"Unfold a map of North America," Keith Heyer Meldahl writes, "and the first thing to grab your eye is the bold shift between the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains." In this absorbing book, Meldahl takes readers on a 1000-mile-long field trip back through more than 100 million years of deep time to explore America's most spectacular and scientifically intriguing landscapes. He places us on the outcrops, rock hammer in hand, to examine the evidence for how these rough-hewn lands came to be. We see California and its gold assembled from pieces of old ocean floor and the relentless movements of the Earth's tectonic plates. We witness the birth of the Rockies. And we investigate the violent earthquakes that continue to shape the region today. Into the West's geologic story, Meldahl also weaves its human history. As we follow the adventures of John C. Fr�mont, Mark Twain, the Donner party, and other historic characters, we learn how geologic forces have shaped human experience in the past and how they direct the fate of the West today.
"In this absorbing book, Meldahl takes readers on a 1000-mile-long field trip back through more than 100 million years of deep time to explore America's most spectacular and scientifically intriguing landscapes. . . . A good introduction to the geology of the region."--The Guardian
"A virtual road trip through geologic time that opens ancient windows on how the West was made. Meldahl is the ideal tour guide, blending history and geology to explain the rocks and topography of the American West and how geology shaped its settlement"--David Montgomery, author of Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations
"The geology of the western United States is as fascinating, yet as enigmatic, as that of any region in the world. Keith Meldahl not only makes it comprehensible, he makes us want to hit the road to see it for ourselves. If you are curious about how our unique American West got to be the way it is, read this engaging book."--James Lawrence Powell, author of Dead Pool and Grand Canyon
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Regents of the University of California
October 15, 2011
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