Little Mountain SC

Little Mountain

Little Mountain lies in the Carolina slate belt and is especially interesting geologically because it is highly mineralized.

(Newberry County: 2020 pop: 295). Little Mountain is a monadnock, an isolated, eroded ridge of bedrock that lies above the general level of the surrounding area. The rocks immediately surrounding Little Mountain eroded faster than the hard rock of which it is made, leaving Little Mountain as a prominent ridge on the landscape. Situated sixteen miles southeast of the town of Newberry, near the town of Little Mountain, it is 2.9 miles long and a half-mile wide, rising from between 630 to 825 feet above sea level. It is the highest point of land between Greenville and Charleston.

Little Mountain lies in the Carolina slate belt and is especially interesting geologically because it is highly mineralized. It is a complex erosional remnant made up largely of mica schists and kyanite quartzite. It is thought to have formed in the early Paleozoic era as part of an island arc offshore from North America. Its rocks formed from eroded material from volcanic flows, ash, and tuffs that later were deposited to form river and beach sands and muds. These were then heated and compressed over time to become the quartzites and other metamorphic rocks that developed about 450 million years ago.

The major metamorphic rock types found in Little Mountain are muscovite mica and chlorite schists, phyllites, muscovite quartzites, and quartzites containing the minerals kyanite and hematite. Among other unusual minerals found at Little Mountain are pyrophyllite, gold, silver, rutile, ilmenite, lazulite, and pseudomorphs of limonite after pyrite. The Little Mountain area also shows evidence of faulting that is thought to have helped to develop some of its interesting mineralization.

McKenzie, John C., and John F. McCauley. Geology and Kyanite Resources of Little Mountain, South Carolina. Columbia, S.C.: Division of Geology, State Development Board, 1968.

Murphy, Carolyn H. Carolina Rocks! The Geology of South Carolina. Orangeburg, S.C.: Sandlapper, 1995.

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Title Little Mountain
  • Author
  • Keywords monadnock, lies in the Carolina slate belt, interesting mineralization
  • Website Name South Carolina Encyclopedia
  • Publisher University of South Carolina, Institute for Southern Studies
  • URL
  • Access Date December 2, 2022
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update August 9, 2022
Go to Top