Those Smoky Mountains — What Makes the Blue Ridge Blue?
Ever wonder why the Smoky Mountains and Blue Ridge Mountains have those names? The Cherokee referred to their mountain homeland as Shaconage (shah-CON-uh-gee), or land of the blue smoke. European settlers borrowed the concept and came up with the Great Smoky Mountains and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Today, you’ll find several national park units here, including Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Shenandoah National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.
So, what is it about these places that conjure up these smoky blue images? Is it:
A. Blue flowers famous from the area during spring and summer,
B. Kentucky bluegrass in the meadows,
C. Recurring forest fires with bluish-gray smoke, or
D. East coast smog and pollution?
Actually, it’s none of the above. All those trees, bushes, flowers, ferns, and other plants have to breathe, just like us. But unlike us, where we exhale carbon dioxide laden air, the vegetation exhales something called volatile organic compounds. Yikes! That sounds like pretty nasty stuff, and some VOCs like paint fumes and petroleum distillates really are bad for us and can often be flammable as well. But plants can also give off natural VOCs — not nearly as bad for us as dry cleaning products or aerosol fumes.
To get technical on you, Volatile Organic Compounds are defined as organic chemicals that have a high vapor pressure and easily form vapors at normal temperature and pressure. You know that great pine smell that permeated your living room when you hauled in the freshly cut Christmas tree last month? Those are VOCs you’re smelling. Rub those pine needles in your hand or just bring the tree into a warmer house and the smell gets even stronger because by doing so, you’ve helped release them into the air.
The class of VOCs called terpenes (as in turpentine) are naturally occurring hydrocarbons emitted by conifers. Two types of terpenes known as α-pinene and β-pinene are even used in the chemical communication system of insects! Who knew? In the wild and in much larger numbers, all these tiny molecules join forces to form new particles that scatter blue light from the sky. So when you look at the mountainscape, it’s like wearing Carolina blue-tinted sunglasses.
So, do you think maybe Elvis Presley’s song Blue Christmas was talking about Volatile Organic Compounds invading Graceland every December? Well, probably not. For just that one tree to make a blue tinted living room, there’d have to be a whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on!
Come to the solitude of the scenic beauty of The
COMMUNITY which is nestled in the
foothills of the
Mountains of North Georgia.
We are conveniently
30 minutes northeast of Atlanta, Georgia and only
south of Chattanooga, Tennessee.
We are away from the hustle
of the City of Atlanta but close enough to enjoy
all the big city
amenities. The Great Sky Community
is a Deed Restricted Community.
Welcome to the GREAT SKY COMMUNITY WEBSITE.
YOUR neighborhood resource - designed
with you, the
homeowners in mind! Please take
advantage of the many resources
available here. You have access to everything the
community has to offer at the click of
The Hickory Log Creek Reservoir
is now open to the public See announcement & restrictions HERE
You might have notice new LAKE BUOYS that
the HLC Reservoir.
To help understand
these buoys CLICK HERE
See how The Hickory Log Creek Reservoir will
the Great Sky
community once it is full.
This reservoir is
enthusiasts as well as for
those who like to fish. See the Great
Sky Master Plan by clicking here.
Spring is here!!!!!
--------------------------------------- This Month's Famous Quote: “Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.” Mark Twain
The following articles are written by
Ruthmarie Hackney who I met several
years ago while we lived in Florida.
Ruthmarie wrote bird articles for me
for another web site that I owned, and
now she has consented to do it for the
Great Sky HOA web site, which I
appreciate. Listed below are the last
twelve of her articles.