Friday, April 13, 2012

Ceremonies for release of Vermont geologic map

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin [top, at podium. State Geologist Larry Becker at left] brought the presentation of the New State Bedrock Geologic Map into his Executive Office in the State House on April 11, 2012. Approximately 45 people from the geologic and interested community trooped and squeezed in to hear the presentation with the State House press corps in attendance. He noted that “Every 50 years or so something big happens, this is one of them”.

This is a cooperative map between the Vermont Geological Survey (VGS), USGS and our primary academic partner the University of Vermont. Attached are pictures of the Governor, the lead VGS author, Marjorie Gale [third photo], the State Geologist [second photo] with more of the Governors ornate office, map contributors surrounding the Governor, and audience looking on.

Peter Lyttle in his role as National Geologic Mapping Program Coordinator was there so was Randy Orndorff and the lead USGS author, Nick Ratcliffe. State Geologists Steve Mabee (Mass) and Rick Chormann (NH) were in attendance. [bottom photo, map authors Ratcliffe, Gale, Thompson, and Walsh]

Rep. David Deen a member of the Vermont Statemap Advisory Committee introduced a resolution and brought Survey members to the floor of the House to stand and be recognized.

Resolved: That the Secretary of State be directed to send a copy of this resolution to Secretary of Natural Resources Deborah Markowitz.

VGS link to the Map:

Link to Press Release – Quote from Governor Shumlin, Marcia McNutt Director of the USGS, Laurence Becker Vermont State Geologist and Charlotte Mehrtens, UVM Geology Department

Secretary Markowitz’s remarks in the Governor’s Office

Vermont's New Geologic Bedrock Map

Yesterday ANR presented the governor with a new Geologic Bedrock Map of Vermont. The last bedrock map was created over 60 years ago, before our modern understanding of plate tectonics. The current map took 30 years to complete. Geologists and students walked the state and, using pace and compass, mapped the visible bedrock, took core samples and using this data created a detailed map of Vermont's bedrock. In a statement yesterday at the Statehouse Secretary Markowitz thanked and congratulated the geologists from ANR, the US Geological Survey and the University of Vermont who worked collaboratively to create this new map. She went on to say that

"Our new Geologic illustrates, not just the layers of rocks below our feet, but it tells the story of the history of Vermont, from its earliest contours to the present. The geologic forces that have shaped this landscape have also shaped the lives of the people who have lived here, from the Abenaki through each successive wave of immigrants.

It also guides the contours of our modern economy which is tied to the working forests and farms, mines, ski industry and tourism -- all of which are in turn intimately connected to our state's geology.

It is the foundation of the natural beauty of our state. The varied palette of colors shows how complex our bedrock is and in turn symbolizes the sublime and mysterious world that lives below our feet and in the surrounding hillsides.

It underlies the ecology of our landscape, our forests, streams, farms and meadows, all of which vary according to the underlying geologic formations.

This map also illustrates the state's commitment to the use of science to inform our collective decisions about environmental stewardship with the latest and best information available, and to present that information in a manner that is easily accessible and useful to the broader public

Finally this map is a tribute to the art and poetry inside the souls of our state's dedicated geologists who are closely attuned to the rhythms and vibrations of our landscape as well as to the deep history embedded in the rocks below our feet."

To see this map visit:

To learn about how it was created visit:

About the Map: The Bedrock Geologic Map of Vermont incorporates 30 years of new approaches to geologic mapping and the technologies that support it. As a fundamental data layer, it is a show piece of the present understanding of Vermont geology. The map will be the geoscience base for years to come, helping us to address Vermont's environmental issues and informing our interaction with and protection of our natural resources.

A map is the medium by which geologists communicate data and its interpretation. Mapping at the surface allows geologists to predict what is in the subsurface. Predictive capabilities are important for understanding issues such water supply, contaminant remediation, natural geochemical hazards, and rockfalls.

Map-making process: The new map incorporates field mapping studies at various scales by more than 60 geologists. Mapping was done by pace and compass on a variety of base maps and there was no use of GPS or digital GIS mapping in 1984. Geologists observe the exposed rock types and structures (folds, faults, fractures) in the field, sample the rock for microscopic, chemical, and geochronological studies, then use this information to develop a three dimensional model of the underlying bedrock and to understand the depositional and deformational history of Vermont. Maps were hand drafted in ink on mylar, reproduced on paper, then hand colored. The entire process from field work to map publication is labor intensive. Mapping is still done through walking the land, but now (2011) incorporates the use of Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and Geographic Information Systems

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