Aerial Geology: A High-Altitude Tour of North America's Spectacular Volcanoes, Canyons, Glaciers, Lakes, Craters, and Peaks

Aerial Geology: A High-Altitude Tour of North America's Spectacular Volcanoes, Canyons, Glaciers, Lakes, Craters, and Peaks

by Mary Caperton Morton


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A window seat to the greatest show on Earth!

Earth’s surface is a dramatic story of explosions, collisions, upheaval, and erosion. To comprehend such massive events and how they’ve altered the landscape, we need to see the big picture— from above. Aerial Geology provides a continent-wide perspective of North America’s 100 most remarkable landforms, from the ever-erupting Aleutian Islands of Alaska, to the migrating Baja California Peninsula, to the perfectly round crater blasted by a meteorite in eastern Canada. Mary Caperton Morton—with help from eye-popping images and descriptive illustrations—explains the powerful forces that are constantly reshaping our planet, bringing geology to magnificent life.

You’ll never see the ground beneath you the same way again.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781604697629
Publisher: Timber Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 10/04/2017
Pages: 308
Sales rank: 271,052
Product dimensions: 9.70(w) x 10.80(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Mary Caperton Morton is a freelance science and travel writer and a regular contributor to EARTH magazine. Mary also inspires people to see more of the world with her blog Travels with the Blonde Coyote. In her 10 years as a road warrior nomad, Mary hiked in all 50 states and evolved from a girl who looks up at the mountains to a woman who climbs to the summits. She now lives at 8,000 feet in Big Sky, Montana. When she’s not at the keyboard, you can find her outside, hiking, skiing, and mountaineering. 

Read an Excerpt

As a young girl, I overturned a rock in a stream high in the mountains of West Virginia and found it covered with seashells. I knew something about fossils then and had a vague understanding about Earth’s age, but finding a slice of an ancient ocean floor on a mountaintop forever changed the way I saw the world. My fascination was not fleeting and I am now a geology writer, an avid traveler, and a mountaineer.

In many ways, geology is best understood from the air. Altitude grants a greater perspective of the land and helps us begin to visualize the extraordinary forces that have shaped our planet over the last 4.5 billion years. Mountaineering is one way to gain that perspective—the higher you go, the more you see and the more you see, the more you learn. If mountaintops are fantastic classrooms, airplane window seats are even better.

This book highlights one hundred of North America’s most distinctive geologic features and describes how they came to look the way they do from a bird’s-eye view—or an astronaut’s, or a satellite’s. On the ground, deserts appear devoid of moisture but from the air, large-scale features of the landscape reveal that even the most arid places are often shaped by water. Southwest expanses of sandstone—often relics of ancient inland seas—have been sculpted into magnificent canyons by rare rainwater over many millennia.

Follow me from the shores of Alaska, down the West Coast, through the desert Southwest, over the high Rockies, across the patchwork Great Plains, and up the ancient, fossil-rich mountains of my childhood, to the edge of the East. This book is for everyone who ever wondered how seashells end up on mountaintops, and for the high flyers who are transfixed by the view 30,000 feet above the planet. I hope this book changes the way you see the world and inspires you to get out and explore more of it.

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