Monday, May 29, 2017  
 
News & Updates
VISITING MOUNT BUFFALO IN MAY
13-04-2017 
Our Mountain is amazing in the Autumn, but it is getting colder so make sure that you bring some warm clothes as the alps are normally 10 degrees cooler than Bright and the Alpine valleys. There are still enough warm days for rock climbing and abseiling in the gorge, bushwalking or a bike ride.
Spoil yourself and "Visit Mount Buffalo" this Autumn.

LAKE CATANI CAMPING GROUND CLOSED
13-04-2017 
Note that Parks Victoria have now closed the Lake Catani camping ground for general camping (There are limited snow camping sites available during winter). Camping reopens again in November.


Archive

GEOLOGY OF MOUNT BUFFALO

OVERVIEW of the GEOLOGY

Formed well below the earths surface hundreds of millions of years ago as molten rock from the mantle tried to force its way to the surface (But did not succeed) the rock that is now the mountain formed a huge bubble underground and then cooled slowly, forming granite with its large crystal structure and unusual weathering characteristics (it tends to peel away like an onion which accounts for the rounding of the cliffs and boulders). The most common minerals in this type of rock that are easy to see are quartz (White and hard), felspar (often cream, light pink or brown) and mica (the black or silver shiny bits).

GOLD

The early miners searched but found no gold on the mountain as gold rarely forms in granite (and then mostly in intrusive dykes that occur later than the host rock formation). The heat and pressure of the molten granite forcing its way into the overlying sedimentary rocks is, however, believed to be one of the causes of the mineralization in the Metamorphic geology surrounding the granite mass.  The areas in the Buckland just to the East of Mount Buffalo were rich gold bearing areas.

VALUABLE MINERALS ASSOCIATED WITH GRANITE

Tin ore (most commonly in its oxide cassiterite) is one of the common valuable minerals found in Granites. the Beechworth Granites (Nearby) being a major producer of this metal for the state. Luckily (or mining may have damaged the mountain top) there were no valuable minerals found on our mountain. Other minerals of gems associated with granite type rocks (Many found at Beechworth) include Amythyst, Citrine and other Quartz crystals, Tourmaline, Topaz. Molybdenite (used to harden steel and as a dry lubricant) and a range of other interesting (and sometimes radioactive) minerals.


RADIOACTIVE

Granite is mildly radio active and has a range of uranium family minerals in tiny ammounts spread throughout. Not at dangerous levels however. Your luminous watch has higher radiation levels.

 

EROSION and TIME

Time wind, water and ice have eroded away the overlying rock leaving behind the mountain's amazing granite formations.  The sedimentary rocks that originally covered the area (and some of the metamorphic rocks of the contact zones) can still be seen at places on the road to the mountain top.

PEGMATITES and DYKES

Pegmatites and dykes will be found in the granites of mount Buffalo by the observant person (although not gem crystal rich as are the pegmatites of the Beechworth Granites).


XENOLITHS

Inclusions of the original overlying rock that became caught in the molten rock (called Xenoliths) are also interesting and quite common. These are the rounded edge darker and often micro crystaline patches that can be seen on the surface in places. Easy to see on the horn walking track.

THE COLOUR of the ROCK

The browns and greys and other colours that are common when you look at the boulders and pinnacles are actually lichens and mosses. The true colour of the granite can be seen below some of the lookouts (Where chemicals from the metal and concrete have killed the living plants leaving the natural rock colour) or where the rock has brocken away recently.

LANDSLIDES and CLIFF COLLAPSE

Granite rock weathers much slower than many other types and also the rounded surfaces tend to provide stability so rock falls and the like occur rarely. It is all a slow process weathering in the granite country. There is a good example of a large landslide (about the year 1999) along the road to Cresta valley. Pass the Cathedral Car park and when continuing on look back at the southern slopes of the Castle Feature and you will see a HUGE boulder half way down a massive scree slope. This boulder has Little Lichen discolorations as it ended upside down and now sits a different colour to its new fellows. Driving around the base of Mount Buffalo on the Buckland, Ovens or Buffalo River roads will also reward the observant with land slips ans slides. Most of these are the result of increased erosion of the steep slopes after the recent bushfires.

GRANITE CAVES

Caves in granite are quite rare (Limestone caves being the most common type) but Buffalo has a number. Notably the underground river cave (see adventure activities for our wild cave tours) and two other smaller caves (one Vertical). By definition a cave must have areas of total darkness so the many cracks and crevices and overhangs are just that and are not true caves.



MORE ABOUT XENOLITHS
www.umanitoba.ca/geoscience/faculty/arc/xenolith.html

MORE ABOUT GRANITE
geology.about.com/od/more_igrocks/a/granite.ht

MORE ABOUT THE GEOLOGY
home.vicnet.net.au/~seana/nn/alps/lichens.htm