4.1.05

Book Review: Rising from the Plains

Yes, tis' the season for book reviews. In this book, John McPhee takes on the subject of Wyoming geology from an interesting perspective.
typically, one would expect a dry tome told along a geologic time line, not so with this work. McPhee tells the story through one of the pioneering families of central Wyoming whose son later becomes the USGS Geologist responsible for the Wyoming area. I found his blend of history and geology to be rather interesting, it brought the subject matter to life in a very complete way.
This book certainly isn't for everyone, if you haven't been to the areas that he is describing, you may have a difficult time visualizing what he is talking about. I've spent a fair bit of time in Wyoming and I found his descriptions of the terrain and how it came into being to be enlightening. In one of the more interesting passages, he discusses the creation of Jackson Hole. Apparently, Jackson lake (or at least a form of it) has existed there for millions of years. How, you may ask, could a lake exist that long and not silt up completely? Well it seems that the magma pluton that fuels Yellowstone exists under the Jackson hole area. As the magma exits through dikes in Yellowstone, the floor of Jackson hole drops. This has been going on long enough for the floor of the hole to drop 13,000 feet and be replaced by 13,000 feet of limestone from the lake sediment.
If you found this last description interesting, you'll like this book.

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