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October 2009 cover image lesser prairie-chicken

Texas Reader: Blushing Behemoth

Enchanted Rock — A Natural and Human History.

By E. Dan Klepper

Writer and photographer Lance Allred has succeeded in producing both a guidebook and important reference with his new Enchanted Rock: A Natural and Human History. With more than 300 pages and including 1,000 photographs, Allred has provided enlightenment and thorough documentation where there were once but a few pamphlets and dissertations on one of Texas’ unique wonders.

Enchanted Rock is among the most sizable exposed rock formations in the country. Called a batholith (Greek for “deep rock”), Enchanted Rock is the result of the accumulation and slow cooling of underground magma that has since been exposed. Potassium feldspar gives the rock its pinkish hue. Allred covers the rock’s geology in-depth, along with its history, weather, flora and fauna (including an entire section on insects), as well as the surrounding Llano region.

Why do a giant rock, roughly the height of a 40-story building and covering one square mile, and the area around it, deserve so much attention?

“The Llano region supplies critical clues in the story not only of the geological history of Texas but also for the development of the earth as a whole,” explains Allred in his book. “Some rock exposures in the Llano Region are considered ‘classic,’ attracting study and interpretation by geologists from around the world.”

Allred describes the region’s plants and animals as “an interesting juxtaposition of desert, subtropical, plains and eastern forest species, including many plants that have been separated from their ranges through long-term climatic change.”

Loaded with full-color charts and graphs to help readers digest the details, Enchanted Rock covers pretty much everything you might ever want to know about Texas’ blushing behemoth. Often accompanied by his delightfully named family — wife Windflower Waters and daughters Willow and Sierra — Allred spent several years visiting the rock and taking its picture before putting all the pieces together.

“It is more than a field guide,” Allred writes. “Maybe it could be called a destination guide. It touches on all the elements that make Enchanted Rock such an intriguing and endlessly interesting place to visit.”

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