Southeastern Section–56th Annual Meeting (29–30 March 2007)

Paper No. 32
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM


GARRETT, C. Guinn1, TASICH, Christopher M.1 and RANSON, William A., (1)Earth & Environmental Sciences, Furman University, 3300 Poinsett Highway, Greenville, SC 29613,

An eight-mile, spur rail line, known as the Swamp Rabbit, that served textile mills in Greenville County, SC discontinued operation in the 1980s and is now undergoing restoration to a walking and biking trail. The rail corridor exposes several different Inner Piedmont lithologies and structures in the rolling foothills landscape as well as traversing different ecological habitats. Rock types encountered include biotite gneiss, amphibolite, and schist. Biotite gneiss consists of 0.5 to 1.5 mm plagioclase, quartz, microcline, and biotite ± epidote, hornblende, and magnetite. Amphibolite is dominantly hornblende with lesser biotite and plagioclase ± myrmekite, quartz, and magnetite. Schist consists of finely crystalline (0.5 to 1.0 mm) biotite, sillimanite, and muscovite and includes 10-20 cm long boudins. Boudins are composed of a finely crystalline matrix of biotite, plagioclase, epidote, and quartz± chlorite, hematite, and titanite, with garnet porphyroblasts up to 2.5 mm in diameter. Schist outcrops exhibit isoclinal folds with plunge of fold axes averaging 30° N80E, and foliation is well developed in all rock types with general trends of N40W 20NE (biotite gneiss), N20E 40SE (amphibolite), N40E 20SE (schist). The nature of the contacts among the three rock types is speculative because of discontinuous exposure along the rail corridor. Geologic mapping in the area suggests that all rock types occur in the Six Mile thrust sheet.

Ecology along the Swamp Rabbit corridor includes mature forest, wetland, and agricultural habitats. Each area contains characteristic trees and flowering plants. The mature forest exhibits Asiatic Dayflower (Commelina communis), Smooth Solomon's Seal (Polygonatum biflorum), and the Mimosa tree (Albizia julibrissin). Wetland habitats included Broadleaf Arrowhead (Sagitarria latifolia) and Wild Cherry (Prunus serotina). Many open, agricultural fields include plants such as Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa), Queen Anne's Lace (Daucaus carota), and the Common Day Lily (Hemerocallis fulva). Information gathered by this project will serve as the basis for educational materials, including a trail guide, which will introduce trail users to the natural history along the Swamp Rabbit Trail.