National Geographic : 1970 Nov
The way of a boy with growing things earned young George Washington Carver the name "Plant Doctor." At his birthplace near Diamond, Missouri, now a national monument, a bronze likeness by Robert Amendola marks the hidden garden of the Negro youth who began life as a slave about 1860 and became a world-renowned botanist, agrono mist, and humanitarian. He died in 1943. to give a concise answer to a very simple question, 'What are the Ozarks?' " If pressed, he continued, he would call them hills. Others say mountains. Still others, a plateau, a dome, or a highland. Neither has accord been reached on how far the Ozarks stretch beyond Missouri and Arkansas into neighboring states. If the present provokes disagreement, the past does not. Thick layers of sedimentary rock-limestone, dolomite, sandstone, shale tell geologists that 400 to 500 million years ago the region was an ocean floor. Only a million years ago, the earth thrust the sea bed upward, forming a high plain. Then rivers sculptured it, chiseling valleys, smoothing plateaus, mining the layered stone with cav erns and numberless springs. "Our mountains ain't so high, but our val leys shore are deep," goes an Ozark expres sion. It fits; the Ozarks could boast no peaks -not even hills-were it not for the valleys the rivers gouged. Elevations here seem unremarkable beside even the Appalachians, much less the Rockies. 664 Timbered ridges roll to the horizon across northern Arkansas and southern Missouri. Here in Ozark National Forest a fire tower keeps watch over lush woodlands, touched by the first glow of autumn. Rugged island of mountains, riddled by myriad caves, springs, and sparkling streams, the Ozark Plateau rose above the central plains about a million years ago. Frenchmen came to the region before 1700, seeking furs and mineral wealth. In the 19th century An glo-Saxons from the Appalachians claimed the hills. Arkansas also boasts the deep valleyed Ouachita Mountains.