Cook Mountain

Cook Mountain also contains varied ecosystems within close proximity to each other within a small area. It is home to many animal species and plants, including longleaf pine, mixed hardwood forest, and river-bottom hardwoods.

(Richland County). Cook Mountain is a twelve-hundred-acre hill located in eastern Richland County near Eastover. It stands four hundred feet above sea level and has both geological and ecological significance. The mountain is composed of sediments that form the eroded remnants of the Aiken Plateau, which runs from Aiken County through parts of Lexington, Richland, Lee, and Sumter Counties. Remnants of the plateau also include the Richland Red Hills and the High Hills of Santee. Over millions of years the Aiken Plateau was cut and eroded by both the Congaree and Wateree Rivers, leaving Cook Mountain isolated between them as a small monadnock, an isolated hill or mountain exposed by erosion.

The sediments that form Cook Mountain are largely composed of clays, clayey sands, marls, and sands capped by ironstone. Silicified shells are found within the sediments on the mountain, as are “paint pots,” pockets of colorful minerals encased in sediment shells. The sediments of the McBean Formation found on Cook Mountain are largely from the Eocene epoch. These sediments and rocks formed as the ocean levels in South Carolina rose and fell, and they are exposed at the surface today because of erosional processes and uplift. Globally, sea levels fell, and locally, the Aiken Plateau rose due to rebound, partially as a result of but long after separation of the North American plate from the African plate early in the Mesozoic era.

Cook Mountain also contains varied ecosystems within close proximity to each other within a small area. It is home to many animal species and plants, including longleaf pine, mixed hardwood forest, and river-bottom hardwoods.

Gordon, Kay. “Discovering the Connections.” Sandlapper 12 (spring 2001): 56–57.

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Title Cook Mountain
  • Author
  • Keywords geological and ecological significance, sediments, Aiken Plateau, Eocene epoch, varied ecosystems
  • Website Name South Carolina Encyclopedia
  • Publisher University of South Carolina, Institute for Southern Studies
  • URL
  • Access Date August 19, 2022
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update July 21, 2022
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