Georgia, United States
Geology and History
Arabia Mountain is a monadnock in DeKalb County, Georgia. The peak is 940 feet (287m) above sea level, rising 180 feet (55m) above Arabia Lake reservoir. It is now part of the Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve, a DeKalb County park. On October 12, 2006 the mountain and adjoining features were designated Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area. Guided hikes are available to Arabia Mountain from Panola Mountain, 3 miles 5 furlongs (5.9 km) to the southwest. While designated as one peak on USGS maps, most users familiar with the area consider the rock formation to be two peaks: Arabia Mountain to the northeast, and Bradley Mountain to the southeast, connected with a low saddle. (It is Bradley Mountain that is commonly thought to be Arabia Mountain.)
Arabia Mountain appears to be composed of granite, like other nearby peaks such as Stone Mountain and Panola Mountain. Although made of metamorphic rock, the mountain is actually composed of migmatite, metamorphosed at higher temperatures than gneiss but not sufficiently melted to become granite.
Like Panola and Stone Mountain, Arabia Mountain was quarried for decades before the property was turned over to the DeKalb park system. Structures and excavations from the quarry operations can be seen throughout the park. Parts of the mountain were used to film the Stephen King film "Pet Sematary II."
Botany and Endangered Plants
Arabia Mountain is one of five locations in the US where black-spored quillwort (Isoetes melanospora) are found. It is one of 44 locations in the US where little amphianthus (Amphianthus pusillus) is found. These are endangered species protected by Georgia and Federal law. The population of black-spored quillwort is the largest and most important population remaining and one of the largest [Amphianthus] populations. "Enforcement to protect sensitive areas needs improvement" according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's 5-year review of theses species, completed 9/2008.
Arabia Mountain is one of a small number of locations in the southeastern United States where Small's stonecrop (Diamorpha smallii) thrives. (This plant is not listed as an endangered endangered species in Georgia or the US but is in Tennessee.) When granite and similar stone outcrops are exposed to erosion, over time, small depressions form where weaker rock wears away faster than surrounding rock (often assisted by lichen). Over time, these depressions fill with sand washed down from higher locations, which accumulates a small amount of organic content from decaying leaves and other detritus, as well as rain water. Small's stonecrop then takes hold in these sandy hollows.
The PATH Foundation has completed ~12 miles of 12-ft wide concrete road for pedestrian and bicycle use running from downtown Lithonia to Stonecrest Mall and thence through the Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve to Panola Mountain State Park. This includes a spur to a parking area on North Goddard road and a spur to DeKalb County's Murphey Candler Elementary School and Arabia Mountain High School. Click here for map.
This trail will link with the proposed 26-mile (paved 12' wide) South River bicycle trail extending to the 2000-acre Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers.
Arabia Mountain High School
On the edge of the Arabia Mountain green space is the Arabia Mountain High School Academy of Engineering Medicine and Environmental Studies, scheduled to open August 2009 is a LEED-certified building and use the Environment as the "Integrating Context for Learning" (EIC) curriculum.
The high school is connected to the nature preserve via a spur bicycle path.