Water ripples are forming in very shallow water of a Piedmont stream as it flows over orange bedrock. The rock is a metamorphosed argillite (fine-grained sedimentary rock) whose present color is the result of weathering in an oxygen-rich environment. Algae has grown preferentially in planar, nearly vertical fractures in the rock called joints.
The stream is in Uwharrie National Forest, North Carolina.
Flat Creek southeasterly through Lancaster County, South Carolina. The stream feeds into Lynches River, that farther southeast joins the Great Pee Dee River. The Pee Dee joins the Waccama River at Georgetown on the SC Atlantic Coast.
Flat Creek carries a heavy load of sediment. Where this image was made, the stream crosses the Pageland granite, a pluton that is about 300 million years old. The granite is coarse-grained and sheds considerable quartz and feldspar grains as it weathers and erodes.
This image is a 180° panorama around a meander bend in Flat Creek. Lower water velocity on the inside of the meander causes the coarser sediment load to drop out to form a sandy point bar. The near bank of the river is being undercut by erosion on the outside of the meander where water velocity is greater. In time, the stream channel will migrate toward this cut bank.
It’s difficult to see in the shadows, but in the lower left corner of the photograph a tributary trickles into the main channel, and there are abundant beaver tracks there. Beavers use the tributary mouth as a slide.
In the lower right corner of the photograph you can see a boulder of Pageland granite. It’s rounded shape is characteristic of spheroidal weathering of a larger mass of granite bedrock.
Not far to the southeast, Flat Creek crosses from Piedmont igneous and metamorphic rocks into sedimentary rocks of the Sandhills.
This image was made late on a Spring afternoon under a brilliant blue sky reflecting off the water’s surface and under the long shadows of hardwood trees yet to put out theire leaves.