Arabia Mountain

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Arabia Mountain
Arabia Mountain.JPG
At the top of Arabia Mountain
Elevation 954 ft (291 m)
Location DeKalb County, Georgia
Coordinates 33°39′54″N 84°7′6″W / 33.66500°N 84.11833°W / 33.66500; -84.11833
Type Monadnock
First ascent unknown
Easiest route Hike
Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area
Map showing the location of Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area
Map showing the location of Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area
Location Southeast of Atlanta, Georgia
Nearest city Lithonia, Georgia
Coordinates 33°39′54″N 84°7′6″W / 33.66500°N 84.11833°W / 33.66500; -84.11833Coordinates: 33°39′54″N 84°7′6″W / 33.66500°N 84.11833°W / 33.66500; -84.11833
Established 2006
Governing body Arabia Mountain Heritage Area Alliance

Arabia Mountain is a monadnock in DeKalb County, Georgia. The peak is 954 feet (290m) above sea level, rising 170 feet (52m) above Arabia Lake reservoir. It is now part of the Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve, a DeKalb County park.

Geology and history[edit]

Arabia Mountain is one of Metro Atlanta's three monadnocks, which includes Stone Mountain, Panola Mountain, and Arabia Mountain. The unique topography and geology of this monadnock allows for unusual plant and animal species to thrive. Arabia Mountain has five species that are listed as both state and federally endangered, including the bright-red diamorpha plant that lives in small pools of water (known as vernal pools or solution pits) that form on the monadnock.[1]

Panola Mountain is 3.63 miles (5.84 km) to the southwest. While designated as one peak on USGS maps, most users familiar with the area consider the rock formation to be two peaks: Arabia Mountain to the northeast, and Bradley Mountain to the southeast, connected by a low saddle.

Arabia Mountain appears to be composed of granite, like other nearby peaks such as Stone Mountain and Panola Mountain. Although made of metamorphic rock, the mountain is actually composed of migmatite, metamorphosed at higher temperatures than gneiss but not sufficiently melted to become granite. The resulting swirl pattern made the rock a popular building stone and many buildings in the region were constructed with granite dimension stone quarried from the Lithonia district quarries.[2]The stone quarried from Arabia Mountain was prized for its high compressive strength as well as its "swirl" pattern, and was also referred to as "Tidal Grey". Arabia Mountain Stone can be seen in the construction of buildings for the U.S. Naval Academy,the Brooklyn Bridge, and street curbing in Atlanta as well as many other Georgia cities.[3]

Like Stone Mountain, Arabia Mountain was quarried for decades before the property was turned over to the DeKalb park system. Structures and excavations from the quarry operations can be seen throughout the park.

Botany and endangered plants[edit]

Arabia Mountain is one of five locations in the US where black-spored quillwort (Isoetes melanospora) are found. It is one of 44 locations in the US where little amphianthus (Amphianthus pusillus) is found. These are endangered species protected by Georgia and Federal law. The largest and most important population of black-spored quillwort and one of the largest Amphianthus populations occur here. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's five-year review of these species, completed in 2008, states that "enforcement to protect sensitive areas needs improvement" in the Arabia Mountain area.[4]

Arabia Mountain is one of a small number of locations in the southeastern United States where Small's stonecrop (Diamorpha smallii) thrives (this plant is not listed as an endangered species in Georgia[5] or the US, but is in Tennessee[6]). When granite and similar stone outcrops are exposed to erosion, over time, small depressions, called solution pools, form where weaker rock wears away faster than surrounding rock (often assisted by lichen). Over time, these depressions fill with sand washed down from higher locations, which accumulates a small amount of organic content from decaying dead leaves and other detritus, as well as rain water. Small's stonecrop then takes hold in these sandy hollows.


On October 12, 2006, the mountain and adjoining features were designated Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area[7] in recognition of its cultural, historical and natural significance.[8]

Bicycle trail[edit]

The PATH Foundation has completed more than 30 miles of a 12-foot-wide (3.7 m) concrete road for pedestrian and bicycle use running from downtown Lithonia to Stonecrest Mall and thence through the Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve to Panola Mountain State Park, ending at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers. This includes a spur to a parking area on Klondike Road and a spur to the DeKalb County School System's Murphey Candler Elementary School and Arabia Mountain High School.[9]

Arabia Mountain High School[edit]

On the edge of the Arabia Mountain green space is the Arabia Mountain High School Academy of Engineering Medicine and Environmental Studies, opened August 2009. The Academy is a LEED-certified building and uses the "Environment as an Integrating Context for learning" (EIC) curriculum.[10] The high school is connected to the nature preserve via a spur bicycle path.



  1. ^
  2. ^ Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area, Granite & Technology
  3. ^
  4. ^ US Fish and Wildlife Service. "Three Granite Outcrop Plants – 5-year Review". Retrieved May 11, 2009. 
  5. ^ US Fish and Wildlife Service. "Federally Threatened and Endangered Plants found in Georgia". Archived from the original on June 5, 2009. Retrieved May 11, 2009. 
  6. ^ Division of Natural Areas, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. "Tennessee Natural Heritage Program Rare Planet List". Archived from the original on April 23, 2009. Retrieved May 11, 2009. 
  7. ^ Government Printing Office. "Public Law 109-338". Retrieved May 23, 2007. 
  8. ^ "What is a National Heritage Area?". Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area. Arabia Mountain Alliance. Retrieved March 10, 2012. 
  9. ^ PATH Foundation. "The Arabia Mountain Trail". Retrieved July 15, 2010. 
  10. ^ SEER. "The EIC Model—Environment as an Integrating Context for learning". Archived from the original on April 30, 2011. Retrieved April 20, 2011. 

External links[edit]