Friday, May 20, 2011

Maryland's Geology: The Book

Martin F. Schmidt, Jr., the author of Maryland's Geology, (Shiffler Publishing, 2010) recently addressed our Baltimore Mineral Society with a particularly interesting program relating to his book. The clear and well illustrated presentation introduced his work to some of us and provided enlightenment to all of us regarding the geology of our state.

Eager to learn more, I ordered Maryland's Geology from the next day. At 164 pages, with numerous illustrations, including various maps, and 26 pages of appendix, it's a short read, but not necessarily a quick one until or unless the reader has become familiar with various geological words and terms, all of which Maryland's Geology clearly describes when they first appear. Ultimately, any serious reader will soon be comfortable with discussion of faults, folds, intrusions, dikes, orogeny, and a lot more. The appearance of such items in the index showing the page number where first defined eases the process of retention.

A table of contents specifically outlines the main points to be covered. Thereafter, 131 pages of text and drawings not only explain the unique and complex geology of Maryland, but serve as a basic primer on the subject of geology. Twenty two additional pages of appendix (not including the aforementioned index) add clarity and help to keep the reader focused.

Maryland's Geology defines Maryland in terms of five landform areas, referred to as provinces. Moving east to west across the state, the provinces are the Coastal Plain, the Piedmont, the Blue Ridge, the Valley and Ridge, the Appalachian Plateaus. The boundaries of all the provinces generally run northeast to southwest across the state, following the trends of the Appalachians across the eastern U.S. The first chapter describes these landform areas. Subsequent chapters explain how the landforms of each province came to be, the processes that caused them, and historical perspective. A final chapter discusses Maryland's geological resources as well as hazards of which to be wary.

Maryland's Geology is a must read for anyone interested in Maryland's mineralogy. Readers with a bit of training, are certain to gain specific regional perspective. For those without it, the book should prove to be an awakening.

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