People have heard the legends that Pilot Mountain has the footprints of Noah somewhere on its peak, and that Daniel Boone used the mountain's distinctive knob as a landmark. But most people don't know how the mountain's "Big Pinnacle" was formed, or why it was never a volcano. Exploring the Geology of the Carolinas: A Field Guide to Favorite Places from Chimney Rock to Charleston answers these and other questions, such as: What kind of dinosaur fossils have been found in North Carolina? Why are N.C. mountains good places to find gems? And why was the largest earthquake ever to hit the East Coast centered in the Carolinas?
Combining geological history of the Carolinas with more than 30 field trips to both popular and lesser-known outdoor sites in the region, the guide is the first of its kind. Authors Kevin G. Stewart and Mary-Russell Roberson included up-to-date research that makes it valuable to professional scientists. But the book also offers simple language and explanations, allowing the general public to read and enjoy it. "We thought of our primary audience as curious people who like to spend time outdoors and would be interested in learning about a new way of understanding what they see," says Roberson.
The book includes fascinating history of the region's landmarks, such as Reed Gold Mine in Cabarrus County, where the first gold nugget found in the United States was used as a doorstop for three years before being sold, thus catalyzing the country's first gold rush.
"There aren't many places on Earth where you can see such geologic variety all within a day's drive," says Stewart. "We want to help people see the Carolinas in a new way."
Authors Kevin G. Stewart and Mary-Russell Roberson will be at the Regulator Bookshop in Durham on Thursday, April 5, at 7 p.m. to discuss their book. For more info, visit www.regbook.com or call 286-2700.