Geology and Vegetation
Some of the remnants of these soils have accumulated on the lower slopes, producing a mosaic of vegetation that can survive in hot, dry conditions. Typically, red and white oak, white pine, aspen, white birch and red maple may grow as scattered individuals or in clumps. Where the soil has been stripped entirely, myriad lichen and moss species carpet the bedrock.
The geology of the landscape is characterized by low ridges of Precambrian Shield, which formed approximately 2.5 billion years ago. The most recent major event to visit these original ridges was the scouring and washing away of soils by the glaciation of the last ice age, 12,000 to 20,000 years ago.
The troughs between the rock ridges are filled with wetlands and small ponds and lakes. The wetlands are diverse, with dense open-water marshes, peatlands, grassy bog mats, floating shrub mats and swamps dominated by mature conifer trees or shrub thickets. Beavers are active in many wetlands. The rich variety of vegetation, the geology and the large size of the Barrens have resulted in a diversity of plants and animals.