Field and Laboratory


Robert Kral

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Eddy Peak, in the Cabinet National Forest of northwest Montana, is part of a large fault system in which thousands of feet of shale were thrust up to form an escarpment overlooking the Clark Fork River. The summit elevation is 7500 feet. Fracturing of the uppermost layers of shale has resulted in many talus slopes, some of them hundreds of yards from top to bottom, on the dip side of the strata. Parts of the mountain crest consist of nothing but a jumble of shale blocks in a very unstable state. During the summer of 1954 several slides occurred. Apparently for this reason, vegetation was sparse on the slopes, and heavier on the cliff side. The only plant which could be found on both sides of the crest was Penstemon ellipticus Coult. & Fisher. For the first two weeks of July the mountain top was almost wholly covered by snow, and snow persisted in shaded areas throughout the season. Consequently patches of the penstemon were blooming throughout the summer in the wake of the retreating islands of snow. Collections of wild bee visitors were begun on the 20th of July, 1954, and terminated the last week of August. Four families were present, represented by five genera and nine species.

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