Roadside Geology of Massachusetts (Roadside Geology Series)

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9780878424290: Roadside Geology of Massachusetts (Roadside Geology Series)

Sparkling beaches, tidal estuaries, and granite headlands ornament the Massachusetts coast, while giant folds of gneiss and schist crisscross the interior, squeezed up between colliding continents like toothpaste from a tube. James Skehan explains the geologic history behind the rocks and landforms visible from the state's highways, including such well-known historic features as Bloody Bluff, Beacon Hill, Plymouth Rock, and Walden Pond. Interspersed through the guidebook are tales of pioneering geologists such as Harvard's Louis Agassiz, the first to propose that continental glaciers--not the remnants of Noah's Flood as early settlers had imagined--polished the state's bedrock and deposited its enormous boulders and sand plains. Numerous maps and photographs reveal ancient volcanoes, marble potholes, colorful minerals, dinosaur footprints, and America's first commercial railroad--built with blocks of Quincy granite. Geologic roadguides include tours of Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area, Cape Cod National Seashore, Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard, and Mount Greylock State Reservation.

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About the Author:

Longtime teacher and researcher James W. Skehan is professor emeritus in the Department of Geology and Geophysics at Boston College and director emeritus of Weston Observatory. The National Association of Geology Teachers named him Teacher of the Year in 1976. Skehan holds a doctorate in geology from Harvard University as well as a master's in theology from Weston College. As a Jesuit priest and geologist, he actively promotes dialogue between scientists and theologians. While studying Iceland's active geology in 1970, he officiated the first mass ever celebrated on Surtsey Volcano, a newly formed island in the North Atlantic. Skehan fell irrevocably in love with field geology in 1946 on a trip through the red rocks, lavas, and glacial lake clays of the Connecticut Valley. Since then he has searched on several continents for clues as to how and when the mountains and ocean basins around the Atlantic evolved. When tectonic plates were identified in the 1960s, he came to understand that present-day continents were pieced together by the assembly and breakup successively of three supercontinents. Skehan leads excursions to fascinating localities where group members can visualize the formation, movement, and melting of the Concord Glacier 14,000 years ago.

Review:

"Skehan's language is down to earth . . . making the intricacies of earth science accessible to all readers. Roadside Geology of Massachusetts makes a great companion for outdoor exploration, and seeing ordinary landscape in a new way." --Margaret Smith, Sentinel Enterprise, Fitchburg, Mass

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