|Road trip gear: the library.|
I like destination-based books, especially the Geology Underfoot series. These are collections of “vignettes” about selected sites, with background and explanations, access info, tour routes, specific things to see, etc. The geology is pretty basic but always interesting. I sometimes choose destinations from these guides, and then search for more information before I go.
|Geology underfoot at Cathedral Gorge State Park in Nevada|
There are two books about the geology of the western US that I’ve read and referred to again and again: Frank DeCourten’s The Broken Land and Robert Fillmore’s Geological Evolution of the Colorado Plateau. Both treat their subjects in depth, and I’ve learned a lot about geology in general from them. DeCourten’s has a bonus -- intriguing essays introducing each chapter. What is it that is so exciting about geology? Why are we drawn to these stories? Try to imagine visiting these paleo-environments that we’ve managed to reconstruct from rocks!
|Looking east across the broken land.|
One of my most memorable geo-vacations was planned with online resources. I knew very little about northern New Mexico, but hit a gold mine on the web. The New Mexico Bureau Geology and Mineral Resources maintains a Virtual Geologic Tour of New Mexico with destinations scattered throughout the state. The virtual guides for the northern part of the state are now available as a book -- Geology of Northern New Mexico’s Parks, Monuments, and Public Lands.
The Utah Geological Survey maintains an equally useful website: Geosights.
|The Mt. Taylor volcano sits on the Jemez Lineament in northwest New Mexico; from NMBGMR.|
This Accretionary Wedge is timely as a geo-trip is imminent. A friend needs a ride to Seattle and it seems only logical to get there by way of Glacial Lake Missoula and the paths of its jökulhlaups. I’m excited to see destruction wrought by cataclysmic ice age floods -- scablands, coulees, giant gravel bars, fluvial dunes, scour holes and more. Maybe there will be a relevant guide or two among the AW submissions. Do you have recommendations?
|Boulder thought to have been transported ca 10 km by floodwater ... now that's cataclysmic!|