Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The "Dome" family photo

The family photo taken at Clingmans Dome by a photography student who was so kind to take our photo. This particular site is 6,643 feet tall and the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains and the third highest summit east of the Mississippi river.

Take a look at the trees behind us. The smoky's are filled with this fraser fir and they are all being killed by the balsam woolly adelgid, an aphid-like insect less than one millimeter long. These European adelgids are believed to have been accidentally imported into the US on nursery stock and were first seen in teh Smokies in the 1950's. Since then, they have killed most of the mature firs in the park. They are trasported by wind and bird's feet to suitable feeding sites on the trunks of trees.
The photo above is a photo taken at the top of one of the mtns and you can see the dead fraser fir. It really is amazing.