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My Favorite Places – Lake Elkhorn Outcrop Offers a Journey to the Center of the Earth

Rock outcroppings offer us a peek at the normally hidden, inner world of our planet. In the Maryland Piedmont good outcrops are few and far between. In Howard County they occur along the major rivers that border the county. Good exposures to the inner workings of the earth can also be found in the quarries at Savage (gabbro), Marriottsville (marble), and Old Ellicott City (granite). Collectively these outcrops provide us with a record of a long history of plate tectonic movements driven by major thermal convection cells deep in the mantle of the earth.


The black gabbro outcrops along the eastern edge of our county are remnants of oceanic (more…)

Where I went this summer – A guest post by Tim Bechtel

In addition to the need for all of us to take an interest in restoring our favorite places, it will be increasingly important for good science to be done to understand these natural system so we know what to do. Here is a good example of scientists and students studying an area in order to recommend to citizens and governments alike on what we can do to help restore the area’s groundwater. 

The Gottesacker (God’s Acre) Plateau on the border of Austria and Germany

by Tim Bechtel, Prof. of Geoscience at Franklin & Marshall College

alps 2The Gottesacker (God’s Acre) Plateau on the border of Austria and Germany is a very high alpine karst (limestone) terrane. It receives abundant rainfall, but is a rocky desert because the water soaks right in and flows underground in a system of caves and conduits, to emerge in large springs in the Kleinwalsertal valley below. Because the water soaks in and flows to the springs very rapidly there is little opportunity for the (more…)

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