Physics Photo of the Week

April 30, 2010

Visibility of Old Clear Cut
This is a photo of Jones Mountain viewed from the WWC campus in mid-April 2010.  if one looks carefully at the general shapes of the trees, one can see that the trees appear smaller and closer together in a rectangular region on the facing side of the mountain.  The area indicates a region that was clear-cut in the mid-1970's. 

In the approximately 35 years since the clear cutting, it is difficult to see the clear-cut area.  The area is almost completely regrown.  However, proper lighting and the spring budding season enhance the visibility of the re-growth area.  The photo below at right shows the former clear-cut area outlined for reference.  Also notice in these photos that there are white areas behind the foreground tulip poplar and sycamore trees.  These white areas are the spring dogwood blooms in the pasture below Jones Mountain - not snow.

I remember when this clear cut was made.  It looked terrible from campus - but the campus culture at the time aroused little controversy.  I also remember hiking the area - the views were phenomenal with no trees to block the view!  If anybody has photos of the scene when this area was clear cut, I would certainly appreciate a copy.

Another interesting facet of this area: I cannot distinguish the trees of the area when hiking the trails on Jones Mountain.  The picture below shows this photo alternating with the winter photo (PPOW March 26, 2010).  The winter photo shows the Davidson Trail passing through the middle of the outlined area.  The photos were lined up using two reference points.  Community members are invited to hike the Jones Mountain trails to see if they can see the regrowth area from close-up.

Physics Photo of the Week is published weekly during the academic year on Fridays by the Warren Wilson College Physics Department.  These photos feature interesting phenomena in the world around us.  Students, faculty, and others are invited to submit digital (or film) photographs for publication and explanation.  Atmospheric phenomena are especially welcome.  Please send any photos to 

All photos and discussions are copyright by Donald Collins or by the person credited for the photo and/or discussion.  These photos and discussions may be used for private individual use or educational use.  Any commercial use without written permission of the photoprovider is forbidden.

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