Tuesday, December 1, 2009

12-1-09 Resources on the Geology of New Hampshire

I had the good luck to find this out-of-print booklet (with this lovely cover) "on line" at a website I stumbled upon recently. This is Part I of a three-part series published by the New Hampshire State Planning and Development Office on the geology of the "Granite State.". Part II is Marland Billing's gem, "The Bedrock Geology of New Hampshire". Part I, written by two generations of Goldthwaits and published in 1951 is a great read. It's only 84 pages long, comprehensive, and well written. It's brilliant in it's clarity and practicality. It sorts out all kinds of questions I've been mulling over about the glacial and post-glacial period in the Whites that aren't explained as clearly in his other writings. It's written for the non-geologist, for one thing. I recommend reading both Part I and II. They're PDF files and you can read them right on line or download them. The web address is: http://des.nh.gov . On the right-hand side of the Home page under Quick Links click on Publications. In the middle of the Publications page look in the list of links for Geology of NH Series. Click on that and the three booklets are listed by titles and authors. Part III is on the "minerals and mines" of New Hampshire by T.R. Meyers and Glen Stewart.

I'm mentioning this as a way of saying I'm still working on the two unfinished entries in the blog: the felsenmeer piece from a few weeks ago, and the research piece(s) from the Gale River Slide on soil development and plant succession last added to in September. I plan on one more visit to the site when there is light snow on the ground to take more measurements. I'll put a little flag up when each is complete.

To a reader who signed her name "Kate" to some comments on the blog, and I'm not sure if that's Kate the AMC naturalist or not, I apologize for not responding sooner to your input regarding glacial erratics and, also, 'frost hardiness' as a defining factor in timberline placement. I plan on including your comments in the felsenmeer piece as I finish it and thanks, by the way.

Thom Davis sent me some papers dealing with the controversial question of whether, or not, local, alpine glaciers continued to exist on Mt. Washington and the northern Presidentials (and Mt. Katadin in Maine) after the down wasting of the Wisconsinan continental glacial 'sheet'. The papers have a lot of useful info on glaciers and other aspects of White Mountain geology so thanks Thom.

Lastly, I found another great resource for the geology of the White Mountains in the June 1934 Appalachia titled, "Geology in the Franconia Region" by Charles Williams, of Harvard University, who was working along side Marland Billings on a project to map the bedrock geology of all the unfinished quadrangles of New Hampshire which included several in the White Mountains. Williams mapped the Franconia quadrangle which included the area between Mt. Hale in the east west to the Kinsmans, and from Franconia village in the north to North Woodstock village in the south. His maps are, and the article in general is, excellent for understanding the relationship between all the various granites, the granodiorites, syenites, breccias, the Moat volcanics and the metamorphic bedrock of the Whites relative to the oft mentioned Littleton Schist bedrock of the Presidential Range. If anyone's interested I'll photocopy the article and hard mail it to you. Complete sets of Appalachia are available at the AMC library at 5 Joy Street in Boston, a (very) few libraries around New England, and at the AMC Highland Center at the top of Crawford Notch on NH Route 302 (near Twin Mountain, New Hampshire). The Highland Center has a large, comfortable, well-stocked library where you can sit for hours and hours uninterrupted (and another room with a large fireplace where you can sit and read as long as you want, and a place to buy comestibles like coffee, tea, and sandwiches).