var. borealis )
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.


Rime FEATHERS And SOFT Rime In High Knob Massif


Amazing things happen in a land of abundant moisture, lofty mountains, and wintry cold.

High Knob Massif
Frozen In Time - Little Stony Creek Gorge
Photograph by Bill Harris - © All Rights Reserved.

High Knob Massif
Miniature Trees In ICE
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

High Knob Massif
Fine Ice Spears Grow Into The Wind
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

High Knob Massif
November 19, 2011
Mermaid Tail Sculptured In Ice
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

High Knob Massif Crest Zone
Amazing Goose Head Ice Formation
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Cumberland Mountain of The HKL
Incredible Monkey Face Ice Formation
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

January 4, 2014
High Knob Massif
The Hand of Ole Man Winter
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

January 2014
Little Stony Basin of High Knob Massif
Gorgeous Battle Between Liquid & Solid
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

January 2014
High Knob Massif
Majestic Crystal Growth On Rock & Ice
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.



Hydrology

Upper Falls of Little Stony Gorge of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.


*The High Knob Massif contains the most water bodies upon its crest of any singular mountain known in the central-southern Appalachians ( perhaps, in all of the Appalachians, find one with more and it will be listed ).

Lakes of The High Knob Massif
( Water Elevations Above Mean Sea Level )

High Knob Lake: 3490 feet

Upper Norton Reservoir: 3318 feet

Lower Norton Reservoir: 3239 feet

Big Cherry Lake: 3120 feet

Rimrock Lake: 2880 feet

Bark Camp Lake: 2734 feet

Appalachia Lake: 2360 feet

October 10, 2009
Kayaking On Bark Camp Lake
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

NW Flank Lakes of The High Knob Landform
( Water Elevations Above Mean Sea Level )

Keokee Lake: 2249 feet

Cranks Creek Lake: 1405 feet

Martins Fork Lake: 1283 feet

Fern Lake: 1203 feet

Norris Lake is by far the largest in the High Knob Landform with 800 miles of total shoreline surrounding 34,200 acres of water
( mean elevation 1020 feet ).  Norris Lake is formed by union of the Clinch and Powell rivers of the Upper Tennessee River Basin.

Norris Lake extends 73 miles up the Clinch River
and 56 miles up the Powell River.

October 2007
Water Elevation 3120 feet
New Dam At Big Cherry Lake of High Knob Massif
Photograph by John Mullins - © All Rights Reserved.

Reference the following link for more information about 
water bodies in the High Knob Massif:


January 2, 2011
Snow Melt & Rainfall from Big Cherry Basin
South Fork Gorge of High Knob Massif - ROARING
Photograph by Bill Harris - © All Rights Reserved.

January 2011 Begins With A GUSH

*The High Knob Massif is the only known mountain in the central-southern Appalachians where one can drive by five different lakes ( as well as numerous wetlands ) and never drop below 3000 feet in elevation until either the very end, or beginning, of the journey.

September 26, 2010
Water Elevation 2734 feet
Bark Camp Lake of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

( Perhaps in all the Appalachians, find another mountain top with 5 or more lakes meeting this criteria and it will be listed ).

August 8, 2010
Water Elevation 3490 feet
Cool Summer Morning On High Knob Lake
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

May 23, 2006
Water Elevation 3318 feet
Beautiful Spring Day On Upper Norton Reservoir
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

September 20, 2009
Early Autumn Color At Upper Norton Reservoir
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

July 2014
Water Elevation 3120 feet
Big Cherry Lake of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.


Wetlands In The High Knob Massif
( These Are HIGH Conservation Sites )

There are many wetlands in the High Knob Massif with high valley floors that naturally have low flow gradients prior to plunges through deep mountain gorges which feed into the Clinch & Powell rivers of the famed Upper Tennessee River Basin.

A Few Highlighted Locations
( Elevations Above Mean Sea Level )

High Knob Lake Wetland
3500+ feet

Big Cherry Basin Wetlands
3125 to 3200 feet

Cliff Mountain Ponds
3155 to 3205 feet

Wolf Creek Wetland
3000 feet

Glady Fork Wetlands
2900 feet

Bark Camp Basin Wetlands
2735 to 2740+ feet

Machine Creek Wetland
2700 feet

Stock Creek Wetland
2500 feet

Mountain Sinkhole Pond
1476 feet

These high valley floors are excellent places for lakes and beaver dams, both of which contribute 
to wetland formation amid the High Knob Massif. Some of the wetlands are very small, while others are extensive.  A few examples will be highlighted.

Wetlands are extremely important in the 
High Knob Massif since they:

1 ).  Increase the diversity of LIFE

2 ).  Clean water before it enters 
lakes & streams

3 ).  Reduce & slow down flash flooding
plus do MANY other things important to all life
( including YOURS )!

4 ).  *Are Frost Pockets from which cold air drains into and from throughout the year.

*Cold air pools in these high valleys and eventually drains from them to generate and enhance significant cold air drainage corridors in the High Knob Massif that feature Mixed-Mesophytic Northern Hardwoods which finger downward from endemic Southern Appalachian Northern Woods ( at elevations above 3300-3600 feet ).


Satellite Image Examples
Wetlands In The High Knob Massif


High Knob Lake Wetland
Mountain Fork of Big Stony Basin
( Clinch River Watershed )

U.S. Forest Service 
Special Biological Area
High Knob Lake Recreation Area

A small wetland which beavers often try to make larger, with flooding around the bathhouse facility, is found just above High Knob Lake between the Amphitheater and Lake Shore ( recent zoomed in image below ).

April 12, 2012
Elevation 3535 feet
High Knob Lake Wetland



Big Cherry Basin Wetlands
South Fork of the Powell River
( Powell River Watershed )

April 12, 2012
Water Elevation 3120 feet
Big Cherry Lake of High Knob Massif
633 Million Gallons of Water In 250-Acre Lake

October 2012
Big Cherry Lake In Autumn Colorations

April 12, 2012
Elevation Around 3200 feet
Big Cherry Basin of High Knob Massif
Mainstem Valley of South Fork of the Powell River

In contrast to the localized wetland at High Knob Lake are the extensive wetlands of Big Cherry Basin, which occur both near the backwaters of the lake itself and well upstream of its influence on high valley floors that form the headwaters of South Fork of the Powell River.

( The Next Image Series Begins At Lower Right )
Separation Between Lake & Main Wetland Valley
Note backwater wetland of lake in upper left of image.

Image Series From SW to NE Along Wetland Valley
( These Wetlands Are Well Above Big Cherry Lake )

April 12, 2012
( Southwest End of Valley )
Meandering Course of Wetland Valley - Image 1

Meandering Course of Wetland Valley - Image 2

Meandering Course of Wetland Valley - Image 3

( Northeast End of Valley )
Meandering Course of Wetland Valley - Image 4

Extensive sphagnum mats, or what some might call muck, fill this long and beautiful wetland valley which starts at Big Cherry Lake and stretches into a thick, mixed evergreen-deciduous forest in the basin head beneath the majestic peaks of High Knob and 
Grindstone Ridge Dome. 

American Beaver ( Castor canadensis ) Controlled
Zoomed In Section With Beaver Dams & Cut Trees

Another backwater wetland is located in the valley adjacent to the mainstem wetland valley which was followed in above images.  The adjacent valley, on the northwestern side of the basin, has a more wooded 
( evergreen ) wetland as illustrated by the image below.

( Along The NW Side of Fork Ridge )
Wetland Valley Along Northwest Side of Basin

Big Cherry Basin wetlands are among many jewels of this lofty mountain basin, that rests as a water capturing wonder in the sky!



Glady Fork Wetlands
Big Stony Multi-Gorge Basin
( Clinch River Watershed )

April 12, 2012
Elevation Around 2900 feet
Dual Wetland Valleys of The Glades

Another jewel of the High Knob Massif is formed by the lofty stream valleys of Glady Fork of Big Stony Creek, resting between 2880 and 3000 feet above sea level.

Upper Glady Fork Wetland Valleys ( Western )

Upper Glady Fork Wetland Valleys ( Eastern )

Lower Glady Fork - Confluence of Wetland Valleys

Although drier than Big Cherry Basin over the longer term, with less winter snowfall and rime formation, Glady Fork Wetlands can have excessive summer rains 
( 12"+ in a month ) when orographics & feedbacks work together as clouds build vertically above the adjacent chasms of the Big Stony Basin Multi-Gorge Complex.

High Knob Massif
Majestic Wetlands of The Glades
Zoomed Into Oxbow Meander & Beaver Pond



Bark Camp Wetlands
Upper Little Stony Creek Basin
( Clinch River Watershed )

April 12, 2012
Water Elevation 2734 feet
Bark Camp Lake of High Knob Massif

Yet another jewel sitting upon this remnant highcountry massif of the High Knob Landform is majestic Bark Camp Lake with another extensive series of wetlands resting in high valleys upstream of the lake.

Wetland Valley Upstream of Lake ( With New Boardwalk )

Note that what looks like a string lying across the wetland above the lake ( from this high altitude ) is actually the new Boardwalk across the wetland valley!

April 12, 2012
Upper Little Stony Creek
New Boardwalk Across Wetland Valley

Extensive Wetlands Amid Upper Little Stony Basin

Again observe extensive wetlands which rest both upstream and downstream from the new boardwalk across the water filled sphagnum and peat fields.

Making this especially nice, of course, is that the boardwalk connects to the Lake Trail and extensive Chief Benge Trail System for a gorgeous hiking experience through a wetland valley.

Bark Camp Wetlands
Chief Benge & Lake Trail System

October 2012
Robinson Fork - Bark Camp Lake Basin
Upper Little Stony Basin Wetlands In Autumn



Wolf Creek Wetlands
Stock Creek Multi-Gorge Basin
( Clinch River Watershed )

January 31, 2007
Elevation Around 3000 feet
Wolf Creek Wetland Valley of High Knob Massif

A wetland-bog system with a long history of existence is located in a remote section of the Powell Mountain Block of the High Knob Massif, contrasting with the small wetland highlighted next.



Stock Creek Wetland
Mainstem of Stock Creek Gorge
( Clinch River Watershed )

April 12, 2012
Elevation Around 2500 feet
Small Wetland Along Mainstem of Stock Creek

A small wetland developing in recent years amid a low flow section of Stock Creek Gorge, via the handiwork of American Beavers ( Castor canadensis ), illustrates how the phrase "working like a beaver" can make a big difference if efforts are correctly applied!

Developing Stock Creek Wetland
Note wetland across the right side of image

A wet, low gradient stream section in Machine Creek Basin of the Guest River has potential to also develop into a more extensive wetland when Beavers get into that remote location ( if they have not already ).


Mountain Sinkhole Pond
Back Stone Mountain-Pine Ridge
( Clinch River Watershed )

April 12, 2012
Elevation 1476 feet
Back Stone Mountain-Pine Ridge Sinkhole Pond

Nestled in the southeastern base of the High Knob Massif are many significant natural wonders, with a small pond formed in a natural sinkhole whose bottom is plugged being one such feature ( interesting in a massif where dams are either man or beaver made ).

Clinch River of Upper Tennessee Basin
Natural Sinkhole Pond In The Low Elevations

American Copperhead ( Agkistrodon contortrix ) snakes have officially been documented as occupying this sinkhole pond.  Beware!

Cliff Mountain Ponds
North Fork of The Clinch River
( Clinch River Watershed )

January 31, 2007
Elevation Around 3200 feet
Cliff Mountain Ponds of High Knob Massif

The southwestern end of the High Knob Massif is formed by rugged Cliff Mountain, of the Powell Mountain Block, which towers more than 2000 vertical feet above 
"The Divide" and North Fork of the Clinch River Gap.

At least a couple of ponds ( man-made or natural ) rest high upon the mountain, with one in particular being large and apparently within a natural depression that shows no signs of recent disturbances by man.
Very interesting and beautiful.

Cliff Mountain of High Knob Massif
Pond In Natural Appearing Depression

There are many other wetlands and man-beaver made ponds across the High Knob Massif.  Above images have only highlighted some of the most significant and interesting.


*The High Knob Massif possesses the greatest local concentration of advanced to expert skill level whitewater creeks in Virginia, and contains the largest number of American Whitewater rated Class IV-V+ stream segments of any singular mountain in the eastern United States.

January 25, 2010
South Fork of the Powell River
South Fork Gorge of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

*The NW Flank of the High Knob Landform generates the most pristine and extreme whitewater creeks in Kentucky with birth of Martins Fork and Shillalah Creek from the lofty backcountry of Cumberland Gap National Historical Park.

The Whitewater potential of this landform is undeveloped and largely unknown outside of the local area, with current conditions of steep creeks making most un-runnable ( see NOTE below ).

High Knob Massif
Lower or Big Falls of Little Stony Gorge
Photograph by Johnny Stanley - © All Rights Reserved.

March 6, 2011
Water Level View During Winter Storm
Big Falls of Little Stony Gorge of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

[ It could be the only single mountain in the eastern United States to have five consecutive Class V-V+ whitewater creeks ( at normal to higher volumes ) lined up in a row, amid different major gorges, from west to east across its mass ) ].

Whitewater Runs In High Knob Massif Area
( and Cumberland Gap NHP Area )

South Fork Gorge of Powell River: Class V+
American Whitewater - South Fork Gorge

Martins Fork of Cumberland River: Class V
American Whitewater - Martins Fork of Cumberland River

Mountain Fork of Big Stony Gorge: Class IV-V+
( High Knob Lake to Chimney Rock Fork )

Little Stony Gorge: Class IV-V+
( Little Stony Falls to Hanging Rock )

Ramey Fork of Little Stony Gorge: Class V+

Guest River Gorge: Class IV-V

Crab Orchard Falls: Class IV-V
( Guest River Gorge Tributary )

Chimney Rock Gorge: Not Rated
( 1505 feet of drop in 4 miles )

Straight Fork Gorge: Not Rated
( 1460 feet of drop in 4 miles )

Cove Creek Gorge: Class IV-V+ 
( Cascades Section )

Dry Fork Gorge: Class IV-V+
( Jasper Creek Narrows of Stock Creek Basin )

Clear Creek Gorge: Class IV+
( Mainstem of Clear Creek )

Devil Fork Gorge: Class III+( IV )
( Mainstem of Devil Fork )

Upper Stock Creek Gorge: Class III-V

Powell River ( Appalachia-Big Stone Gap ): Class II-IV

Lower Big Stony Gorge: Class III
( Fast bedrock run )

Powell River ( Norton-Appalachia ): Class II-III

Stock Creek to Natural Tunnel: Class II-III
( Lower Gorge section )

Powell River ( Big Stone Gap-Dryden ): Class I-II

Clinch River ( St. Paul-Dungannon ): Class II

**NOTE: Whitewater runs are currently full of wood and debris from winter storm and flash flooding espisodes 
( as of Spring 2012 ).

Little Stony Creek of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Gravity Freaks - © All Rights Reserved.

October 2006
Little Stony Gorge Whitewater Run
Credits: Chris Gorman & AutoBoof Productions

January 17, 2013
High Knob Massif
During The Fast & Furious Snowstorm
One For The Books - Little Stony Creek Gorge
Credits WatershedsFilms

April 2, 2012
High Knob Massif
Kayaking Guest River Gorge
Credits Creekerjdub's

Spring of 2008
Guest River Gorge of High Knob Massif
Credits AutoBoofProductions

Little Stony Gorge of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Gravity Freaks - © All Rights Reserved.

Reference "Whitewater Rolls In High Knob Massif,"
on this website, for AWESOME Roddy Addington photographs:


*The HKL is the only major mountain landform which contributes water to the Clinch, Powell, and Cumberland river basins. Collectively, these basins possess the greatest assemblage of aquatic diversity in North America.

High Knob Massif
Benges Basin of Powell River Watershed
Color Peak At Upper Norton Reservoir
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

[ The Middlesboro Syncline of the Cumberland Overthrust Block
( deeply dissected Appalachian Plateau ) also contributes water to the Cumberland, Powell, and Clinch ( small amount ) rivers from the ranges of the Black, Little Black, and Log mountains ].




NOTE: All caves in the region are CLOSED due to the White Nose Syndrome Danger.



Karstology

Subterranean Caverns In The HKL
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

*The HKL contains the DEEPest cave system east of the Rockies, and north of Mexico, on the entire North American continent ( at 1263 vertical feet in depth ).  Potential exists for increases in depth, and for two different karst systems to become the deepest in eastern North America to the north of Mexico ).

NW Mountain Arm of The HKL
Cumberland Gap National Historical Park
Majesty of The Gap Cave System ( Cudjo's )
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

*The HKL contains the largest cave system in Virginia, and the 66th longest known in the entire world ( as of July 30, 2013 ) out of hundreds of thousands of known caves across earth ( with potential over time for significant advancement in rank ).

Mike Ficco In Shaft Series
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

*The HKL-Clinch River Valley contains the highest cave density and concentration of significant caves in Virginia, with 50 percent of the significant caves of Virginia within a single hydrologic unit in the High Knob Landform ( HKL ).

Gilley Cave of High Knob Landform
Cave Salamander ( Eurycea lucifuga )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

A great overview of caves in this area has been put together in video format by my friend and acclaimed naturalist Richard Kretz:

Introduction To Virginia Caves & Cave Inhabitants

*The HKL contains the largest cedar glade-limestone barrens in Virginia, with 33 rare species of flora and fauna identified in The Cedars NAP.

Annual Bat Census 2011 - High Knob Landform
Northern Long-Eared Bat ( Myotis septentrionalis )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

*The HKL and adjoining sections of the Clinch River Valley contain some of the most spectacular surface karst in Virginia, with standing solution conduits ( the most famous being The Natural Tunnel ) and sinkholes that reach vertical depths of more than 100 feet and lengths of 500 to 1000+ feet.  Karren, karst windows, sinking streams, and unroofed, or open, cave passages are common amid certain stratas.

The High Knob Landform ( HKL )
Graphic by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Remnant Highcountry of The HKL
Great Belt of Calcareous Cliffs Ringing Massif
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Calcareous Cave In The HKL
Majestic Flowstone Falls Formation
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Calcareous Cave In High Knob Landform
Delicate Flos-Ferri Aragonite Crystals
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Calcareous Cave In The High Knob Landform
Water Spray Upon Gorgeous Haystack Formation
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Gap Cave System
Calcareous Cave In The High Knob Landform
Flowstone & Columns - Cumberland Gap NHP
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Cumberland Gap National Historical Park
Gap Cave System - Diversity & Decorations 
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Sandstone Cave
NW Mountain Flank of The High Knob Landform
Sand Cave of Cumberland Gap National Historical Park
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.



Hydrogeology

The Natural Tunnel in Natural Tunnel State Park
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

*The HKL contains the longest continuously traversable subterranean stream passage in Virginia, with the greatest vertical drop in the state along its course.

Calcareous Core of The High Knob Landform
The Daniel Boone Natural Bridge Area of Lee County
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

*The High Knob Massif can handle more total precipitation without flooding ( rainfall and/or rain + snow melt ) than other locations across western Virginia since most creeks draining its highcountry sink, or partially sink, into the subterranean prior to reaching regional base levels marked by the ecologically renowned Clinch and Powell rivers.

Karst Landscape of High Knob Landform
Maple Gap of High Knob Massif In Spring
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Since much of the highcountry of the massif is upheld by more resistant stratigraphy, such as quartzarenites, it hides the fact that it is largely a karst landscape with hydrologically complex conduit systems. This being especially true since the High Knob Landform possesses a form of scarp-slope karst that gives little evidence of its presence on the surface ( relative to its calcareous valleys ).

*Drainage from the High Knob Massif has been responsible for formation of the famed Natural Tunnel, amid The Natural Tunnel State Park, and the hydrologically complex conduit system of the Rye Cove Karst Basin ( the largest karst cove in Virginia ).



Biospeleology

Little Brown Bat ( Myotis lucifugus )
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

*The HKL contains dozens of globally rare subterranean species, many found no where else in the world, with connections via hydrologically complex conduit systems to other adjoining
bio-hotspots like the Rye Cove Karst Basin.

Globally Endemic Species In High Knob Landform
Unthanks Cave Snail ( Holsingeria unthanksensis )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

*The HKL contains one of the most biologically diverse cave systems in all of the Appalachians ( no cave locations or names will be given, so please don't ask ).

Cave Orb Weaver ( Meta ovalis )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

*The Cedars Millipede ( Brachoria cedra ), which was thought to be endemic to The Cedars of Lee County, was recently discovered at two different locations on High Knob to reinforce the physical connections between the eroded calcareous core and remnant massif of the HKL ( Brachoria cedra is a globally rare species ).

Endemic Millipede ( Brachoria cedra )
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

The Virginia Natural Heritage Karst Program tracks 76 species of rare cave animals within the Upper Tennessee River Basin of southwestern Virginia, most of which are in the High Knob Landform.  In addition, many new and undescribed species have been discovered during recent years.

Upper Tennessee River Basin
Virginia NHP Karst Fact Sheet ( PDF )



Archaeology & Culture

Native American Culture
Arrowheads of The Upper Tennessee River Basin
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

*The High Knob Landform and its Upper Tennessee River Basin is a center of human history and culture in the Southern Appalachians of the United States.

Native Americans were first to occupy this wild landscape with a reverence for both its terrestrial and subterranean vastness!

Ron Pinson - Wilderness Road State Park
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

More than 50 Burial Caves used by Native Americans have been documented in Virginia, the majority being  discovered within the Clinch, Powell, and Holston watersheds of the Upper Tennessee River Basin ( Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology ).

( Ron Pinson )
Wilderness Road State Park
Hunting In More "Modern" Times
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Artifacts discovered within dozens of rock shelters
in the High Knob Landform date from the Early Archaic Period
( ca., 8500-6500 B.C. ) through the Late Woodland Period ( ca., 1000-1650 A.D. ) to cast new light on changing cultures and land use patterns through time ( Journal of Cave and Karst Studies ).

Native American & Long Hunter
Wilderness Road State Park of High Knob Landform
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

While Daniel Boone is perhaps the most famous explorer and Long Hunter of the region, there were many others who aided discovery and settlement of this rugged mountain country.

The Long Hunters

Wilderness Road State Park
The Blacksmith Shop In Winter
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

( Eastern End )
Frontier Cabin - Wilderness Road State Park
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

( Western End )
Frontier Cabin - Wilderness Road State Park
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

The Fort At Wilderness Road State Park
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Wilderness Road State Park

May 11, 2013
Log Hewer At Wilderness Road State Park
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Friends of Wilderness Road State Park

Gunsmith Shop At Historic Martin's Station
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Historic Martin's Station

On The Wilderness Road
Mad Anne At Martin's Station
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail Association

Road To Fort At Martin's Station
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Additional information on this amazing history & culture
can be found by visiting:

Cumberland Gap National Historical Park

Southwest Virginia Museum Historical State Park

Cumberland Gap National Historical Park
Morning View From The Pinnacle Overlook
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Rising against the Appalachian Coalfields, the history and culture of The High Knob Landform corridor has been shaped by an original, rich heritage of music and coal.

The Crooked Road
Virginia Heritage Music Trail

December 2012
Powell Valley Overlook
Along The Crooked Road - Geminids Time
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Virginia Coal Heritage Trail

April 2012
Along The Crooked Road
Spectacular Sky & Mountain Scenery 
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

April 2012
Powell Valley of High Knob Massif
Beautiful Spring Landscape In The Big Stone Gap Area
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

The official Outdoor Drama of Virginia, and the longest running in the Commonwealth, gives visitors a colorful glimpse into the rich mountain culture of this landscape.

Trail of the Lonesome Pine Outdoor Drama

December 7, 2011
Camp Bethel In Wise
Upon The Tennessee Valley Divide
Snowy Beauty of The Holiday Season
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

February 19, 2012
Majesty In Lights - Town of Wise
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

December 2009
Along The Tennessee Valley Divide
Pretty Winter Scene In Town of Wise
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.


The Bottom Line

High Knob Landform
Orographic Wave Clouds At Sunrise
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

When combining all the photographs in this section with all the different groups of information nothing can deny that this is a great, continuous mountain landform!

Whether it be called the High Knob Landform, Powell Valley Anticline, or simply by the multitude of individial local names for different sections it is important that it be recognized as a continuous, consolidated, landscape of an ancient mountain landform.  Only then does its true greatness and significance become realized for all to see!

Winter Majesty of High Knob Massif
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Information Reference:
Browning, W.W., ( 2013 ).  Biodiversity and Climatology of the High Knob Landform: With Special Emphasis on the Clinch and Powell River Watersheds of the Upper Tennessee River Basin.  Work in Progress.


Follow-Up Comments By Author:
Why Is It Important To Recognize The HKL?

There are countless reasons to recognize the High Knob Landform ( HKL ) and NOT one has to do with myself being the first to ever name it in such a way ( since the name High Knob was given LONG before I was born ) or the first to document it by bringing together major natural sciences to form a single picture!


Some geologists may say that the HKL is nothing more than the great Powell Valley Anticline, which has been recognized as a geological structure since at least the 1920s and 1930s
( by famous geologists Chester Wentworth, Charles Butts,
and John Rich ).

However, the HKL is MUCH
more than just a geologic structure! 

Photographs used throughout this introduction and website are illustrating that for everyone to see with their own eyes.

To say that the High Knob Landform ( HKL ) ONLY equals the Powell Valley Anticline would be analogous to saying that the skeleton alone is equal to the human body.

The skeletal system of the body has no life, no functional use, without the brain, heart, lungs, and all the other organs, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and skin completing the human system!

In the same way, all of these organs and tissues can not function as a unit without a skeletal system to give them structural support. 

The two can not be separated.

In like manner, the Powell Valley Anticline can not be separated from the High Knob Landform since it functions as the HKL's structural support. 

The HKL would simply not exist as the incredible landform it is without the structural framework which holds it all together. 

There is no doubt about that.

However, this structural framework alone, by itself, is not the HKL.

The HKL is the combination & resultant product of an infinite, amazing, assemblege of natural forces working together over a truly great vastness of time, which encompasses more than just its structural framework as defined by geology. 

The capabilities, limited as they may be, of the natural sciences of today allow us as scientists to study the products of the intimate and very highly interconnected workings of all these grand natural forces ( allowing, at least, for the generation of a BIG picture ).

Just like the human body can not be adequately described by highlighting only it's skeleton, or heart, so the HKL can not be justly defined, understood, or described without bringing together ALL of the major natural sciences which outline its domain.

And make no mistake, when this phase of my work is done it will only be a mere OUTLINE.  Despite being way more than 1,000 pages in length, assembled over more than 20 years of time, it will only be a basic foundation upon which future studies and works will add, update, and modify as needed over time as new information and knowledge becomes available.

My hope in this process is only to make a POSITIVE contribution to the world around me, amid this precious, flicker of time which I am blessed to have in this life.

A positive contribution in this matter is bringing understanding to what the High Knob Landform is, what it contains, and what it truly represents from the foundation of the natural sciences ( generating a BIG picture ).

Not from speculation, or guessing, or fiction, but from reality of what is, documented over time for anyone to prove.

Any new terminology or concept may sound strange at first, but over time when proven to be fact it becomes commonly used and natural.  It is in this manner that I work to encourage usage and recognition of the terms "High Knob Massif" and "High Knob Landform," as they apply in scientific works, common writings, or in any usage in which they are valid.

This work is not biased toward 
anyone or group. 

Period! 

It is for the United States Forest Service, the National Park Service, the City of Norton, Towns of Appalachia, Big Stone Gap, Coeburn, Dungannon, Duffield, Pennington Gap, Jonesville, and many others, The Clinch Coalition, The Nature Conservancy, ALL private citizens, students, and teachers that live on or adjacent to the HKL, and for all counties and states into which it extends.

This work is simply for EVERYONE in order that all may learn about this great landform for a better, more postive future for it and everything impacted by it.

This work is NOT associated with any environmental group, and has not been funded by any groups.

It is also done to stimulate and encourage future scientific studies, which up until the past decade or two have been blatantly lacking across this great landscape ( ** ). 

**That is, outside of the endless search for hydrocarbon resources and extractive entities.

How could a great landform like the HKL
go unrecognized for so long?

The answer to that question rest's largely upon the former, since no one expected to find, or went looking for, a great natural landform amid the Appalachian Coalfields.

My father was a coal miner for 40 long years, and this is no rebuke of that profession, but merely a part of the reality.

How could the deepest cave system east of the Rockies, and north of Mexico, on the entire North American continent go unrecognized for so long? 

It's been here all along ( i.e., for a very long time )!

The answer is again part of the reality, that the focus of attention had previously been placed upon other better known karst regions across Virginia and the United States prior to the 1990's.

Such has been the case with EVERY major branch of the natural sciences except for geology, since detailed geological studies were necessary from a hydrocarbon perspective.

And just what was discovered when
the geology was studied in detail?

Only a little thing named the Cumberland Mountain Overthrust Block ( called Pine Mountain Thrust Sheet by some ), a recognized world-class example of "thin-skinned" tectonics, which has been cited in more scientific works, books, and papers than anyone has time to list.

It only revolutionized world-wide thinking about how thrust belts form and function in the creation of mountains!

With such a unique and fascinating structural framework, should it really be so shocking that such a great natural landform has developed upon it, down within it, and across a large portion of it's 3125 square mile expanse? 

No, it really should not.

But there is so much more!

Like the human body has a soul which can not be seen with the naked eye, or explained by the natural sciences, the High Knob Landform ( HKL ) possesses an ability to alter and change invisible properties.

As I have written many times in the past, occasionally some of these "invisible" forces become visible to our eyes as the HKL, and it's remnant massif, alters the fluid atmosphere such that gravity waves appear ( given sufficient moisture for condensation processes ).

This has been important in my research, and I want to highlight this bit below from a former writing:

"The greatness of the HKL reaches far beyond what can be seen with the naked eye. From a climate perspective, this mountain landform is a force to be reckoned with, and is like a massive boulder in a river, that deforms the water and forces it to change course.

In this case, the High Knob Massif deforms the very air. If it were removed from the landscape, the regional climate would change, natural entities of untold significance would be lost, and lives near and far would forever be different, regardless of whether or not they ever laid eyes upon this massif.

Like many of the taller mountains of the Appalachians, the High Knob Massif excites gravity waves in the atmosphere.

However, unlike typically narrow crested Appalachian ridges, the unusually wide base to base width of the High Knob Massif, coupled with its good airflow exposure, forces much greater orographic impacts than would otherwise be expected from a mountain whose summit stands 1500 vertical feet lower than the highest in Virginia.

[ Analogy:  A tall, narrow rock sticking up out of a river will alter the flow, but a wide rock; although lower in height, will deform the flow of the river in a much greater manner ].

The High Knob Massif generates, dissipates, and transfers enormous amounts of energy to places far removed from where it stands, with traces of this energy transfer being followed by the trails of gravity waves that ripple outward away from the massif through the fluid atmosphere in all directions."

Gravity Waves From High Knob Massif to North Carolina
November 10, 2000 at 2001 UTC

That bit of writing hints at some of the great forces at work which we occasionally see revealed, like this incredible NASA visible image above illustrates.  A great flowing river of deformed air, orginating amid the High Knob Massif, which transfers energy outward through the fluid atmosphere to places as far away as western North Carolina or beyond.

Remember, a WIDE rock in a river!

There are other things emitted by the High Knob Landform which may not be readily seen or realized, until something "tragic" happens like the burning of the grand old Lookout Tower. 

A rash of emotions were then revealed, even though what was really causing them was MUCH MORE than a mere pile of wood.  Yes, it was indeed a grand ole tower, but it was the HKL that made it so beloved.

And, of course, there is the great cultural apsect of the HKL which has not even been mentioned.  The famous Wilderness Road, grand Cumberland Gap, are only the most famous parts of a long legacy of national history made within this great landform.

One would think that Tourism Authorities would be JUMPing
at the chance to tie all this together into one grand package. 

Are you listening out there? 

It's called the High Knob Landform ( HKL ), or Powell Valley Anticline ( if you are strictly pushing geology ).

And now, as I also often like to say,
here is the BOTTOM LINE:

I did not wake up one glorious morning with the great realization of the High Knob Landform.  I did not go in search of defining the HKL.  I stumbled across it more than 20 years ago on the road to discovering some incredible climatic features unique to Virginia.

That is where this scientific study all began for me ( it really started when I was just a kid, the first time I looked upward in amazement at the 2000+ feet of vertical drop off Grindstone Ridge Dome in the Head of Powell Valley )!

But, as I was well taught at the University of Virginia's College in Wise, one can not truly define something without first stepping back to see the BIG PICTURE.

Like a large puzzle that begins as an unsorted pile, pieces were scattered from here to there, and only slowly, over time did they begin to emerge into this GREAT, GRAND picture that is the HKL.

Many greater ones than I have added pieces to this puzzle in years and decades past, and many greater than I will do so in the years and decades to come ( MY HOPE ). 

It really does not bother me if my contribution passes away with time, IF the HKL becomes recognized by scientific studies, local, state, and national agencies responsible for it's care, and generally loved and appreciated for what it contains and represents.

A BIG dream? 

Not really.

I think the majority who see High Knob sprawled across the great horizon with its lofty basins, gorges, lakes, wetlands, and plunging whitewater creeks, the awesome view of Powell Valley nestled deeply amid its towering mountain walls, tumbling Roaring Branch Gorge, Keokee Lake, the beautifully rolling Clinch & Powell River valleys which finally unite like passionate lovers at its southwestern end, the great Cumberland Gap National Historical Park with its looming "White Rocks," can sense in their hearts that this is no ordinary landscape! 

When they learn of all the incredible things not so readily visible and talked about, which have been discovered far above, upon, and far beneath its surface, and that ALL of these are connected to ALL of those above which are so readily visible, amid a SINGLE great landform, there will be no possible way to deny what it is. 

They will simply KNOW!

Upper Falls Little Stony Gorge - High Knob Massif
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

Reference the following links on this website for examples of what truly makes The High Knob Landform extraordinary:



( Mountain Wave Clouds )
Heavens Glow - A Pure Inspiration

( Geology of The High Knob Landform )
Colors Peak In Lower Cumberlands ( October 2009 )

( Rain Gage Undercatches & The Lifting Zone )
Wetness Rules The High Knob Massif



( Addison Stallard )
Special Edition: The Mountain & The Man

( Orographic Forcing - SE Upslope Flow )
December 2009 Starts Frosty, Wild, Squirrely


( Thermally Indirect Mesoscale Circulation )
MEGA-Disaster Snowstorm - December 2009

( Hard RIME & Awesome Majesty )
Belated Christmas Present - Winter Beauty

( South Fork Gorge & High Elevation Basins )
Whitewater Gushes - January THAW 2010

( Historic Winters of the Past )
Adding Up Snowfall: Winter 2009-10

( Orographic Forcing - SE Upslope Flow )
Winter Storm In The High Knob Highcountry

( Deep Snowpack & Ice Straws )
Majesty Of An Endless Winter In The HKL



( The NAME & PURPOSE of Website )
Spring Prelude ( March 2010 - Second Week )























( Massive Drifting In Crest Zone of High Knob Massif )
Christmas Holiday Snowstorm ( December 25-27, 2010 )

( South Fork Gorge & Little Stony Gorge )
January 2011 Begins With A GUSH


( RIME Changes In High Knob Massif )
Water Capturing Wonder At Work








Rewriting The Climatology of Virginia
Summer 2011 Opens WET In The High Knob Landform

Summer 2011 Gets Even WETTER

Cooling Trend: Mid-August 2011

Major Rain Event Opens Autumn 2011

October 2011 Opens With Snow & Rime

Color Peak 2011 - Shock & AWE

 ( Going Subterranean In The HKL )
October Treat In The High Knob Landform

Cumberland Gap National Historical Park
Late Autumn In The Appalachian Highlands

Orographic Forcing In Autumn
Major Mid-November Storm Event ( November 2011 )

Biodiversity & Rewriting The Climatology of Virginia II
Autumn 2011 Ends WET & Cold

Orographic Forcing In Early Winter
Major Storm Opens December 2011

Wintry Period In The High Knob Massif ( December 2011 )

History of Christmases Past ( 1963 to 2010 )

( Arctic Fronts & Snow Squalls )
Arctic Blast & Heavy Snow Open 2012

( High Knob Massif Impact On Region )
Arctic Blast 2 - All About Wind Direction

( Climatic Gradients Inside High Knob Landform )
Majesty of Mid-Winter ( Mid-January 2012 )

January 2012 Ended MILD ( But Not Record Warm )

( Orographics & Upslope Funneling )
Winter Returns To High Knob Massif ( February 2012 )

( High Knob Massif - TIM Circulation )
High Impact Snowfall ( February 19, 2012 )

Analysis Charts
( Historic Eastern Kentucky Tornadoes )
Major Severe Outbreak of Early March 2012

( Recap of Winter 2011-12 )
Wetness In The High Knob Landform

( Record March Warmth & Wetness )
WARM & Wet In The High Knob Landform ( March 2012 )

( Historic Storm Accounts & Choices Made )
Spring Majesty In Maple Gap of High Knob Massif

Storage Capacity Less Than Demand
But WETNESS Rules In The Mean
Precious Water Supplies ( Mid-Spring 2012 )

The Beauty of Mid-Late Spring 2012

Spring 2012 Recap - Summer Begins Cool

Special Edition: Colors of Heaven's Glory

1 comment:

  1. the hkl is beautiful! gotta come back & visit sometime.

    ReplyDelete