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“S” is for Sassafras Mountain

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“S” is for Sassafras Mountain (Pickens County). Sassafras Mountain, which lies along the South Carolina/North Carolina border, rises 3,554 feet above sea level and is the highest point in South Carolina. The geology of Sassafras Mountain reflects millions of years of plate tectonics. It lies within the inner Piedmont belt and is thought to be part of a continental fragment that attached or even reattached North America during the Middle Ordovician at a time of continental collision and mountain building. During these episodes, North America collided with both the European and African plates. These collisions generated tremendous heat and pressure—and transformed sedimentary and igneous rocks into schists and the distinctive Henderson gneiss that underlies Sassafras Mountain. Other geologic processes caused active stream down-cutting and the resultant modern scenic gorges and waterfalls that surround Sassafras Mountain.

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.