Iowa's Geological Past: Three Billion Years of Change

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Iowa's rock record is the product of more than three billion years of geological processes. The state endured multiple episodes of continental glaciation during the Pleistocene Ice Age, and the last glacier retreated from Iowa a mere (geologically speaking) twelve thousand years ago. Prior to that dozens of seas came and went, leaving behind limestone beds with rich fossil records. Lush coal swamps, salty lagoons, briny basins, enormous alluvial plains, ancient rifts, and rugged Precambrian mountain belts all left their mark. In Iowa's Geological Past, Wayne Anderson gives us an up-to-date and well-informed account of the state's vast geological history from the Precambrian through the end of the Great Ice Age.

Anderson takes us on a journey backward into time to explore Iowa's rock-and-sediment record. In the distant past, prehistoric Iowa was covered with shallow seas; coniferous forests flourished in areas beyond the continental glaciers; and a wide variety of animals existed, including mastodon, mammoth, musk ox, giant beaver, camel, and giant sloth.

The presence of humans can be traced back to the Paleo-Indian interval, 9,500 to 7,500 years ago. Iowa in Paleozoic time experienced numerous coastal plain and shallow marine environments. Early in the Precambrian, Iowa was part of ancient mountain belts in which granite and other rocks were formed well below the earth's surface.

The hills and valleys of the Hawkeye State are not everlasting when viewed from the perspective of geologic time. Overall, Iowa's geologic column records an extraordinary transformation over more than three billion years. Wayne Anderson's profusely illustrated volume provides a comprehensive andaccessible survey of the state's remarkable geological past.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Anderson has prepared a well-written, balanced, nicely illustrated, and up-to-date book on Iowa geology. Organization is chronological through about three billion years of geologic time, starting in the Precambrian when the area was vastly different from today, continuing into the Paleozoic and Mesozoic when shallow seas were dominant leaving a rich fossil record, and finally into the Cenozoic climaxed by the great glacial advances. Numerous clear and simple photographs, maps, cross sections, stratigraphic sections, landscape sketches, and especially skillful drawings of fossils in their ancient environments enrich the book. Coal, limestone, gypsum, sand and gravel, clay, and ground water resources are described in summary, but substantially. An excellent bibliography of more than 500 references is included. This incomparable book is a masterful synthesis of geological knowledge scattered through numerous publications that begin in the early days of exploration in the central and western US. It will have wide appeal not only to professional geologists but to the interested public, engineers, and developers. and high school and college teachers.”—Choice

“The only authoritative overview of Iowa's geologic record. Anderson is to be commended for integrating the latest geological literature into his text. His coverage is so current, comprehensive, and authoritative that professionals as well as rock and fossil enthusiasts will each need a copy.”—Brian F. Glenister, A. K. Miller Professor of Geology Emeritus, University of Iowa

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780877456407
  • Publisher: University of Iowa Press
  • Publication date: 12/1/1998
  • Series: Bur Oak Book Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 440
  • Sales rank: 965,346
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

1 The Geologic Setting of Iowa 1
2 Precambrian: The Oldest Rocks 16
3 Cambrian: Sandy Marine Shelves and Shorelines 48
4 Ordovician: Warm, Shallow Seas 65
5 Silurian: Dolomite and Carbonate Mounds 106
6 Devonian: A Variety of Marine Deposits 136
7 Mississippian: Last of the Widespread Carbonate Seas 180
8 Pennsylvanian: Coastal Swamps and Shallow Seas 227
9 Mesozoic: Evaporite Deposits and the Last of the Inland Seas 270
10 Cenozoic: Erosion Climaxed by the Great Ice Age 303
11 Geology and Humankind 353
References 385
Index 415
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