|Publisher:||Timber Press, Incorporated|
|Product dimensions:||9.70(w) x 10.80(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Preface 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.